26 Aug [Success Story] Top 3 Key Learnings from Absolute Alumni
The majority of students that start their careers right after graduating from university have undertaken at least one internship in their relevant field. We have interviewed three Absolute Internship alumni to find out about their journeys from undertaking their first internship with AI to graduating from university and securing their first full-time job. We are hoping that their success stories inspire you to embark on an internship program or consider only an internship placement in your field of interest!
It can be hard to continue working during summer holidays or while you’re at university. Nevertheless, the outcome of your constant hard work will definitely pay off after completing your university studies.
All the stress associated with finding your first job will greatly diminish after having undertaken at least one internship and acquired significant work experience.
Some Stats to Begin With...
According to the International Labour Office (2018), undertaking a structured internship increases young people’s chances of entering the labor market after completing university. A structured internship is associated with the presence of a mentor, the integration of cross-cultural norms and communication and a sufficient internship duration to acquire sufficient work-related knowledge and competencies.
Meet Absolute Alumni:
Our past interns from the summer of 2017 and 2018 are now in full-time employment and we would like to share their success stories so you can get a sense of what you must do to secure a job right after graduation:
In the summer of 2017, Josh worked as a Marketing Recruitment Intern at Charter Selection, in London with Absolute Internship and then decided to undertake an internship as a Sports Marketing intern at The National Sports Forum during his senior year of college. His hard work during his past internship experiences paid off and he is now working at San Diego Padres as an Account Executive. He actually started working at the company just two months after graduation as a season ticket representative.
Ashley SiocoBaker Hughes in Houston, Texas, in their ASPIRE Supply Chain Leadership Development Program. Besides her internship in Barcelona, Ashley has always been very proactive during university and has taken part in multiple clubs and societies, such as the Welcoming Big Sis Committee and the Aggie Supply Chain Professionals where she strived to increase the understanding and development of supply chain management concepts and practices. Ashley made sure she attended every career fair on campus to search for jobs that matched her work experience and interests.
Sophia worked as a research analyst intern at Fintech Global in London in the summer of 2017. She was in charge of reporting and identifying key developments in FinTech for the company’s website. After her finance internship in London she worked as an Investment Banking Analyst in Bank of America for two summers in a row, in 2018 and 2019. Sophia kept extremely busy throughout university and during her summer holidays and this paid off since she is now a full time employee at Bank of America as an Investment Banking analyst in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) department.
Top 3 Key Learnings From Absolute Alumni
A few years after undertaking their first internship with Absolute Internship, our alumni agree on three aspects regarding their journey from undertaking their first internship to graduating university and securing their first full-time job:
1. The amount of professional and personal skills they obtained during their internship
During an internship it is your moment to ask about absolutely everything, work in different departments and discover what you are truly passionate about. Who knows - you might really excel in certain areas and discover something new about yourself. If you are wondering if you are in the right degree or you are unsure of what career path is right for you, you can find out by embarking on an internship. If you realize this is not what you want to do, this internship will uncover what you are actually passionate about and it’s never too late to change your career path. Nothing is permanent and changing your mind is completely okay!
Ashley believes that one the most important skills she developed during her internship was learning how to adapt and work with people from different nationalities and cultures. She really appreciated this experience since the company she works for, Baker Hughes, is an international company that operates in over 120 countries with employees from all over the world.
“Businesses continue to expand outside the country they are based in, so it is vital to understand the culture, laws and the way each country operates in order to make business decisions.”
- Ashley Sioco
This is an aspect of undertaking an internship that many people disregard but this is one of the most important things employers look for in a resume- international experience where you have worked with people from different countries, ethnic groups and cultures. This shows you can adapt to multiple ways of working and you are able to embrace different ideas and values.
During Josh’s internship at Charter Selection, in London, he learnt how to work with tight deadlines, becoming a trustworthy coworker who was trusted with more tasks as the internship progressed. In addition, becoming a more organized person in the workplace translated to his personal life as well.
Josh and his colleagues at a company visit in London
“During my internship I was required to read through resumes and create spreadsheets of the different candidates. These are tasks where attention to detail and great organization skills are necessary. These are two important skills I have been able to apply in my current position at San Diego Padres.”
- Josh Kracoff
Finally, an important life skill you can gain in internships is confidence. The more self-confidence you have, the more you value your abilities. If you believe in yourself and what you can bring to a company, you will more likely move forward with opportunities. Remember, if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will.
