Growing Your Business: The Importance of Internships. . .

. . . and the impact your business will have on your intern.

Here is an essay from our recent intern, Becca, on the importance of internships to the upcoming young professional. Interns are so helpful in the office, but can also offer to business owners the rewarding experience of helping the next generation prepare for their careers.

There’s only so much one can learn from a textbook; it’s good for the basics, but does it really cover the “real-life” experiences? Over the years, I’ve come to realize that some of the best lessons in life—personal or business related—are learned through experience. One of the best ways to gain this practice is through internships. Whether the company is large or small, an internship really is the most efficient way to get a “hands-on” learning experience in the business world.

First off, let me introduce myself: My name is Becca and I currently live in my hometown Columbus, Ohio. I’m a business management and marketing student at the University of Dayton. During the summers back home, I’ve worked for our family-owned commercial real estate and development company as an intern for nearly three years. Although the experience has been very enriching, it’s still a family business and doesn’t quite give me the challenge I’ve been yearning for. Last year in pursuit of my hopeful business career, I was introduced to American Business Group and was offered a two-week internship in Orlando. My initial reaction was a bit uneasy—it was my first time away from home for that long, and I’d be living in an unfamiliar town. However, as my second time interning for ABG is coming to a close, I want to express how beneficial my years interning have been to my business career.

Like I said, there’s only so much you can learn from sitting in a classroom with a textbook in your hands. It’s the real-life experiences that’ll boost your knowledge of the business world. From the very start, I have been interested in business and knew I wanted business to be a big part of my life. At the time, I wasn’t very sure of which area of business I wanted to focus on—I wanted to explore all concentrations. Fortunately, my internship experience has broadened my horizons and ultimately exposed me to a number of different industries. By interacting with various types of companies and exploring different industries through my internship, I was introduced to the big world of business that was once so abstract to me.

Many people believe the notion that interns are hired just for the non-sense “busy-work” like filing, answering phones, and other administrative work. However, my experiences have been the polar opposite. Sure, I did do some basic clerical work like filing and labeling—it comes with the territory. But while interning, the majority of my time was spent attending workshops, seminars, luncheons, and a boat-load of other things that I still remember perfectly to this day. I would take notes at each seminar and when reviewing my notes afterward, I was surprised at how much knowledge I could gain just after one presentation (and for the record, I’ve kept every scratch of notes I took from each event and have frequently referred to them for information and helpful tips). Additionally, I attended business showings with perspective buyers and attended multiple business listing appointments that I never thought I’d get to experience first-hand. Believe it or not, I even got the opportunity to do things most young adults don’t get the chance to do such as establishing prospective business owner search criteria, organizing and executing direct mail campaigns, and learning about the importance of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. If it weren’t for my internship, I probably would’ve never attended such educational events nor gotten the opportunity to explore the different elements of such a great company. Better yet, I can guarantee I wouldn’t have the knowledge I do now if it weren’t for my internship experience. Additionally, my internship allowed me to take the things I learned and apply them to real-life experiences. For example, a breakfast we attended this summer was about social media and networking. A lot of what we discussed had to do with Facebook, MySpace, and other forms of networking. This subject was very appealing to me because not only am I an average teenaged Facebook user, but I’ve recently developed a strong interest in marketing and social networking. The presentation was fascinating and I really took a lot out of it. Since Facebook is something I use daily, it was neat to view this outlet from a business perspective versus the way I’ve normally viewed it.

Anyhow, I could go on for days describing how beneficial my internship experience has been—from learning how to talk on the phone with a professional “phone voice,” giving a strong and loyal handshake, and learning the importance of presenting a business card. However, time is precious and I must return to school to continue with my business education. With this in mind, I’ll leave you with a few final thoughts: it’s not easy to put yourself out there, but being an intern has possibly been the most rewarding and beneficial experience I’ve ever had. I’ve become so much more motivated and determined to have a successful career, and have ultimately learned important and essential tips that are commonly neglected in a classroom or textbook. Whether you’re a business looking for an intern, or an intern looking for a business, internships are so beneficial and should be taken advantage of in every way possible. There’s nothing like an internship that’ll help boost your career in the end. Ultimately, my years as an intern have shaped my life in more ways thought possible—get out there and let an internship shape yours too.


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