If All You Do Is Learn From Your Internship, You've Completely Missed the Point

Issue 12-04-17   |   Reviewer:   Bob Cohen, MBA


Traditionally, the expectation that most college students have about their internship is that they will learn something useful and important to advance their career. According to Gary Vaynerchuk, who contributed the article, "If all you do is learn from your internship, you've completely missed the point (Business Insider, Nov. 23, 2017)," that's both unrealistic and a complete waste of time.

While interns continuously complain about what they are not being taught, Vaynerchuk writes in this article that you can use this time to develop probably the most important work product of your internship: relationships. To accomplish this goal, you will need to do things that probably never occurred to you, but which are vital to getting the most valuable outcome of an internship, he writes in the article.

Some people call it "schmoozing," but if you are not up to putting yourself out there, you will be very disappointed about what you get out of your internship, Vaynerchuk writes in the article. He puts it this way: "If you're a wallflower, don't even do internships. But if you are an intern, please understand, it is the human connections that you're going to make."

Now, this may be surprising to some who held the belief that internships are learning experiences. The only issue, though, is where you focus your learning lens, according to this article. "Way too many people roll in to their first job and think they're going to learn something about advertising or marketing or media or startups," writes Vaynerchuk in the article.

If your strategy and goal is to "network" and "connect," here is what you actually need to do, advises Vaynerchuk: Go to every after-hours event; say hello to everybody; if it isn't there, create an atmosphere of congeniality; use social media to find out everything you can about the people in your office; and leverage that knowledge to connect with your co-workers.

Down the road, you will find that even the most routine experiences set the stage for potentially greater things. Vaynerchuk writes in the article. He writes: "I promise you that the person you got coffee with, the one you rode the elevator up with, the lunch buddy you were paired with on the first day can help. It's crazy how that 3 minutes of your time can make the difference."

It's the people you make connections with who will matter, not the manager who picks at your grammar or Microsoft Excel skills; it's the four people who like that you're networking, or you're hustling, or you're showing A-Type characteristics who are going to matter, according to this article.

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