Congrats! You got the internship—ready to jump in?
If you’re anything like me, making the transition from the classroom to the office was stressful and intimidating. And I had lots of questions:
- What do I wear?
- How do I network?
- What if I don’t like my internship?
- How do I ask for work?
But, don’t stress. I’ve gathered tips, advice and best practices from a group of recent college graduates just starting their careers at Accenture to help you make the most of your experience. Collectively, the five of us have completed more than 30 internships—some good, some bad—and we’ve survived them all!
Madeleine Loftus, Marketing Analyst, Accenture Corporate Marketing
Centre College Graduate
1. Learn from your mistakes.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to not mess up and to try to know everything. I quickly realized that this is impossible. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone needs help. Remember, you are there to learn and grow. Learning from your mistakes, asking for help and bettering yourself is part of growing up and learning who you are. When you don’t know how to handle a situation, ask your supervisor and learn from it. No one is expecting you to know all the answers. There is a learning curve. Learn something each day, ask questions and bring your strengths. You will succeed.
Tiffane Tingle, Marketing Analyst,
Accenture Corporate Marketing
Saint John’s University Graduate
2. Build your network.
Since internships are often short, leaving a lasting impression will be a challenge. But it’s one of the most important things you can do. Whenever you need to ask for a referral or letter of reference, you want it to be personal. Building meaningful relationships—and checking in after you've left—will keep your network intact. If you’ve been gone from the company for a long while, but it's the most relevant work experience you have, the relationship you've built with your supervisor will be helpful when you need a reference at a moment’s notice.
Parth Shingala, Consulting Analyst,
Rutgers University Graduate
3. Invest in yourself.
During orientation, in between conversations and presentations, you may find yourself re-evaluating the entirety of your academic and professional qualifications. We’ve all been there before. Prior to entertaining thoughts of doubt, it’s imperative to take a step back and reflect. Remember, you were selected to be part of an incredibly talented cohort. You have already demonstrated your ability and willingness to contribute to your surroundings.
Also, regardless of what the internship entails, you possess a unique and valuable skillset. Tap into your competitive advantage as a means of distinguishing yourself. Throughout the internship, continue to acquire skills that both complement and deepen your competitive advantage.
Rob Carmody, Consulting Analyst,
Missouri University of Science and Technology Graduate
4. Stay open-minded.
One of the best things about an internship is the wide range of opportunities that are available at your disposal, as well as the ability to figure out what careers you like and don’t like. If you don’t love your role, there are plenty of other opportunities to explore through networking. Use your team’s past experiences and your newly expanded network to find what’s right for you. It takes time to understand your niche; in the meantime, learn as much as possible about what’s out there.
Graciela Arana-Comas, Consulting Analyst, Accenture Consulting
University of Pennsylvania Graduate
5. Try new experiences.
You will be exposed to a lot of new, unfamiliar things, and those are precisely the opportunities you should be embracing to learn and grow. Do not be intimidated by what you don’t know, but rather, face these challenges head-on, and take advantage of the opportunities to learn something new. By maintaining an open mind, you will not only expand your knowledge; you will also prove that you are willing to learn and challenge yourself.
Want to work with the latest innovations and join forces with some of the best and brightest? Check out Accenture’s Summer Analyst Program. Applications for summer 2019 are due in the fall.
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