Written by Guest Blogger, Tim Hardin, Sourcing Intern
I was an eighteen year old freshman walking into the six story Schneider Electric office that sits on 10350 Ormsby Park Place. Dressed to the nines, I had several copies of my resume in hand, along with a bundle of confidence that my mom instilled in me minutes before. On the phone call she said, “I know they will like you because I do,” with that I responded, “Well, you kind of have to.”
After a few breathing exercises on the elevator ride up, I arrived at the fourth floor. From there, I was escorted to the meeting room where my interview would be held. It was a dim room with one circular table in the middle – frightening right? After running through potential interview questions in my head, I realized I still didn’t know how I should introduce myself. Timothy sounds a little too formal, Timmy is what my friends call me but I’m not a little kid anymore, and Tim sounds weird because that is what my dad goes by. The interviewer walked in – “Tim” I said tentatively, in my head I thought, “Did I really just say that?” The interview proceeded – I killed it! About two weeks later, I got the call – it was official, I was offered an internship.
Five Building Blocks for a Successful and Fulfilling Internship Experience
Fast forward to today, I’ve been working as a Sourcing Intern for sixteen months and my coworkers are still the only people who call me Tim. Over this time, I’ve done a lot here: working on different projects, attending out-of-office events, balancing school work at the same time, and much more. That is sixteen months of real experience. But I didn’t start here, I built my way to this point. Here are my five building blocks to having a successful and fulfilling internship experience here at Schneider Electric.
Understand the Importance of Saying “Yes”
“Can you make this graph?”
“Can you complete this task by lunch?”
“Can you make ten copies, run an analysis on this spreadsheet, and send an email out to so and so?”
“Yes, yes, and yes.”
I hope you get the point. While being an intern, your goal is to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. Saying “yes” is beneficial for you in several ways. The first is that saying “yes,” allows you the opportunity to work on many different facets of business. The more work you do, the more the knowledge you gain, which means the more valuable you become. Working on different projects within the business also gets your name out there and increases your exposure – more on this idea in building block #2. Lastly, saying “yes” to everything also builds up your reputation. If the quality of your work speaks for itself, you will start to develop a reputation as someone who can be counted on when something needs to be done. Say “yes” as much as you can.
Network, Network, and Network
You’ve heard it thousands of times, “it’s not about how much you know, it’s about who you know.” Whether you believe this or not, meeting and getting to know people will not only benefit your professional skillset but also your personal life. The most challenging aspect of networking is getting to know the people who you don’t interact with every day. This relationship building occurs during out-of-office events, happy hours, and even taking on extra work from outside of your direct team. I’ll be honest, my first out-of-office event was really awkward. To paint a picture of the awkwardness, I sat on the end of the restaurant table and chimed in with one liners every fifteen minutes. On the bright side, I was the only intern there, which was great exposure to my new coworkers. As an intern, go to every event you can and get to know your coworkers.
Do Something that is Noteworthy
Here at the Louisville office, there are more than 25 interns here at all times, which makes it easy to blend in. Let’s be honest, you are working forty hours a week during the summer and not every day is going to be fun and exciting. Complacency will be your biggest enemy during the dog days of summer, going through each day doing exactly what you are asked and nothing more. Fight this. While all of the other interns are doing exactly what they are asked to do, you need to go above and beyond. Take the initiative to improve the efficiency of tasks, ask for more work, work longer hours, or build something useful. The average intern doesn’t get noticed – the best intern does.
Be the Hardest Worker in the Room
As Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says, “Be humble, be hungry, and always be the hardest worker in the room.” This approach should be applied to your internship experience. If you think about it, an internship is essentially a glorified tryout. Just like the goal of a tryout is to make the team, the goal of an internship is to get a job. This building block is the simplest of all of them. Out work everyone else and become so efficient that you are unreplaceable. You can control the level of effort you exert, but you can’t control whether or not you are offered a job. Control your effort, and almost every time the thing you want will follow.
Check your Ego at the Door
Although you think your college credit hours puts you above making copies – it doesn’t. As an intern, your job is to make the job of those around you as easy as possible, and if you do it correctly, the experience you gain during this time will be applicable in the post-graduation world. During my sixteen months of employment, I’ve been asked to do one-off tasks from time to time such as: researching apartment complexes in Louisville within a two mile radius of the office, making copies, and setting up a room for a meeting.
Going back to building block #1, I completed all of these tasks because I want people to know that if they need something done, I’m the guy for the job. Good news for interns at Schneider Electric, 99% of your work is relevant and specific to your job. Very rarely am I asked to do tasks outside the scope of the Sourcing Team. Regardless of the task, I am not above it and neither are you.
Well you made it this far, which is further than how far my coworker got when I asked him to proofread. In all seriousness, the above five building blocks are how to have a successful internship experience with Schneider Electric. Some people may say that there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to finding success at your internship, which is true, but this strategy is what works for me, and it works every time.
If I could sum up these five building blocks in one sentence it would be to work hard and be a good person, both of these things you can control. Lastly, I want to leave you with a quote from serial entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, “There are two ways to have the biggest building in the city, you can tear everyone’s building down, or you can simply build the biggest building.” Build the biggest building here at Schneider Electric.
About the Author:
Tim Hardin is a Sourcing Intern at Schneider Electric, Louisville, Kentucky. He is currently enrolled in the Rubel School of Business at Bellarmine University majoring in Finance with a minor in Accounting. He has an expected graduation date of December 2019. Upon graduation, he plans to explore the Finance Advanced Development Program offered by Schneider Electric. He loves to build new things and take the leadership initiative on projects that is fostered by his entrepreneurial spirit. In his free time, He is a fitness enthusiast, enjoys reading, playing with his dog, Macy, and spending time with family and friends.
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