Summer Internship at Free State of Saxony in Dresden, Germany
My name is Malcolm Jackson and I am an MSI student specializing in Information Policy and Information Economics for Management. This summer, I was able to travel to Dresden, Germany and perform and internship with the government of Saxony, one of Germany’s federal states. Specifically, I was asked to support the Office of the Saxon Commissioner for Foreigners and Migrants. The commissioner is a member of the state parliament assigned the special task of working for and with immigrants, visitors, refugees, and other foreigners visiting the region for various reasons.
I was asked to design and carry out an interview study investigating what the immigration, visa, or naturalization process was like for PhD and post-doc researchers and technicians coming to Germany for work. My organization helped locate volunteers, and then I designed an interview questionnaire, conducted sixteen interviews with the volunteers and analyzed the results. Following my analysis, I drafted a report providing a quantitative categorization of responses, as well as an extended qualitative assessment of the results and recommendations for improving the situation. My report has since been released as a publication by the commissioner’s office, for distribution to all their partners and the media.
This was a great opportunity for practical experience, and also for having a good time learning about other cultures and working in a challenging and novel environment. The results turned out really
well, my organization was pleased, and I enjoyed it, so one couldn’t ask for anything better. This internship opportunity came as part of the EMGIP fellowship with Cultural Vistas Inc., a non-profit
organization that promotes intercultural exchange and professional development around the world. After reading about this fellowship in a CDO email, I decided to apply. After I was accepted, they helped match my skills with a German state parliament that might need me.
Although Cultural Vistas has professional programs that do not require German language competence, this particular program does and my background of studying German was a key factor in getting these opportunities.
Traveling and living overseas can be expensive and I was lucky enough to obtain sufficient funding that the overall cost out of pocket was very small for me. The internship itself was paid, and I
received money from the parliament itself. Let’s say that was enough overall to cover my airfare. I also received a stipend from Cultural Vistas as part of the professional fellowship, and that covered most
living expenses. I also applied for and received funding from SI, which paid for my rent. These funding sources were an important part of my summer.
Overall this was a great experience, and I certainly got a lot of practice that will help my career. Sometimes I’m tired of getting a dozen emails a day from the Career Development Office, but then I
think one of these emails might have the perfect opportunity for another student, like one of them last year did for me.
Some Job Search Inspiration- When Youth is a Job Qualification
N.Y. / REGION | September 09, 2010
Entry Level: When Youth Is a Job Qualification
By ROBIN FINN
Steven M. Volpe, a recent college graduate and an avid computer user, turned his interest in social media into a job for the Alzheimer's Association.
Intenship Success Story - What I Learned
This past summer, I did an internship with Pure Visibility, an internet marketing company here in Ann Arbor. The work was exciting, challenging, and fulfilling. In a few short months, I gained new skills, and improved existing abilities in valuable areas. But equally important as the skill-benefits to me was the overall opportunity the experience provided for me to learn what my ideal work situation looks like.
When I started at Pure Visibility, they were in the middle of a busy season. I was literally thrown in to help where I could, and in the next couple months I completed numerous reports: some were SEO Recommendations, some case studies for large clients, some included Visitor Behavior Analysis. I gained experience in HTML development and took part in some client meetings. The experience itself was great for picking up new technical skills & know-how, but when it comes to the less tangible skills like writing, this was where the experience was invaluable. My mentor gave me detailed feedback, and took the time to talk over with me all the projects I worked on. My business writing improved with leaps and bounds as a result. In addition, because the company is so small (~10), I really got to see how projects evolved, often with multiple individuals working on separate components, to bring them together in the end. The work was never cut-and-dried; there were always diverse factors each with their own effect. By watching my mentor assess such situations, over time my own ability to analyze complex technical and qualitative situations improved dramatically. Now that's a skill I can bring to any employer!
As I mentioned, Pure Visibility is a fast-paced environment where time is never wasted. Neither is quality sacrificed, however. As a result, my time-budgeting skills got much sharper. The atmosphere is completely collaborative: it has to be to get the work done by deadlines. Despite being inclined to work alone, I began to see for the first time how in the right environment (one where innovation is welcomed, and everyone's standards high), even I could come to prefer collaboration. And then there were the little perks: the company moved during my time with them to a floor of an old bank on Main Street. The building is beautiful, and PV made it even more welcoming, painting bright colors, bringing in inviting furniture, and all-around creating an innovating, casual atmosphere.
