IN THE SPOTLIGHT: NY INTERNS

Students on the Global Explorer Program Summer 2017 in New York have established a tie to their host companies and worked hard to make a lasting impression.

This series focuses on getting to know a select few of these outstanding interns. Where did they intern, did they enjoy the experience and what did they take away from it?

Look out for additional interviews below this post as we move forward with the program.

Andrew, Development Intern in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: “CI is an investment in your future”

Arta, Finance Intern: “Joining a CI program is the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Shannon, Ohio-born intern in nonprofit: “Transferring my academic skills to the workplace was my favorite part”


SPOTLIGHT ON ANDREW

Andrew is currently a Development Intern at a mobile app start-up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He majors in Computer Science at University of Rochester, NY, and agreed to meet with me for a quick chat about his internship.

Cornelia (C): Andrew, thanks for giving this interview. Let’s start out with an easy question: How do you like your internship so far?

Andrew (A): My internship has been really great. It’s a really good place to work. Everybody’s super nice and helpful, I’ve also been able to do a lot of interesting things there. It’s a long way from a ‘fetching coffee’-internship.

I’m actually doing things. As a Development intern, I’m doing JavaScript Programming for our mobile app and for our website, so I’m programming actual things that are going to be used by the company, which is very rewarding.

C: That’s impressive! Can you give a short description of where you’re interning right now?

A: I’m working at a mobile app start-up, where our goal is to make community volunteering easy and fun. Right now, I’m working on a website portal that organizers then can create an account on and organize their events with us.

C: That sounds super interesting. Could you run me through a typical day at your internship?

A: I start at 10 am. When I come in, I get myself set up and I start writing code. I usually talk to the Development Lead, Aske, about once a day, keeping him in the loop on my progress and getting his feedback. But mostly, I write code, writing down my accomplishments and I put that up for everybody else to see, and then I check off my to-do list as I go.

C: What do you consider your biggest achievement at your internship so far?

A: The project as a whole. In programming, the thing that you end up making is the amalgamation of a ton of tiny little tasks, all coming together. I’ve also done a couple things other than the organizer portal. For example, I wrote the API end point to serve calendar links, so when someone signs up for an event, they can click a link and it’ll add it to their calendar.

C: What are the tasks that you enjoy most?

A: I really like the design aspects. I think that JavaScript can be a really elegant language at times; it works out very nicely. But what I find most interesting are tasks like, “okay, we need some way to keep track of organizer information on the portal, some way to get information from the API server and then keep track of that over on the client side.”

That’s a very open-ended task, so I start by talking to the UI/UX people and ask them about their approach. Then I speak to the Development Lead and ask him what’s going to work well with the code that we already have.

C: That means you talk to Milan (design intern with the same company) about your projects as well?

A: Yeah, every now and then she’ll ask me a question: ‘Is this technologically feasible’, and I normally reply: ‘If there’s a will, there’s a way!’

C: What do you like most about your internship?

A: I really like that I’m given the freedom to pursue tasks how I want to. I’m given direction, but it’s not micromanagement to the point where I can’t make my own decisions. It’s the perfect balance.

C: You’ve already described what you’ve been doing, but how has your internship developed your skills?

A: I’ve gained quite a bit of technical ability. I’m much more confident in JavaScript. I have more experience doing full-stack developments, I’m working in nodejs, which is what we use. I also know quite a bit about React and Redux now, which are frameworks that I used for web development and design. I’ve also got a much greater knowledge of MVC, that’s Model View Control, which is the cornerstone of API design, so I guess that counts too.

C: Let’s talk about the CI program. How has the CI team supported you throughout the entire process?

A: They’ve been super supportive and helpful. You normally talk with so many business people, and in many cases, it cannot be more obvious that these people don’t want to talk to you and don’t care.

It felt like a breath of fresh air talking to a lot of the CI team. I remember thinking, ‘You’re actually willing to answer my questions, this is great.’

Their team has been available pretty much all the time. They also run program events twice a week, which have been super helpful.

C: Do you feel like CI’s events complement to your internship?

A: Definitely. Especially since I’m more of a tech person, there are a lot of business matters that I hadn’t really thought about before. For instance, how managing people works and how to view things in a business sense.

The seminars have helped me to gain a greater sense of perspective on how the work that I do fits into a business as a whole. I’m now aware of the bigger picture.

C: You’ve already said that you’re more confident, but in what way do you feel more secure about achieving your career goals because of being on this program?

A: Having marketable work experience is invaluable. That’s super helpful. I’m also much better at interviewing, I know how to put together a resume and how to impress companies when talking to them. Also, we learnt ways you can stand out to your company, doing analyses that demonstrate that you really understand how that company works.

C: What piece of advice would you give to a student thinking about enrolling onto the program?

A: Normally, when I give advice, I think of pitfalls that you should avoid, but with CI, I can’t think of any major pitfalls at all. [Editor’s note: we think this might be biased, but thanks all the same, Andrew!]

C: Would you recommend the program?

A: I think it's absolutely worth doing, because it’s so much more than just an internship.

There are opportunities to network, you’re meeting peers that are going into similar industries, there are seminars for you to get better at working in a business environment, there’s so much for you there. CI is an investment in your future.

C: What drew you to intern in New York City?

A: It’s the company that drew me here. I didn’t have strong preferences about where exactly I was, so I think it was Misha (Member of CI’s Student Experience Team) who said, ‘I found this company, they’re in New York, are you cool with New York?’ ‘Yes, I’m cool with New York.’ ‘Do you like this company?’ ‘Yes, they seem awesome.’

