By: Lauren Cubell
Every year, students of all ages must determine how to best fill their summer vacation time. This summer, as a college student, I found myself in a different position than in previous years as I considered how I wanted to spend my time. While I had worked as a part-time barista for the past four summers, I felt ready for a change. I’m going into my third year of college studying business analytics at George Washington University, and I thought that this summer would be the perfect time to gain professional experience.
As I soon discovered, finding first-time opportunities is quite difficult, even with the Internet to aid in searching. Weighing your skills against what a company is looking for is a challenge at any point in one’s career, but is especially tough without having an understanding of how companies are structured. After months of research, networking, and sending out applications, I connected with Gina, Founder and CEO of The Boedeker Group, through the help of a mutual friend. As The Boedeker Group exited one of its busiest seasons, Gina and the team agreed that an intern would help take some of the load off of their shoulders during the summer months, and I happily joined on.
Photo : Lauren Cubell
Going into the summer, I had a few hopes in mind for my internship experience. This was my first real work experience, so figuring out how to stay organized and on top of tasks was a key goal. Additionally, it was important to me that I learned how to work online, as virtual work will likely be a component of any job I will hold in the future as more companies add work-from-home opportunities. My last goal was to gain real-world project experience — the things you just can’t learn in a classroom. TBG created an awesome “syllabus” for me, which let me accomplish all my objectives while also helping achieve the company’s own goals.
I was able to accomplish all of these goals and more at The Boedeker Group this summer. In just 11 weeks, I gained valuable experience in all of the following management systems and tools:
I also assisted in the completion of several client projects and learned the ins and outs of the TBG project life cycle, including:
- Lead generation, drip campaign, sales pipeline, marketing process
- Initial phases, client kickoff, project development
- Project live, results analyzed
- Deliverable created, final meeting, conclusion
One point which Gina and I agreed on when I joined TBG was that from the very beginning to the end of my time as an intern, I should have concrete takeaways from the experience to bring with me into my professional career. There were the programs, systems, and other “hard” skills I wanted to learn, but there were also key lessons to be learned.
A big lesson was how to advocate for yourself as an intern. When you join a company for a short period of time, it can be easy to go through the experience without getting all that you want out of it. I myself wasn’t sure how to do this when I started my internship. TBG’s culture of sharing ideas, connecting frequently, and constructively critiquing helped me learn effective methods for self-advocacy. Through daily and weekly meetings in which all TBG team members participate and share progress and thoughts, I saw that everyone had the chance to voice their opinions, which made me more comfortable in speaking my mind. When I had one-on-one time with my coworkers, I understood that they cared about my growth and development and wanted me to succeed, which helped me focus on both helping the company and also helping myself. And by observing my coworkers provide gentle yet necessary constructive feedback to each other, I saw that I had nothing to lose by speaking my mind.
I have had a wonderful experience interning at TBG, and I know that I made the right choice to spend my summer here. An internship ideally is equally beneficial for both the intern as well as the company, and that was certainly true for my time this summer. Looking forward to the upcoming school year, I feel both well-prepared and excited for the journey ahead.