As a member of a CI Global Explorer Program you’ll have the opportunity to attend a number of career-focused, employability enhancing seminars alongside your internship. This series of blog posts aims to give you an insight into those workshops.

Seminars are the same across all host locations although the order of events and guest speakers may vary.

You’re likely to be enrolled on a CI program for several reasons. These may include enhancing your resume, making new friends, building your business network or exploring a new city. Almost all of you will agree that you’re here to further your careers.

To enhance this experience and ensure you leave us a more well-rounded, intelligent, employable individual, we have created a curriculum aimed at supplementing your internship and guiding you through your eight week-program. The syllabus is split into two categories:

  1. The Career Navigator Series (CNS), whose purpose is to empower you take your first few career steps, and those that follow, with agility and confidence.

  2. The Future Leaders Series, which provides a platform for you to distinguish yourself from the inexperienced and unproven graduate masses, take your education from the classroom to the boardroom and add compelling evidence to your resume.

In the following eight weeks, I will summarize CI’s program events in New York for you and will outline what you can take away from them. Below, you can find a table of contents with a short description of each event. Click on the link to jump to the relevant blog post.

FLS Unit 1: People & Productivity: Apply motivational theory, to find out what drives you
FLS Unit 2: Company Analysis: Describe your company’s mission
FLS Unit 3: Market Analysis: Calculate the size of your company’s market
FLS Unit 4: Money Matters I: Create a balance sheet of your personal income and expenses
FLS Unit 5: Money Matters II: Discuss bonds and equities to get an insight into financial markets
FLS Unit 6: Career Planning: Taking what you’ve learnt about yourself, define your career goals
FLS Unit 7: Final Project Drop-in: Bring all of your work together for an end-of-program presentation

CNS Unit 1: Business Psychology I: Sports Psychologist Jen Croneberger inspires us to desire more
CNS Unit 2: Business Psychology II: Jen Croneberger explains her take on Courage and Confidence
CNS Unit 3: Acing the Interview: In pairs, we conduct mock interviews to practice for real life
CNS Unit 4: Graduate Panel Q&A: Former CI interns share their stories with you
CNS Unit 5: Executive Panel Q&A: Experienced professionals give an insight into the corporate world
CNS Unit 6: CV Surgery: We take you through the basics of what makes a great CV and see where yours can be improved
CNS Unit 7: CV Drop-in: A one-on-one session designed to make your resume the best it can be
CNS Unit 8: Host Company Mixer: Invite your supervisors to say thank you for the last eight weeks


According to Mckinsey & Company, as many as 50% of employers think that young jobseekers don’t have the required skills to succeed in the workplace. As a matter of fact, we are witnessing a situation that McKinsey & Company calls the twin crises of the millennial generation: a shortage of jobs alongside a shortage of skills, a conundrum that results, among other things, in high youth unemployment.


The first Future Leaders Series event is simply called ‘People and Productivity’. If I had to summarize the event in one phrase, I would pose a question: What drives you? To answer this, we applied David McClelland’s Motivational Theory, also known as the Three Needs Theory. McClelland came up with it in 1961 and published the theory in his book “The Achieving Society”. His standpoint is that every person has one dominant need that defines your behavior in the workplace. Here are the three possible needs explained:


People with achievement as their dominant need are uncomfortable until a task is finished. They set high goals to challenge themselves and work hard to achieve them. For this, they will need regular feedback. They can either work by themselves or in a team.


People driven by affiliation are very focused on the social side of business. They will prioritize good relationships over their own appraisal and they prefer consensus over contention. People who have a high need for affiliation love to work in teams and prefer to be praised in private rather than in public.


Power players like to control and influence others. There are two types of people driven by power: institutional and personal. Institutional-power types like to motivate others in order to further the interests of everyone, power-personal types like to control others for their own interests. What both groups have in common is their enjoyment of competition and winning, plus upholding a high status and being publicly recognized.


As you might have noticed, these types differ greatly from each other and many people have a few traits that could fit into several categories. However, after taking our survey, all of our interns were able to draw a graph that clearly showed them which type they belong to. There was one group bigger than the rest: Achievement. “That’s perfectly normal. Most graduates start out as an achievement type and the longer they are part of the workforce, their score may gradually start shifting to either affiliation or power”, says Misha, our local seminar coach and part of the CI Student Experience Team.