I continue to work part time with Pure Visibility. Thanks to the summer internship, I will go in to my job search after graduating this year with firm knowledge of what I want in a job, including variety, innovation, a small company, and fulfilling work.
Google: David Choi
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. When I wrote about my internship search earlier, I said I would talk about my full-time job search also. So here it is, a bit belated though.
I started my full-time job search in the fall after I decided not to take the offer from where I did my internship, KPMG. As with my internship search, I made a list of companies I was interested in that I would add to if I found additional companies during the process. As Maurice mentioned in his post, the fall is when the big consulting companies come to campus to recruit for MBAs. In addition, some big technology companies also come to campus, like Microsoft and Amazon. Since they don't recruit specifically at SI, I would get a copy of the Monroe Street Journal, the business school newsletter, that lists when the companies are going to give their presentations. I also went in with a few other people and purchased an iMpact account over at the business school that gave me access to the recruiters' contact information and presentation schedule. Although many of the companies were not hiring specifically for SI students, the recruiters often will still take your resume or refer you to a person in the field you are looking for. For example, Amazon was not recruiting for UI positions at their presentation but I talked to one of the presenters and he forwaded my resume to someone he knew at Amazon who were looking for UI people. I was able to get interview that way.
Another way I used were the fall career center and engineering job fairs. I would check out the companies that were attending and then identify the ones I was interested in. I would look at their websites to get more information. I would also tailor my resumes to try to match what they were looking for. I would then go to their booths at the fairs and talk with them. I got interviews with three companies using this method. I also subscribed to the CHI-JOBs email list. These list-serves are great resources because they often have emails and contact information for the recruiters. Sending my resume directly to them was much more effective than trying to submit my resume through their websites. I also checked the jobs that were being forwarded to the SI and SOCHI lists. I got interviews with two companies replying to positions posted on these lists.
During my search for HCI positions, having an online portfolio was very important. The portfolio helped the most during my interviews. The interviewers would often ask about projects I worked on. Of course, I would describe and explain them but then I would mention they could actually see my different projects on my portfolio. During many phone interviews, the person would be looking at and referring to my portfolio while I was talking to them. They could actually see the screenshots and samples, which generated many more questions. For in person interiews, I brought a small binder of screenshots from the projects on my portfolio. In one of my interviews, we spent over 20 minutes going through just one of my projects.
I suppose I should finally get to how I got in contact with Google. I would regularly check the Google jobs website for jobs I might be good for. When I found one I liked, I got the contact information for Google from the SI iTrack database. You can get recuriter and company contact information by just talking to Joanna or Tonya. I sent him my resume for the position I was interested in. It turns out he was recruiting for a different position but forwarded my resume to the appropriate recruiter. I got contacted for an interview after that. To make a long story short, the interviews were definitely some of the toughest I ever had. You definitely need to do your homework about the company and its products. Also be prepared to think quickly and come up with ideas on the fly.
I hope this information was helpful. I had a blast being one of your SI Career Services Assistants. Have a great summer and good luck on your current or future job and internship searches!
Microsoft: Anna Falkowska
Here is what Anna did to land her internship at Microsoft
I started preparing for my internship search at the beginning of the school year. I went to all the workshops I could (the ones on resume building and networking were especially useful). I practiced my networking skills by identifying alumni who work for companies I was interested in and sending them e-mails asking for information interviews. Most of them responded and were happy to talk to me about their jobs and companies. One person even checked with his boss if they had any internship opportunities for the summer.
I started actively looking for internships during spring break. I first dropped my resume into various resume books on iTrack. This led to interviews with HP, IBM and Pfizer. I then went through the many e-mails Joanna sent out regarding internship positions and identified the ones I wanted to pursue. I also searched iTrack’s internship listings, looking for something promising. I sent out some cover letters and resumes, but heard nothing.
Having gone to the College of Engineering as an undergrad, I knew about its February internship fair. A lot of big and well-known companies usually attend the fair, so I went to try my luck. Most of the companies I spoke with either had no positions fitting my interests (HCI back then) or never contacted me. I did manage to somehow impress the recruiter from Microsoft, because a few days later I got an e-mail asking me to interview with them on campus.
In the middle of March I started getting worried since I interviewed with at least four companies and sent out resumes to many more, yet no one was showing interest in hiring me as an intern. At that point I started asking professors if they would hire me as a research assistant for the summer. Then I got a call from Pfizer. And IBM. And Microsoft. All of a sudden I had three offers, and I chose Microsoft since the type of work (program management) best matched my long term career goals.
