Internships, whether in the corporate or development sectors, are a great way to familiarise fresh graduates or university students to the professional world.
Circumscribing your learning process to the confines of academia will fail to provide you a comprehensive learning experience that will effectively prepare you to pursue your desired career trajectory.
This is where an internship is likely to fill the void. It places you in an environment where you get the opportunity to connect with an array of different individuals--to expand your network beyond your University associations and friendships which might be beneficial in the near future.
"Initially I was skeptical as to how it would benefit me as it was for a very short period. However my colleagues were very friendly and helpful. We had discussions on various issues that gave insights and also taught me to think from different perspectives. Hence I ended up having a wonderful experience.", said Ishmam Quddus, a former intern at BRAC Institute of Governance and Development states.
How internships benefit you
Observing from a close distance and interacting with people who carry out the functions that could entail your potential job could help you to decide whether you should adhere to your existing career choice or pursue a new one.
They add weight to your resume which when applying for your actual job could enhance the chances of landing one. Moreover, if you aspire to get into any Master's Program of foreign universities, especially those of USA and UK, internships can contribute to your application. Since work experience is one of the most crucial factors to evaluate your eligibility for admission. Especially when applying for business schools.
Students in their Undergraduate life mostly engage in private tutoring which might act as a solid source of income, but that rarely strengthens their CVs or Graduate school applications. However, internships can get a person a certification/letter of appointment which can help you validate your work experience in both cases.
There are a plethora of stereotypes attached to intern life. Two of the most common stereotypes are that they teach you how to work and that the type of job you will be assigned has little to do with your qualifications.
Only by entering an internship, you will get to evaluate first-hand the degree of veracity hearsays such as 'great working experience' and 'languished in front of the printer' hold. Moreover they will take you on a voyage of self- discovery through which you are likely to find out your own levels of patience, tolerance, sagacity, time-management skills and so on and so forth.
Speaking from personal experience, just two days into the internship brought on the stark realisation that the classroom environment diverges greatly from workplace culture.
Furthermore, the strain and exhaustion associated with simply sitting in front of a computer desk is vastly different from that associated with studying for midterms or submitting assignments.
Internships are likely to teach you the subtle difference between learning by observing and learning by doing, which is integral when your productivity level varies from that of the employee whose task you are told to observe and then replicate.
As much as I have stressed on the significance of internships at the end of the day, whatever decision you take which you feel will steer towards personal growth should be backed up by exhaustive research on the relevant topic and mental strength to deal with the situation.
The author is a recent graduate with MSc Finance and Investment from University of Nottingham, UK, currently working as an analyst for Alliance Capital Asset Management Limited. She can be reached at email@example.com