In 2002, Adrian M. Harrell published a paper correlating McClelland’s Motivational Theory with work performance of CPA professionals. His findings help us understand why some people are very satisfied in a position that others dislike. For example, Harrell found that for partners and managers at the firm, a high need for affiliation had a negative effect on their job satisfaction. Junior-level audit specialists who participated tended to have a high need for achievement in context with long hours devoted to work. This suggests that people in positions of power are more satisfied with their position if they leave their need for affiliation at the door. Entry-level employees are focused on achievement and haven’t found themselves in either the power group or the affiliation group yet.


Once you have found your dominant need, you can start applying it in the business world. Look around you and see what drives your colleagues and how you can influence their needs for the good of the business.

For example, you might want to praise a colleague with a high need for Achievement in front of everybody else to let them know what a great job they’re doing. If they are an Affiliation type, however, aim at doing this in private or they might be embarrassed.


“Character means picking up trash even if it’s not yours”, says Jen Croneberger, Business Coach, Tedx speaker and President of JLynne Consulting Group, LLC. We invited Jen to speak at our first Career Navigator Series event here in New York, also known as Business Psychology I. Jen’s insights into business psychology are simple, yet effective and she has been imparting wisdom on our interns for several years.

Jen Croneberger has been interviewed by Channel 6 Action News several times and published her first book in 2012, “These five words are mine”. She has a Master’s degree in Sports Psychology and has consulted professional athletes. Furthermore, she appeared as a speaker at Tedx talks in 2013 and 2014 on several occasions. Jen has been an inspirational speaker for years. Besides having been recruited to speak for major companies like Macy’s and Century21, Jen also served as a coach for MTV’s show ‘MADE’ in 2007. She spoke at both Business Psychology sessions for CI in New York.


Jen Croneberger developed a concept called the ‘5 C’s of Leadership: Effectiveness from the inside out’. The title says it all: You need to get to know yourself from the inside, before you can become an effective leader. In the first of her two-part series, Jen focused on Character, Communication and Choice.


The first C is character. “Character is who you are when nobody’s watching you and when everybody’s watching you”, says Croneberger. She also invites our interns to ask themselves: Who am I? And more importantly, what am I? The most important lesson of this question: Don’t answer with your name or your occupation. Truly think about what you really are and find a clear answer. This will help you with finding your identity in a business world.


Jen’s second C is communication. The way we communicate with each other vastly defines the result of our work. The Tedx speaker demonstrated this by letting one of our interns sit at a table, facing the wall, paper and pencil in front of her. Another one was given the task of telling her what to draw. However, she was only allowed to let her know which direction she could take with the pencil, there was no other information given. In the end, we found out what should have been drawn: a simple heart. The drawing on the paper didn’t resemble this in the tiniest bit. “What do we learn from this?”, Jen asked. We all started listing the elements of communication that had been missing during this encounter, such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and obviously the connotation of a heart shape that is in everybody’s mind. But since we have all these elements when talking in person, we take them for granted. This is one of the reasons why so many text messages, e-mails and memos come across in a different way than anticipated by the sender.


Lastly, Jen Croneberger talks about choice, her third C. There are things within our control, while some are out of our reach. But it is our choice how we handle them. When Jen went to check out at a grocery store one day, the woman in front of her dropped her bag and spilled her possessions all over the floor. As Jen kneeled down to help the woman pick up her belongings, said woman let out a deep sigh and said: “It’s a Monday.” Jen’s reply? “Yes, yesterday was Sunday, and tomorrow is Tuesday!” Moral of the story: There are no bad days, just bad moments. Don’t let the bad moments define your entire day. Another thing that relates to this is failure. Jen posed this question to us: Is failure good or bad? Her take on ‘failure’ is this: “When I walk, and I fall, I am five feet and eleven inches closer to where I want to be.”


As I watched everybody leaving the conference room, I could see the effects of Jen’s talk in many faces. She provokes thinking. Define yourself first to be able to make a mark in this competitive business world and don’t be afraid to fail once in a while. It will only take you closer to where you want to be.


It’s the return of Jen Croneberger, our inspirational speaker for Business Psychology II. In Week Two of our New York program, Jen outlined her first 3 C’s of Leadership, leaving the 2 remaining ones for this week. As a small recap, the first 3 were Character, Communication and Choice. This week, we will continue with Courage and Confidence.


