How to Get the Most Out of Your Internship

Written By: Victoria Goudreau

This summer
I had the incredible opportunity to intern at Merchants Fleet. I was part of their new rotational internship program where interns can select multiple departments, they have interest in and then work in each department for about a month. I was not only able to help each department execute projects, but I was able to join in on meetings, shadow different positions within that department, network, learn business terminology, and gain fleet experience & knowledge. Here are my takeaways from my internship experience, and my advice to any future interns.

Be Curious

Have genuine intellectual curiosity, take initiative, and offer ideas/thoughts. According to Dr. John D. Skare, intellectual curiosity is a term used to describe “one’s desire to invest time and energy into learning more about a person, place, thing or concept.” It is important, as an intern, to have intellectual curiosity. It stimulates your thinking and motivates you to research and ask thought provoking questions. It is a willingness to study, observe, and consider. By doing this you not only help your understanding in many areas of the fleet industry, but you could provoke others’ curiosity, which could turn into an innovative thought for the company.

Be an Initiator – Take the Time to Start a Conversation

I strongly encourage any interns to take initiative in introducing yourself and making connections with people outside of your area. Whether it is knowledge, advice, or even your next project you can always gain something from a conversation. You are a fresh set of eyes and ears. Take the time to reach out, offer help, do additional research, or even offer a suggestion, thought, or idea. At Merchants this is strongly encouraged. They INNOV8 and think outside the box because it’s a part of who they are as a company. The more you take initiative, the more knowledge you will absorb, and you will be a part of more projects that have the possibility of leading to more opportunity. Embrace this and be flexible in your day to day.

Be Proactive

Merchants was able to offer me numerous projects of varying priority and sort. Typically, I had a couple meetings that I was scheduled to go to and desk time to work on my projects. Yet, I would often take time to go over to members of the team and observe what they do, ask questions, and try to listen for things they may need help with. Through being proactive and starting a conversation I was able to take on fantastic projects that wouldn’t have originally been on my to-do list, and I even built connections with people I might not have connected with. In fact, by doing just that I was given a great project that led to even more projects and opportunity. I was asked to develop an internal promotional video. This project not only enabled me to deepen my skills in video creation and editing, but it led to me creating more videos of varying content for several departments. These videos not only gave me some exposure to the company, but they led me to being able to work very closely with a director of another department. Through this connection I was able to assist her in creating events, workshops, and much more.

Be a Sponge – Continue to Absorb Knowledge

Each department at Merchants is very different from the other, but by being immersed throughout the many departments, I was able see how each intertwined with the other in order to function. In each department I was able to learn different knowledge and use different systems. For example, in Human Resources I was able to work within UltiPro, a human resources and payroll management software, and in Marketing I was able to work in Salesforce, a customer relationship management (CRM) program many in the business world use. I was also able to further develop my skills in areas where I already had some experience.

Be a Part of Something Great

This may sound too good to be true, but I enjoyed everything about my internship. Personally, I truly believe that an internship is what you make of it. There is so much to be discovered and learned here at Merchants Fleet. Everything I have learned throughout this process has been beneficial and valuable to my future. Everything I had the opportunity to take part in was meaningful and presented an opportunity to grow and learn. Everyone within the company that I interacted with was very encouraging and was always willing to guide me. The amazing people who work at Merchants Fleet truly care. Their dedication to their co-workers and their work is something worth mentioning. There are many reasons to consider interning at Merchants Fleet, but the one that stands out to me is being able to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

Victoria Goudreau served as a summer intern through the new business rotational internship at Merchants Fleet. She joined in May of 2019 and served in multiple areas of the business. Victoria is a second-year student at Southern New Hampshire University studying Business Administration with a concentration in Organizational Leadership. She is currently a Presidential Ambassador, Resident Assistant, Executive Board member & Publicity Chair for C.A.P.E, and a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Signature Leadership Program.

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