What was a typical week like in your internship position?
At BAE Systems, Inc. I had a wide variety of tasks, which was nice because it kept day-to-day work interesting. A big role I had was being the company-wide project manager for National Intern Day, which I worked on for a lot of the summer. I created content for this day to make a special celebration for interns across the company. This was a great learning experience because I was able to work with anyone from managers all the way to interns. A lot of days I would also create content for internal and external communication channels to portray BAE Systems mission statement and what we were doing across platforms.
What did you enjoy most about the position?
What I most enjoyed about the position was the people I worked with and the wide variety of things I was able to learn. The people I worked with were so invested on the mission of BAE Systems and it showed through in their work. Working alongside people with such a strong passion helped me work harder make a difference. It was also amazing because I was able to have many opportunities outside of just my communications role. Although I worked a lot directly with the communications team, I was able to also partner with HR, talent acquisition, etc. that helped me to expand my skill set. I also enjoyed that I wasn’t treated as the typical idea of an “intern”. My supervisor and co-workers made sure I had many opportunities to grow my skill set. One thing I really enjoyed was being able to see one of our shipyards in Norfolk, VA. I was able to take a two-day trip down there to see how what we did in the office played a role in a typical day in the shipyard. It really gave me a sense of pride to be working for such a meaningful organization.
How did your coursework help you in your internship?
My coursework definitely helped me in my internship. In the classroom, I learned how to build relationships, complete tasks on time, and put handwork behind the tasks and work I was completing. This definitely played over to my internship because I was very dedicated to my work. My supervisor praised me by saying that I seemed like I knew how the professional work environment was supposed to work and that was due to my classes. Similar to creating a relationship with your professor in the classroom, I did the same with my supervisor. I wanted to know their expectations of me and show them that I was putting effort in to go above and beyond my part. I also think my coursework taught me how to be punctual and stick to deadlines as well as communicating what I was working on/if I needed help.
How did you locate your internship position?
I located my internship through the “Intern for a Day” program in the Career Center. I was assigned to BAE Systems to shadow them for HR. It was an amazing experience to see how a company works from an outsider perspective. During that day, I made sure to create relationships with the people showing me around and get their contact information. I followed up and told them how much I appreciated the day. A month or two later, I got an email from one of the women I met there saying that BAE Systems was looking for a Communications Intern and that she immediately thought of me and wanted me to apply. This meant a lot for me because it showed that my impressions did stick and it was working out for me in the long run. After interviewing, I received the internship and the women who reached out to me became my supervisor for the summer program.
Advice for students:
My advice to students searching for internships would be to make sure that you enjoy the place you are going to be interning. Although during the interview stages the company is asking you questions to see if you would be a good fit for them, it’s also a good time for you to see if the company would be a good fit for you. Ask about their values, their expectations, etc. to make sure you feel comfortable. In regards to search tips, I think it is super useful to use the resources UMD provides you with. Whether it’s Dean Russell’s weekly emails or the career center, there are useful resources and people that will help you with your first steps. This can help you with further internship moves (such as intern for a day) that will help connect you to future opportunities.
Overall from my experiences, I have learned and want to share to always ask questions. Always. When I first started out with a company, I was scared to ask questions because I didn’t want to seem “young” and like I was clueless. However, you are new to the company and new to a lot of what you are learning so they expect you to ask questions. It is better to ask questions and then be able to perform the task to the fullest of your ability rather than just slide by with the bare minimum and still be confused at the end. This also shows your supervisor that you are want to learn and fully understand what they are teaching you. Always reach out and see if there is anything else you can do for them and keep an open line of communication. Being proactive and a good communicator will help you in the long run with relationships and positive feedback.