The first step to a successful summer internship? Tackling the recruitment process. In a market where candidates hold the cards and company information is easily accessible, the job search can feel daunting—making it that much more important to start your job search by identifying what you are hoping to gain from your internship experience. Once you’ve narrowed in your needs as an intern, you can focus on finding a company that fulfills those needs.
A common theme among the former interns we surveyed was the value they put on doing challenging work and gaining real-world experience when determining their internship and evaluating a potential full-time employer.
I was looking for an internship that could give me hands on, relevant, technical experience. I wanted to learn from experts on not only how they developed digital products, but also how they interact and collaborate with clients.
It was important that my summer internship provided exposure to real project-related work. At West Monroe, I was treated like a full-time Consultant on my project from Day 1. I was involved in every meeting, assigned actual tasks and deliverables that were important for the project, and even traveled onsite with my team to engage with my client in-person. This unfiltered experience made me much more confident in my decision to return full-time.
The foundation of a career for many begins with a summer internship—and it’s the employers’ responsibility to help provide the framework for mentorship, training, and professional development throughout the duration of the program.
My internship at West Monroe set a foundation for my career that can best be described using one of West Monroe's core values: nimble. I learned right away that being coachable and able to adapt are two of the most valuable skills you can have in the professional world, and the environment at West Monroe made it possible for me to acquire those skills early on.
Interns also want to feel connected to the culture and values of a company—especially if the opportunity to exists to one day become a full-time employee.
The West Monroe internship is one that has continued to pay dividends through my career; I continue to develop on knowledge gained throughout that foundational summer. Specifically, many of the West Monroe values that were emphasized through the internship like people-first, fun, and practical innovation, enabled me to expand my comfort zone in a trusted environment, providing me the skillset and knowledge to continue growing within my career.
The experience gained during a summer internship can provide helpful insight into what returning for a full-time role at the company might look like. While the internship is an opportunity for your employer to evaluate you for a full-time offer, it also provides a trial period for the intern to determine if this is the career path they are interested in pursuing.
My day as an intern mimicked the days of a first-year consultant, allowing me to understand the day-to-day work experience of consulting. Overall, West Monroe’s approach of ensuring interns have the same experiences as first-year consultants gave me confidence that consulting was the right career for me.
I knew that this amount of support extends beyond the internship and into the full-time role. I wanted to be in a role where I could lean on that support when I needed to, and this ultimately helped me make the decision to return.
Whether your internship is an experience that solidifies your interest in your industry or has you rethinking your career path, the lessons learned will stick with you as your career grows with time—and can also be used to mentor future interns.
As I move further into my career, I learn more every day how important it is to continue to be curious and absorb information. This is something I tried to focus on as an intern, and I now encourage new hires and interns to come to me with any question they may have.
When working with junior team members, I try to put myself in their shoes and offer the support that I would have needed if I was an intern. I try to prioritize the time that’s needed to give them the support they need to make that transition smoother.
A key to a lasting impact on your career trajectory? Begin by researching a company’s internship program to better understand their employer value proposition and the skills and experience you’ll gain.
Whether or not you convert to a full-time employee—or decide the company is not a long-term fit—the experience you gain can lay the groundwork for a successful career.
If you are interested in joining a high growth digital services firm and kickstarting your career with West Monroe, check out our career page. We’d be lucky to have you!