Keeping in touch with busy students

October 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The semester is half over, so it’s time to take inventory of your interns, who have probably been so busy that you rarely hear from them. Even if students have been sending in their weekly reports, you still can’t tell if their internships are really working for them or if they’ve been too overwhelmed to contact you. And please don’t assume that all is well since you haven’t heard otherwise from internship supervisors, who may also be too busy to contact you.  It’s not too late to correct any problems, leading to a successful conclusion and rave references.

First, set up an appointment for a phone or onsite visit with each intern. You can find out much more about a situation by talking “live” to a person rather than communicating by email or text messages. Keep the appointment short and prepare a few direct questions, such as “What do you like/dislike about your internship? What problems are you having with the assignments or supervisor? What can I or the school do to help you be more successful in your internship?” Their answers should reveal specific issues and initiate resolution.

Second, create a more detailed reporting form for the second half of the internship. Initial forms often use boxes for check marks to save busy interns time, but by now your interns should be involved in projects. Request samples of projects or abstracts of meetings, so you’ll be more knowledgeable about the internship. If busy students show resentment towards more detailed forms, remind them that you need to keep a good file to help them get their next internships.

Third, keep in touch in positive ways that include fun and fellowship. Along with your colleagues, plan a mid-semester party for your student interns. If some student interns are on distant sites, explore ways to bring them back for the special day or to include them via long-distance technology. Celebrate your students for making it half-way through busy internships and cheer then on to a fine finish. They’ll appreciate your efforts and renew their own.


Business Cards thrive in a digital age

October 28, 2010 at 7:51 am | Posted in Educator Updates Newsletter, Views on the News | Leave a comment
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In a time when everything is digital why are business cards still thriving? Perhaps it is because of their versatility:  they are commonly used for professional reasons, and are fast becoming popular in social settings as well.

Companies like Staples and Office Depot report a surge in demand for business cards over the past 3 years. This is despite the fact that there are apps such as “Bump” for the iPhone that are designed to exchange contact info by touching phones together. Many of these new app companies are finding they are trying to solve a problem that nobody wants solved.

While digital means are speedy and convenient, business cards allow you to showcase your personality in the design and delivery of your card. When people exchange business cards they transfer more than just contact data. They transfer impressions and stories that leave a lasting impact.

In these tough times leaving a lasting impression is both vital and effective in networking your way to your dream internship…your dream job…your dream career. When you can hand over a card and your new acquaintance knows who you are and how to contact you, digital convenience flies out the window. And let’s face it…who doesn’t love seeing their name in print!

Q. How can I help my students understand the individual corporate cultures at their internships?

May 11, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Posted in corporate culture | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. Corporate cultures can be confusing—even for long-term company employees, much less new interns. These shared values, standards, and behaviors reflect the leadership style and ultimately the success of a business. To help your interns understand and “fit in” to the corporate culture, suggest that they research the following elements in their individual companies:  

  1. Values: Prospective interns can read up on the company history to understand the initial values and goals. Annual reports are also an excellent source of information on the company’s achievements, problems or changing values. Other documents that illustrate a company’s value system are the corporate mission statement and  slogan, such as Pfizer’s “Working together for a healthier world.” Google and other search engines reveal information about the corporate leaders, reflecting the company values.
  2. Standards: Is the company a corporate citizen, sponsoring community events, including educational initiatives or fundraising? What kinds of events does it hold for employees? Is the holiday party a dinner at a fine dining restaurant or is it a buffet in the company lunchroom? Does the company award employees for reaching goals? Interns can find out this information from company newsletters or by asking employees. If interns listen to the lunchroom chatter and ask questions, they’ll hear lots of stories that will identify company standards.
  3. Behaviors: Behaviors, ranging from dress to language, can change from department to department. The executives may exhibit one behavior in the boardroom, but the employees may practice other behaviors, depending on department. Age also makes a difference in behavior. Social media may be more accepted in some departments.  
  4. Different Cultures:  Is it a bureaucratic culture, often found in government, banks, universities, hospitals, and insurance agencies? If so, the intern will probably work with forms, formal reports, and policy statements. Performance may be judged by adherence to compliance and procedures. Or is the company a work hard/play hard organization, usually true of startups, with short-term deadlines?  If so, the student should have high energy and a can-do attitude. Some companies, such as Apple, believe in management by objective and offer stock options, innovative work rules, and profit-sharing. Teamwork drives that type of culture.
  5. Interns may want to share with each other their observations on corporate cultures in their individual companies, helping each other gain new understanding.

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