We started out the night with Croneberger’s fourth C of Leadership, Courage. Jen’s interpretation of courage relates to being vulnerable. Courage means being brave enough to admit your fears and to actually tackle them on a daily basis, says Croneberger. She asks our interns to name one thing that scares them right now. One intern raises her hand: “Conflict”, she says, “I try to avoid it”. The business coach has a clear response to that. “Bring courage to every conflict”, says Jen. By shying away from confrontation, you might end up blowing a small issue out of proportion, hence turning it into a real problem. Instead, be courageous enough to address an issue in a clear, concise way. But Jen Croneberger has yet another message: Enter every room with your best self. This is Jen Croneberger’s L.I.G.H.T. principle. Love, Integrity, Gratitude, Honor, Truth.


Finally, Jen’s 5th C is Confidence. She introduces it with a saying. “If the why is strong enough, the how doesn’t matter”. This powerful statement can be applied to professional life as well as your personal life. Jen’s example regards her running career. The Sports Psychologist has a bucket list with 127 bullet points. One of them: Run a 5K. “I have no idea why I wrote that on there, I used to be a girl who couldn’t run a single mile”, she said. But she did run that 5K and proceeded to finish more than 60 more races, including a half marathon, to this day. If the WHY is strong enough, the HOW doesn’t matter. Be confident in yourself and don’t be afraid to showcase your confidence to others. Lastly, Jen gave her listeners one minute to write down their strengths on a sheet of paper, a rather simple task. However, it turned out to be harder than anticipated, because we tend to focus much more on our weaknesses than on our strengths. One of Croneberger’s clients, a professional athlete, once asked her for advice on how to motivate himself before every game. She made him do the same thing, writing down his strengths. This sheet of paper is now laminated and he looks at it before every game.


Tackle your problems head-on and work on improving the situation. Confront people when you’d like to tackle an issue. Bring everything you have to the table, especially in professional settings. Be confident in yourself and make yourself truly aware of all your strengths, every single day.


On Thursday in Week Three, we hosted two Future Leaders Series seminars back-to-back: Company Analysis and Market Analysis.


As an intern, analyzing your company and the market they find themselves in is crucial to your performance in the workplace. But what does it entail? It’s very simple.

Josh, CI’s Head of Admissions and local coach for this seminar, asked our interns to jot down the hard facts about their company, including the number of employees and their geographical reach. After that, our interns were asked to write down one sentence about their company’s mission, following a certain structure.


For a magazine, this could be, “my company provides informative articles to a wide audience and makes money by selling ad space to prospective clients.”

This simple description helps you as an intern to understand your company’s bigger goals.

As I outline in my post ‘Making a lasting impression’, looking at the bigger picture will help you understand why you are given the tasks that you’re working on right now, even if they aren’t shiny and polished, but seem rather bland and trivial.

Every business must make money to be able to pay its employees, but if you’re just a small fish in the pond, it is easy to forget looking at the bigger picture. Depending on the size of your host company, there are so many ties that connect each step to the next one.


Next, we asked interns to calculate the size of their company’s potential market. For this, you need three numbers; the number of potential clients, the number of transactions those clients make to your company annually and the size of each transaction.

By multiplying these three numbers, you have a rough estimate of the market size your company is ready to hit or is already taking their fair share of.

As a follow-up, we asked our audience to evaluate how successfully their companies make use of their respective markets. Even though this task seems like juggling around a lot of numbers, it has a direct effect on each move that is made within your company and how they reach out to their clients.
Getting a grasp of their success makes it easier for you to understand their goals and how and why they’d like to attain them.


Next, our interns had a go at SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) that a company faces everyday.

Strengths and Weaknesses are considered internal, meaning that they exist within the company. An example for a strength could be a strong client base: A weakness could be a small team.

A SWOT Analysis looks like a fourfold table, connecting strengths and weaknesses to opportunities and threats. Opportunities and Threats come from the outside, they are factors that influence a company’s success from within their market or other markets. They are often related to a firm’s competitors.

In the table, there are several elements to think about: What are your company’s weaknesses that could turn into opportunities? A small team as a weakness means that a company has been expanding and hasn’t hired more employees yet.

This is a clear opportunity for hiring. Which of its strengths that are likely to become threats? A common strength-turned-threat is a company that is so established that it becomes stuck in their ways and will likely be overshadowed by a dynamic start-up that isn’t afraid to make rapid changes to their business model and marketing strategies.


Towards the end of Thursday’s event, Local Coach Josh invited the audience to keep on thinking about the Company and Market Analysis.

“You should do this kind of analysis for every company that invites you to interview”, Josh advised interns. When your interviewer asks you about your knowledge of the company, they will be beyond impressed when you present your analysis of the business and their market environment. Nevertheless, a SWOT analysis can be conducted for any company at any point of time. Especially as an intern, it is important to bring your wider understanding of business opportunities and marketing strategies to your superiors’ attention.


