graduate internship

March 3, 2017, by Carla

What Can You Expect on a Graduate Internship?

By Qinyan Li, MSc Management Psychology and Dominique Rowan, BA Hons Economics

Is a graduate internship a better choice than immediately entering full time employment? As two students who graduated last year with an unclear idea of what we wanted to, we think so. A graduate internship provided real insights into working life, helping us to decide what we liked and what we weren’t so keen on. 

After graduating in 2016, we applied for an internship at local energy broker, Torse Ltd.  They teamed us up together and set us to task on a project focused on the upcoming water deregulation. Water deregulation? Starting this April, businesses will be able to choose who their water retailer is. Torse help companies to find the best price and package. This will be a vast to change to a service we all use, so the prospect was really exciting.

We were given a lot of responsibility. At first this was daunting, but also very motivating. This was a real opportunity to make a large difference to the company. So, what can you expect on a graduate internship and what are our recommendations to you?

Take advantage of the responsibility

As part of the project, we were in charge of running a department. This meant we couldn’t rely on waiting for someone else to tell us what to do next. We also got to be as ambitious as we wanted –although we had to take budget into account. For example, with the help of a graphic designer, we published various information leaflets and banners, which were sent out to clients advertising Torse’s services.

Think outside the box

We were often tasked to come up with the most cost effective approach to our ideas. Advertising can be a big drain on budgets, so we managed to negotiate a published post in Water Report without paying a fee. To do this, we thought creatively about what  might be useful to Water Report. They wanted to demystify water regulation and we had the knowledge to do that. They published our work as a news article instead of as an advertisement, thus waiving the fee.

Push yourself outside your comfort zone

Neither of us had participated in many meetings before the internship, yet before long we were running them! We also attended the UK’s first Water Event in Birmingham, which gave us the opportunity to build relationships with retailers. Since we represented the company, we had to learn fast how to conduct ourselves professionally.

A graduate internship might not be temporary

Do you feel put off by an internship because you want the security of a permanent job straight away? It’s worth bearing in mind that lots of graduate internships can lead to full time jobs. Our internship did. Torse asked us to stay on and continue our work in the water department.

Most of what you learn is on the job

At university you’re often given a lot of notice to prepare for tasks in advance. At work, there are a lot of unexpected obstacles that you have to learn quickly how to overcome. For example, we’ve had to deal with unpredictable customer enquiries and having to run meetings at very short notice. This was a bit overwhelming at first, but with practice, we can assure your confidence will grow.

Think a graduate internship might be the route for you? Find lots of vacancies on My Career or for local opportunities, keep your eyes peeled for the Nottingham Internship Scheme summer vacancies that will be available to view from  17 March.

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