Throughout my internship search, I made good use of the career services staff. I would drop by their offices to tell them how I was progressing and to ask if I could be doing anything more to get a good internship. I would also talk to them about which companies would be a good fit for what I was interested in. They even helped me decide which internship offer to accept. Overall, I think SI provided me with a lot of resources and support throughout the whole process and I am pretty happy about how it all turned out.
Samsung, South Korea: Mario Baumann
I started my internship back in October by getting in contact with recruiters at some of the larger companies I was interested in working for, specifically Microsoft. By end of January, early February, I begin looking in other places, such as iTrack, and I have a list of other companies I wanted to contact. One day I received an email from Joana stating that a new Samsung DFE, at SAIT in YongIn South Krea had been posted. I read over the DFE, and the job description fit my abilities very well, so I went ahead and emailed the contact person my resume and a cover letter. He got back to me within 24 hours and told me to email the recruiter. He CC'd the recruiter, so she already had my cover letter and resume. When I wrote to the recruiter, I wrote an additional cover letter, expanding on how I thought my personal interests and experiences would help me at Samsung. I received an autoreply; she was on vacation. About five days after she was scheduled to get back, I still had not heard from her. Instead of emailing, I had her phone number from the Samsung website, so I called her up. After telling her why I was calling, she told me I missed the application deadline and she would not take my application. I told her about the DFE posting, and she told me to contact the person who had posted it, and if he was interested in me, have him contact her. I had his number too, from the DFE posting. I called him up and he tried to refer me back to the recruiter again. I informed him of my conversation with the recruiter. The first question he asked me is if I have any programming experience. I did, from my SI classes (Java and Complex Websites), but instead of answering the question, I directed him to my portfolio website so he could see my work, not just hear about it. He said he would get back to me in a few days. Within 30 minutes, I received an email from him stating that he had recommended me to the recruiter, and I was one of the 300 potential candidates for the position. He also mentioned I was high on the list due to my effort and enthusiasm. I believe this is because I made the long distance call to Korea, twice. Three weeks later I get an email from the contact person again, asking me if I could guarantee I would be willing to go to Korea, and if I have had any other offers yet. I informed him that Samsung was #1 on my list. He promptly wrote back with my unofficial acceptance letter, and said the recruiter will send me the official one with all the job details soon. He also asked if I was going to CHI, which I am, so we are going to meet there.
Long story short, I had almost given up by the time I was applying to Samsung. I had probably applied to 20 places between October and now, had a number of interviews, but no solid results. I was really excited about Samsung, because I have always wanted to work/study abroad. I decided to call Korea because I wanted to show them how interested I really was in the position, and it worked! Within 3 weeks of applying for the Samsung internship, I now have it. I am still waiting on the details, but I am finally able to just concentrate on school, just in time for finals, papers, and my 622 presentation,
Consulting Job Search: Maurice Solomon
So, even before i came to SI, I knew i wanted to get a job in consulting... i had turned down industry jobs to leave for a summer internship in DC, a year in japan and grad school... now, my second time through the recruiting process, I was filled with trepidation. Recruiting here at UM is very standardized, and its a process, which I really only locked down by the end of it. Consulting recruiting started as soon as the winter semester go tinto swing, with invitations coming from firms to attend their dinners and the like. These came because i had attended their events in the past, stayed to talk with people, applied to their summer internships last year, had made contacts at firms, etc.
The resume drops are very standard: you can't get into iMpacts drop function, so you need to watch the calendar like a hwak, and email the recruiter directly. "Hello, My name is Maurice Solomon, and im an information economics student here at the Unveristy. My degree is like an MBA, focused on strategy and competitive dynamics surrounding information..." Standing in front of the mirror, practicing that over and over. Keeping a "recruiting" folder full of killer interview questions to read on the bus every morning. Meeting friends for mock interviews in the library and at coffee shops. An MBA friend helped me, meeting with me everyweek to strategize about which firms to target. Career services saw 7 drafts of my resume. You think thats too much... overkill... until you realize that *everyone* is doing it, and youre just keeping up.
You go to fancy dinners, you go to fancy flyouts, you pull stupid shit like forgeting important names, sending emails to the wrong recruiter. You are mostly alone during the process: in the interview room, waking up in high-rise hotel rooms just before all day interviews, sitting and deliberating offers, blank stare over a steaming cup of coffee. Your friends back you up, mock interviews, sending you up to the minute info, offering to rush you home from the airport when two interviews stack onto the same day.
