My Internship at Rand McNally
By Qiana Lawery
February 04, 2009
This first-hand account details a students internship in my internship at Rand McNally.
Internship: Rand McNally, Internet division
How I heard about it: I am involved with the INROADS organization, whose mission is to match corporate sponsors with qualified minority college students.
If I could use one word to describe my internship, it would be “busy”! My start date happened to be three weeks before the official re-launch of randmcnally.com, so there were a lot of projects in progress I needed to help with. I was given a lot of variety. On any given day I: edited material for the FAQ page, worked on a presentation explaining a new market strategy for the college market, conducted research on competitor sites or tested the Web site for bugs. Each day, I walked into the building not really knowing what that day’s tasks would be. I was grateful for that, because there are tons of internships out there where students die of boredom from filing or copying every day. That was one thing I never had to worry about.
What I got out of it
As a result of my experience, I’ve compiled five rules for internships and beyond:
#1: Punctuality is everything! That should be obvious, but as a college student, you sometimes lose sight of how important that is after being late to classes once in a while.
#2: Be clear on your goals. If you have no idea what you want to get out of your internship, your supervisor will have even less of a clue as to what you need/want.
#3: Be flexible! The more you can adapt and take on various projects, the more responsibility you’ll be given, and the better you’ll look to the department.
#4: Speak your mind. Tactfully, of course, but your ideas do matter, so you shouldn’t be afraid to contribute.
#5: Have fun! If you’re going to spend a summer working, you need to have a smile while doing it. That means being in an internship where you can have as much fun as if you were doing other summer activities.
Word to the wise
I would tell any future intern to make the most of their opportunity. Whatever tasks you have, do them and do them well. A lot of times, employers give “mundane” tasks to test interns, in order to determine how much responsibility they can handle. By doing the small things, you give them confidence in your abilities. Also, never sell yourself short; you wouldn’t have the internship if you weren’t qualified.
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