I am a senior at Vanderbilt University and recently finished a summer internship at Stratasan. In my time there I learned an incredible amount and am so appreciative of the opportunity I had to work at a wonderful company with amazing people. Advice I received prior to my internship was extremely helpful in making it such a great experience for me. After reflecting on my time at Stratasan, I’ve developed this list of my top 6 pieces of advice for interns.
- Ask questions Questions are not merely encouraged; they are expected. Before my internship, the business of healthcare and data analytics were extremely foreign to me, so I tried hard to absorb everything I was learning like a sponge, but there were still times I needed help connecting the dots. If the opportunity was right, I asked questions right then and there. I also kept a list of questions each day and made sure to get them answered before I left for the day. Asking questions was a key part of my learning and problem solving at Stratasan.
- Learn from your co-workers No single member of the team is an expert in every area of the business. By reaching out to members of the team and asking more about their unique responsibilities, I gained a very well-rounded understanding of the business. Through investing time in getting to know the team, I also learned valuable things unrelated to Stratasan. For instance, every member of the team has been in my place at one point and each person offered me valuable career advice that I will undoubtedly take into my senior year of college and the future beyond.
- Take initiative I came into my internship at Stratasan wanting to learn as much as I could, but I was also determined to deliver value to the company in as many ways as I could. This ranged from my attitude to my work ethic to taking initiative. As an intern, I took initiative by fully understanding both the daily processes and the goals of the company. At Stratasan, I worked in sales and marketing. I knew this was where my supervisors were investing a lot of energy in growing the company. I worked in building a revised sales toolkit to help future sales personnel easily understand the company’s target personas and product offerings. When Stratasan hired a new VP of Sales in the final week of my internship, I was able to guide him through the sales materials I had developed, which was an awesome experience that made the transition easier for him and reinforced everything I learned.
- Ask for feedback How do you know if you’re delivering value as an intern? You ASK! I am the type of person who is constantly looking to improve myself. If you don’t have a sound awareness of how you’re doing, it’s impossible to get better. To ensure I was meeting the goals of my supervisors and delivering value to the company, I asked for feedback. Asking for feedback shows your investment in the work you’re doing and desire to get better. When you show your desire to improve, your supervisor will always do what they can to help you get there.
- Speak up & share ideas It can be intimidating to share your ideas in a meeting where you know everyone in the room is more experienced than you, but sitting back and not contributing doesn’t make anyone better. It’s important to be confident in your abilities and speak up when you have ideas. Interns bring a new perspective to a business and it was always appreciated when I shared my ideas. Your idea doesn’t have to be earth shattering and it won’t always be possible, but small ideas can spark massive change. So speak up and share what you are thinking.
- Say “Thank You” Reflecting on my experiences at Stratasan and all of the professional relationships I developed there, I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to join the Stratasan team. Everyone on the team invested in me, helped me to learn, and genuinely wanted me to succeed. And I am eternally thankful for that. It’s easy for me to say that on this blog post, but the important part is to express it. Thank everyone who makes your internship a great experience and keep in touch!