Analyzing your company and the market they operate in will help you understand the bigger picture. Each employee contributes to a company’s success every day, and you as an intern are no exception to that. Also consider conducting a SWOT analysis for every company that invites you to interview.


Thursday in week 4 brought mock interviews. Being invited to an interview means that your CV has already made a lasting impression on the recruiter or HR manager. Now it’s time to build on that with your communication skills in person. Edith Cooper, HR Chief for Goldman Sachs, calls this “bringing your resume to life”.


The most commonly asked interview question in the world is ‘tell me about yourself’.

Even though it sounds rather simple, this question can be intimidating. Your answer could range anywhere from stating your college degree and aspirations to telling your interviewer about the latest concert you’ve been to and leisure activities. It is important to truly prepare yourself for this question.

“The best way to answer this question is in a past-present-future format”, said Josh, General Manager and local coach for ‘Acing the Interview’.

This means that you can prepare an elevator pitch with the following content.

Your past is your college degree and any relevant job experiences, your present is what you’re doing right now and your future are your aspirations, the goals you would like to attain within the next five years.

By sticking to this format, you’ll be able to give a clear, concise answer and avoid stuttering or rambling about irrelevant topics.

Especially with your past experience, make your message as clear as possible. According to Cooper, this will demonstrate that you have the skills, judgment and drive to the job.


The classic questions about your greatest strengths and weaknesses have been asked and replied to so many times that it is hard to find an original answer by now.

Naturally, it is way easier to outline your strengths, since you’ve been preparing for that. Analyzing your own greatest weakness is a different story.

It would be counterproductive to reply with something along the lines of: “I’m too much of a perfectionist”, or “I work too hard”. Instead, try to really identify your own weakness, but also describe to your interviewer how you’re planning to overcome it.

For example, if your greatest weakness is not avoiding attention to detail, talk about how you’ve started to double-check every task that you’ve been given and that you’re more aware of the importance of details.

Your interviewer knows that you are a human and nobody’s perfect, so it’s okay – and could maybe even work in your favor - if you have a certain weakness that you’re working to overcome.


Next, we conducted mock interviews to practice for the real-life scenario.

To add an extra ounce of pressure, we put two chairs in the middle of the room and formed a circle around them with the rest of the chairs.

Our interviewer was Zakhir, intern in Banking and Finance, our interviewee Mike, both interns in Technology and Engineering here in New York City. The set-up: Mike was invited to interview for a Programmer’s position, Zakhir impersonated an HR manager at the company.

When asked about his strengths, our interviewee started to get nervous: “I’m good with computers”, was his answer.

After the interview, we evaluated. “It is always best to make your answer as specific as possible. If you’d like to work as a programmer, being good with computers is a given. State your exact programming skills and the work experience you have in this industry so far”, said Josh.

Afterwards, we called Nadia and Katie to the stage; both intern at the same marketing company here in New York. To demonstrate how different an interview can go if you’re truly prepared, Katie pretended to interview for her current host company.

When asked what she knows about the company, her answer was clear, detailed and truly showed how informed she is about her company’s goals and place in the market.

Overall, their interview had great flow and it was obvious that both have a great passion for their industry.


Every interview is different. You might be asked out to lunch by your potential employer or they will conduct a group interview, where you’ll end up sitting in a conference room with 10 more interviewees, all of you trying to make a good impression.

No matter the situation, there are a few proven tips you can always stick to.

  1. Make sure to print out your resume five times. You never know how many people might interview you and it can come across as unprepared if you only show up with one copy of your CV, resulting in your interviewers having to hand it around to get a glance at it.

  2. Dress to impress. Even though it depends on the kind of position you’re interviewing for, you’ll almost never be overdressed. Even if your interviewer is dressed super casual, dressing in business attire will show the effort you’ve made for this interview.

  3. Don’t let tough questions throw you off. Unfortunately, not all interviews are a walk in the park. Sometimes, you’ll be asked tough questions for the sole purpose of testing your reaction to a stressful situation. This is the time to shine. If you need a moment to think about it, say so, but try not to show that you’re a nervous wreck by now.

  4. Actively ask questions. An interview is never a one-way street, it is always a way for you to get to know the company and the people you might be working with in the future. Furthermore, asking targeted questions proves that you’ve done your research beforehand and you’ve been listening to every word your interviewer said. Hence, you’re truly passionate about landing a position with them.

