For a little over two years, I have been a student intern at Sandia National Laboratories. I first thought I may be interested in an internship at Sandia when my MGMT 202 professor mentioned that there was a career fair going on across the hall at the Jackson Center during class one day. At the time, I was a sophomore and had no idea what to expect. Class got out early, so I decided to head over and check out the employers at the career fair. I spoke with a Sandia recruiter and gave them my resume. A couple weeks later I had an interview and the rest is history!
My internship has allowed me to grow professionally and meet some wonderful people. You always hear that networking is such a big part of the business world, and it truly is! I have found that getting to know people and building those professional relationships is so crucial when it comes to being a successful businessperson. Having the opportunity to get mentored at my internship has been extremely beneficial. Mentoring has helped me continue my business development and build relationships with people who have extensive business expertise. Being in contact with people who are at a point in their career where you aspire to be makes goals seem more realistic and attainable.
Another crucial skill I have learned is how to practice teamwork. We have all done group projects for class and had to manage different styles and opinions throughout a project. Having an internship has helped me apply these teamwork skills in order to be part of a successful organization. I have learned that different opinions are what generate awesome ideas. Learning to work as part of a team is a skill that I have gotten to practice not only at school but in the actual workplace at my internship. Learning how to work in a company’s specific culture and environment is the best way to see how you really like the field that you are interested in. Getting your degree is obviously very important and the main goal for students; however, having professional experience outside of school and maximizing networking opportunities takes your education to a completely different level.
According to the Huffington Post, 69% of companies with 100 or more employees offered full time jobs to their interns. In addition to this, 85% of employers say hiring an intern was a positive experience. Not only does an internship open the door for advancement within the company, it also helps you develop skills that you cannot gain from school alone. Personally, I have seen a great development in my own networking and professional skills from my internship experience. Utilizing these along with mentoring opportunities has helped me gain a better understanding of my goals for the future. If you do not have an internship and are still searching for one, don’t forget to check out the Internship Fair January 30th in the Jackson Center!
My name is Natalie Chiha. I graduated this past May with my BBA in Finance and just started my MBA in MOT. I look forward to graduating with my MBA in either summer or fall of 2014.