My advice for SI students fighting for MBA jobs:
* The "you need to have at least two years industry experience to qualify for an MBA interview, if not youll be at the same level as the BBAs" line is true, but sometimes it isnt. This will be my first real job, but my "two years experience" was explaining dynamic capabilities to the head of IBM strategy for 10 minutes. Just those 10 minutes justified my entire two years at grad school intellectually and financially. (note: SI doesn't teach dynamic capabilities, or RBV, or any strategy framework - future consultants should take Afuah's strategy core class and Ethiraj's Tech Strategy course at the bschool)
* Sign up to iMpact, TODAY. The other "best decision" i made all recruiting season.
* Don't apply to everything. Strategize, get a short list, dont back down from your top firms. Its tons more fun with a friend to talk over things with, who can get your back at recruiting events.
* Have fun. When i was deep in the recruiting process, it took some effort to pull my head up and look at the bigger picture. I spent 20+ hours a week on recruiting over Nov. If your not having fun doing while doing it.....
Oregon State Library: Buzzy Nielsen
As a dual degree student with the Ford School of Public Policy, my internship process began early in October. Ford School students are required to complete a summer internship to satisfy the program requirements. Thus, my challenge became to find an internship that blended my dual degree interests in library science and public/nonprofit management.
I began by meeting with Joanna Kroll at SI and Tiffany Wallace at the Ford School. They gave me some valuable advice on how to proceed with my search, including what proved most beneficial for me: use my own contacts.
Needing a combination of libraries and public policy, my first thought was the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. They accept interns to help provide reference and research help to Congress. I emailed the internship coordinator, checking back with her several times. Unfortunately, CRS was not accepting interns this year due to a restructuring.
CRS got me interested in serving as a reference library intern in a policy environment. I looked into other internships at NPR, CNN, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Environmental Protection Agency libraries. I applied to NPR and CSM. The idea of working at NPR particularly excited me, and I put a lot of time and thought into writing my cover letter to make myself sound interesting. Alas, it was all for naught.
While disappointing, this rejection spurred me in March to take Joanna and Tiffany's advice. As it so happens, I know the Library Development Program Manager at the Oregon State Library. I emailed her to see if they had a place for a motivated library grad student, and they did! Although OSL does not have a formal internship program, they worked with me to design an interesting and useful internship for both of us. This summer, I will be researching Oregon library law since its beginnings in 1901. The result will be a digital archive of current and historical laws and policies affecting Oregon public libraries.
In closing, I must reiterate Joanna and Tiffany's advice: use your own contacts to find internships. Even if your contact's organization doesn't need an intern, they might know somebody who does. Plus, cold-calling may give you an opportunity to shape your future internship and make it very relevant to your goals. You never know what could happen!
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me.
Canton Public Library: Emily Smith
Emily has shared her experience in obtaining a public library internship.
I'm one of the first semester SI Students that just started this January. I attended a tour of the Canton Public library early in the semester (thanks to our ALA chapter). When it came time to think about internships my goal was to get as much experience as possible this summer to see what type of information science careers I like and what I don't like. I figured I'd love to try a public library and see if that's a direction I want to head in. I applied for the AADL PLA position and also contacted the director of the Canton PL to see if they had any positions available for the summer. The director confirmed they did and asked me to come in to meet the Children's library staff (the area where the internship is based). After a discussion about my goals for the summer and what she was looking for in an intern I was offered the position.
I'm so excited to be able to sample what I think I'm interested in doing when I graduate. I’m hoping my experiences this summer will help me determine which classes to take in the next 3 semesters too. I'm only working 20 hours a week so I have time to take on another internship or two (hopefully in a University library setting to round out my experiences).
The lessons I learned from getting this internship is, like David and Tonya keep telling us, to make a list of where you think you might like to work and then network with those companies/libraries to see what they might have available. The CPL didn't post their internship since they prefer to recruit through networking/students they know, so this is also a good example of using your existing connections at SI to get an internship. One other item I noticed is that most library internships are 20 hours a week or less, so don't stress out about finding a full time job. I think it's a great opportunity for us to try several different experiences (maybe a mixture of paid and unpaid too). I also have a second summer coming up so I'm not worried about setting up my internship as a DFE (and I haven't taken 501 yet either).