  5. After the interview, make sure to follow-up with a thank-you e-mail. If your interviewer is on LinkedIn, connect with them there as well. By reaching out to your interviewer after meeting with them, you are already setting yourself apart from a number of people who haven’t done so. These little things might determine if you’ll get the position or not.


Be prepared, be confident and show your passion for the company. Prepare an elevator pitch that you can use to answer open-end questions. Dress accordingly, bring several copies of your resume and ask targeted questions. Do show that you aren’t perfect, but demonstrate your willingness to work on any weaknesses you might have. Bring your SWOT analysis for extra bonus points. Follow up after the interview to say thank you. Happy Interviewing!


On Tuesday in Week Five, it was time for one of our most anticipated seminars: the Graduate Q&A Panel, featuring young professionals who have already managed to make a name for themselves in their respective companies. Three of four panelists are CI alumni.

This was the chance to learn from them, find out how they secured their positions and how they navigated the early steps in their careers. In this post, I will outline the key lessons our graduates gave our interns.


Veronika Kelemen is an Account Executive at Wunderman and works mainly on the USTA account. However, her experience also includes the accounts of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Starbucks and Vodafone. She liaises between clients and creative teams to deliver TV, print and digital advertising strategies.

Jessica McBride is a Digital Media Coordinator at The Durst Organization. She manages social media profiles and SEO campaigns, using comparative analytics to refine our digital practices over time.

Mihir Deshpande is an Analyst for a Venture Capital and Private Equity firm. His company specializes in assessing startups, evaluating their worth and recommending investments.

Sebastian Tanner is an Event Director at TechDay HQ, a company specializing in events for start-ups. Until today, TechDay HQ has hosted over 50,000 people at their events in New York, Los Angeles and London. Sebastian heads up strategic partnerships with universities, consulates, investors and influencers.


Right out of the gate, Joanna, currently interning at a Marketing Company here in New York, asked one of the most burning questions of anyone who is trying to enter the job market: “How did you make the jump from being an intern to securing a full-time position?” Jessica answered the question simply, with one of her most important tips: “Make sure everybody knows your face and your name. When I interned, I started talking to people in all different departments to see where my career could take me. Networking is key.”

What she meant by that: Don’t let your current status as an intern fool you into thinking you won’t be noticed. Instead, put yourself out there, introduce yourself to influential people inside and outside your company and make a good impression with all of them.

However, Jessica also remembers the daily struggle of being an intern: “When I first started, it was me and three other interns, of course I was intimidated”, she said.

The lesson to learn from this is not to be thrown off by competition. Instead, make use of it by demonstrating your skills as a team player or standing out with your continued effort.


Next, our panelists described their struggles when they started dipping their toes into the water on the job market. All of them had to work their way through menial tasks before. Jessica is very familiar with that situation: “During my internship, I remember how some of us were doing really exciting stuff, while others were sitting in front of a computer all day, punching in boring data. And I could slowly observe the second group of interns throwing in the towel one by one”.

Her lesson: Don’t give up! Just because you aren’t being given the most exciting assignments right now, doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future. Work your way through them and prepare to shine when more exciting tasks are thrown your way.

Also try looking at it from your supervisor’s eyes: They might want to test you with a simple task, to see how well you’re doing on it. If you succeed, you’ll be given more responsibility at a later date. If you slack and don’t give 100%, your supervisor might think you don’t have what it takes to complete more demanding projects.

Sebastian gave our interns hope: “It’s about being engaged. If you’re not doing something you love right now, try reaching out to other departments. There might be someone in marketing who can assign more meaningful tasks to you”, he told our interns.


Lexi, also interning in New York, came forward with this question: “Has one of you ever considered taking time off to go travelling?” Veronika, who is American, but attended a university in the UK, sees it this way: “I feel like here in America, there is a lot of pressure to start working right after college, but not everybody works on that timeline and that’s fine.”

Her message is to listen to yourself and not putting too much pressure on yourself. On the other hand, Veronika advised our interns not to turn down a great job opportunity just because it might not feel like the right timing.

After a 60-minute panel, we wrapped things up and moved to the networking section of the evening, enabling interns get to know panelists better in a more relaxed environment. Joanna’s networking led to four connections in marketing from the Graduate Panel; three in London, one in New York.


If you feel like you’re not engaged enough at your internship, don’t hesitate to reach out to other departments to see if they have more tasks for you.

Make connections with as many people as possible. Realize that you sometimes have to work your way through menial tasks to be able to climb the career ladder.