“During my first month at Pal Robotics, in Barcelona, I became so much more confident in my skills. I started pitching my own ideas and my public speaking abilities improved tremendously.”
- Ashley Sioco
2. The importance of gaining as much professional experience as you can during summer holidays & university
We fully acknowledge that during your summer break you want to relax from your studies. However, it is extremely important for future employers to see that you have been proactive about gaining professional experience. Even during college, it’s good to have your hands full and participate in a variety of activities and events. This shows that you have excellent organisation skills and are able to juggle several tasks at once.
Ashley, for example, was part of multiple university clubs, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association, where she was an Equestrian Athlete. Josh was able to combine his studies with working as a Sports Marketing Intern at the National Sport Forum during his senior year.
“I tried to accumulate as much relevant experience as possible prior to graduation (particularly during my junior and senior years of college) working as a student Telefunder, a sports marketing intern and a marketing recruitment intern in London.”
- Josh Kracoff
Sophia believed she needed to obtain as many experiences as she could during college to disclose what industry she could truly thrive in. Thus, she undertook her first internship in 2017, as a research analyst at Fintech Global, in London, the summer right after her first year of university. The following summers she interned for Bank of America as well.
“I wanted to work in diverse fields to help me narrow down what I could see myself doing for my future career. I definitely believe that these experiences helped me stand out as a candidate and allowed me to have a lot of stories to share during interviews”
- Sophia DeMarchi
Sophia and Josh during their internship in London
3. Fears about not obtaining a job after graduation
Graduating from university will probably be one of the most exciting periods in a young professional’s life but also one of the most challenging. After four years of studying, four years of living with your closest friends and four years of getting accustomed to a new life in a new city, the university bubble finally bursts. Whether you decide to undertake a full-time internship or are actively looking for a job, you might feel a bit anxious in these uncertain times.
We are here to reassure you that whether it’s right after university or a few months later, you will get hired eventually and you will find a job you are passionate about. Our past alumni were also worried about not being able to enter the job market and eventually they found a job that suited their abilities:
“It’s especially hard when you see all your peers accepting post-college offers and you feel pressured to find something, even if it’s not the right fit for you. As long as you are diligent in your search and stick to your process, things will work out in the end more often than not.”
- Josh Kracoff
Sophia was offered a job at Bank of America, where she had interned the previous two years. However, with the changing economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, she was worried about no longer being offered the position.
“I am very thankful I got offered the position given the difficult circumstances. I am still in New Jersey but I am extremely fortunate that I have been able to start working remotely. I will move to New York City as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
- Sophia DeMarchi
4 Things Every Intern Must Make Sure to Do:
According to previous interns, these are the recommendations they would give future interns:
Make as many connections as you can during your internship, with both your peers and your co-workers. While networking with people in different industries is critical, don't underestimate the importance of networking with your co-workers since this can be incredibly beneficial to your career development and progression.
Learn from the experiences of your mentors and work colleagues that have more professional experience than you and can shed light on their journey and on how they landed with a full-time position. You are bound to make mistakes in your first job and that’s okay. Your manager and co-workers were all in your position at one point and will be happy to help you.
“What is more important is how you handle those mistakes and adapt to the new environment you are in.” - Sophia DeMarchi
Josh, Ashley and Sophia agreed that the more proactive you are, the more valuable you will be to the company. If you push yourself to produce your best possible work and avoid settling for something you're not fully proud of, you will obtain the best results.
“Get into the habit of saying: I don’t have any prior experience in this but give me some more time and I will figure it out.” - Ashley Sioco
Ashley was even able to learn some basic Spanish during her internship. She slowly picked up some important words and phrases and soon she was able to understand the meetings and presentations in Spanish that took place in her company. Ashley was proactive enough to learn the language and did not let the language barrier be a defining struggle.
Time flies, don’t waste a minute of it
Appreciate the opportunity you have been given because three months pass by incredibly quickly. If you are doing an internship on-site don’t forget to explore the city as much as possible and if you get the chance, travel around the country, try different type of food and learn the local language!
Sophia at the student residence in London
As we have outlined in this article, there are a variety of things you can do to increase your chances of entering the job market. We are summarizing them here fore you:
- Undertake one or more internships before graduating from university
- Take part in university clubs and events
- Be proactive
- Gain international experience
- Work with people from different nationalities and cultures
- Learn a language