If you have any questions, please let me know! (firstname.lastname@example.org) Good luck everyone! -Emily
Proctor and Gamble: Amy Anderson
For those interested in LIS internships, here is how Amy got here internship at Proctor and Gamble.
My internship search started with a little research. I looked for job postings that I found interesting on SI's career board and all the various librarian-friendly sites. I noted skills that might appeal to promising employers. Through the alumni board, I arranged an informational interview with a fellow tech-happy librarian in the corporate world, and I discovered more about my field and the day-to-day of various jobs. Then, I worked on getting some of the right skills - through classes, DFEs and on-campus jobs. Judy gave me some helpful advice on improving my resume during the fall resume rally. I started applying for jobs in February and March. I only applied to a few, but I tailored my resume for each one. During ASB, I found a contact at the LC that eventually yielded an internship offer (unpaid).
The perfect job appeared on SLA's job board just before spring break. It sounded like a great fit, but I didn't hear anything until April (and I didn't even answer the phone, since I was watching my best friend give birth). The next week, the phone interview went great - but, again, I didn't hear anything right away. Right when I was about to give up (just a week later), I got an e-mail. My HR contact was out of town, but my supervisor wanted me to know that they wanted to fly me out for an interview. Since I was the only one flying out, I knew that I had a pretty solid chance of getting the job. I flew out during finals week, and they gave me an offer that afternoon. I accepted immediately and asked if I could use their printer to make a copy of the 503 final (posted that morning) to take on the plane ride home.
Mudd Library, Princeton University: Jen Sharp
Here is some helpful advice from Jen Sharp about ARM internships:
This summer I will be interning at Princeton University's Mudd Library. The Mudd houses the University Archives and the Public Policy Papers.
A few months ago I made a list of all the internships I was interested in and noted all the deadlines on my calendar. Somehow, though, the date I wrote down for the Mudd internship was actually two weeks beyond the deadline. I discovered this error less than a week before I had to have all the materials in, and was contemplating not applying. I wrote to the Mudd asking a couple of questions and ended up having a good email conversation with the person who would eventually hire me. Turns out he and another person on the hiring committee are both SI grads. They both also worked at the Bentley, as I do. I decided I had to go for it. Luckily my resume was already in good shape. All I really had to do was write the cover letter. Tonya was awesome and read it over for me even though we were on break and she wasn't technically working.
Amazingly, the search was really was that simple. The most difficult part was getting one of my professors to actually send in the recommendation she promised she'd write (it got there two weeks late). Soon after I had a half hour phone interview. A week later I was offered the position.
Finding jobs/internships is all about networking. I'm sure the connections with SI helped me out. Either way, I can't wait to get started!
KPMG: David Choi
For those who don't know, I'm David and I work along with Tonya at Career Services. To kick off the SI Career Services blog, I am going to share some of my experience with internship and job searching. I know there a few people still looking for internships, so I will recount some the strategies I used to find and land my internship last year.
1. I first made a list of the companies/organizations I was interested in. Making a list is really helpful because it provides scope and also makes the task less daunting. I was interested in consulting and e-commerce so I made a list of 15-20 companies that were in those areas.
2. From that list, I tried tried making networking connections at those places. For example, I was interested in working for HP so I went to their presentation on campus and also signed up for an informational interview with them. I also looked at the SI Alumni database and asked SI Career Services if we had any contacts at those companies. I tried to send my resume to the contacts I made because there is a better chance that it would make it to the right person than if I applied over their websites.
3. I did attend UM Career fair, SI Networking Event, and the
Engineering Career Fair also. While I did not get any calls from the companies I met there, I still thought it was a worthwile experience. Plus when I did my full-time job search this past fall, the job fairs actually paid off very well for me.
4. The way, I ended up at KPMG was that I knew they recruited out of my undergraduate university, Santa Clara University. So I contacted my undergraduate university career center and asked for the recruiter contact information. I sent my resume to the recruiter and I got selected for a phone interview. After that, I was flown out to California for a second round interview. I ended up taking their offer to work as an Information Risk Management intern out of their Silicon Valley office.
So that is basically how I got my internship last summer. I started looking December and I got my offer in early March. To conclude, I did get a full-time offer from KPMG but I turned it down. Internships are a great way of finding out what you want to do and, conversely, what you do not want to do. In my case, the group I interned with was not going in the direction I was interested in. So I decided I wanted to try looking somewhere else. I hope my experience is helpful to some of you.
Next time, I'll write about my job search for those of you looking for full-time jobs after graduation.