A Lesson in Internships: Bigger is Not Always Better

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By: Lucie Freeman, Sophomore GWWIB Ambassador

I remember it being February and panicking that I hadn’t landed a summer internship at a big name company yet. I thought to myself that having an internship at a top bank or firm was the only way to gain meaningful work experience where I could learn and grow, both personally and professionally. Was it even worth spending time and energy applying for positions at smaller unknown companies? As April arrived and I finally accepted that it was too late, an opportunity came up for an internship at a company called Financially Wise Women (FWW) that specialized in tailoring financial planning services towards professionally successful women. While I had never heard of the company before, I thought I had nothing to lose by taking five minutes to Google their website. After I spent some time looking at their mission statement and getting a feel for their brand image, I began to realize that this company was actually pretty unique and somewhere I could see myself fitting in. The next step was interviews, and after some waiting I got the position! 

On my first day I went over my basic responsibilities that mostly covered social media and marketing, since that was the focus of the internship, and was introduced to the team I would be working with. I immediately started on creating content for FWW’s social media, but as the summer progressed I also found myself doing a variety of other tasks depending on who needed extra help. Due to the fact that our team was so small, this happened frequently as various deadlines and goals were accomplished and new projects came up. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this aspect of my internship pushed me to adapt to a fast paced work environment and evolving priorities. My teamwork and communication skills also drastically improved, since it was essential that everyone was on the same page to ensure timeliness and high quality work. 

Reflecting on my time at Financially Wise Women, I now understand that one of the most important parts about an internship is how you spend your time there, rather than where you spend it. After all, you could land a position at Goldman Sachs but only put in minimal effort and pass up opportunities that would make yourself stand out and leave a lasting impression. So if you ever find yourself in my position, stressing out about where your next summer internship will be, remember to start searching early and know that there is always something positive you can gain from any position you might find yourself in. 

Posted on November 13, 2016 .