C: And lastly, what’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

A: I hang out with my friends online, I play Dungeons and Dragons with them over the internet, because I’m a nerd (laughs).

C: Thanks for this interview, Andrew! And good luck with all your future endeavors.


SPOTLIGHT ON ARTA

Arta goes to Queen Mary University of London, where she majors in Business Management. She is interning at a finance company here in New York. I had a quick chat with her to ask her about how everything’s going. Spoiler Alert: She absolutely loves the city and its people.

Cornelia (C): Hi Arta, thanks for meeting with me! So how are you liking your internship so far?

Arta (A): It’s great, it’s really fun! I intern in Finance, which I’m hoping to do in the future. My coworkers teach me what I need to know to take forward to other jobs as well.

C: Can you give me a short description of where you’re interning right now?

A: I’m at a private investment fund. There are two aspects to it: the broker side and the finance side, I’m doing the latter. The brokers are on the phone all day, selling securities to investors. The finance side is analyzing financial statements, using math, and I’m being trained how to do it.

C: That sounds exciting. What are the tasks that you enjoy most?

A: I like everything, there’s nothing I don’t like, if I’m honest.

C: Awesome! Is there one aspect about your overall internship experience you enjoy the most?

A: My supervisor, who is one of the shareholders, is really nice. He goes out of his way a lot to help me out, which I really appreciate.

C: Can you pinpoint your biggest achievement in your internship so far?

A: Yes! I’ve learned how to underwrite deals and close them. That’s what I’ve always wanted to learn, finance and trading intrigues me.

C: Could you describe the culture in your company for me a little bit?

A: My coworkers are the most driven people I’ve ever seen in my life, which is makes for an inspiring work environment. They always have a goal in mind, they’re very motivated and hard-working. I’m impressed by that.

C: What’s the hierarchy in your company like?

A: There is the company owner and two shareholders. Then you’ve got the brokers and their manager and beneath them, the junior brokers, the people who are just starting off.

C: How big is your company?

A: I’d say the office has about 60 people, which is very exciting; there are so many different personalities in the office. Every day is different, there’s no boring day.

C: Do you feel like your internship has helped you develop your skill set?

A: Yes, definitely, I did study Finance in school and I learned certain things. But I wasn’t taught how to use those skills in real life; my internship has given me real-world experience. Putting academic knowledge into practice is really important.

C: That’s very true. Let’s talk about the CI program. Has the CI team been supportive?

A: Yes, they are, they host events twice a week and we’re constantly in touch with the CI team. They’ve also organized socials for us to get to know each other better and the weekend excursion to Lake George in week two was really fun. Overall, the team has been really supportive. If I ever needed anything, I can count on them being there for me.

C: I’m glad to hear that! How do CI’s career seminars contribute to your internship?

A: They motivate you! The seminars that stood out to me were Jen Croneberger’s Business Psychology presentations; they were really good. Jen puts everything into perspective, giving you the extra layer of detail that you don’t get from the workplace, if that makes sense.

C: Because of being on this program, in what way do you feel more secure about achieving your career goals?

A: I definitely feel way more secure. I’ve always had a part-time job, but not in my field. This is my first internship which puts me on the right track. My foot is in the door and my internship has set me on the right path.

C: What piece of advice would you give a student looking to enroll onto the CI program?

A: I would say, just do it! I spent a long amount of time thinking about it, but I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life, as clichéd as that sounds.

I’ve always dreamed of coming to New York. I’ve gained really good experience and amazing friends. Living in New York is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

C: What’s your favorite thing about the city?

A: I’m going to say the people, because they’re much more out there, open and kind. Everybody just talks to you on the street, this doesn’t happen in the UK. Everyone I’ve met has been so energetic and I like that. It makes you feel happy.

C: Is there another reason why you really wanted to come to New York?

A: Watching films and series like Gossip Girl I used to watch (laughs). It’s also the place to be for finance. If you can get work experience here, you’re set.

C: That means you see yourself moving here?

Yes! I just love it so much. I can’t wait to finish university and move out here. The energy, the people, the place. You’re never bored, there are plenty of opportunities. I come from London, where opportunity exists, but there’s no place like here.

C: Thanks for this interview, Arta! I hope we’ll speak again soon.


SPOTLIGHT ON SHANNON

Shannon, a Communications/Public Advocacy Major from Cleveland, Ohio, interns in the Nonprofit sector, at a Human Services Company. We met up at a lively bar in Greenwich Village to chat about her internship and her experiences here in New York.

Cornelia (C): Hi Shannon, happy Friday! Can you give a short description of where you’re interning?

Shannon (S): I’m in the nonprofit sector, the firm focuses on Human Services. It’s a nonprofit that serves other nonprofits, helping with legislation and policy in the New York City area. Human services include Medicaid and reducing the cost of living, basically to help make lives better in the city.

I shadow the policy associates and I’ve been creating publications for them. I also help plan upcoming campaigns, I helped out with preparations for big meetings and they invited me to training.

C: That sounds very diverse. Do you like it?

S: I do. It has taught me a lot about my future career goals and preferences. I want a less traditional and structured environment with work and I would like to go more into the Environmental Industry in the future.

C: Could you run me through a typical day at your internship?

S: I get to the office by 9am, I start with emails in the morning and I have a meeting with a supervisor or with other people in the office to see what upcoming projects and campaigns to talk about and prepare. After lunch, I focus on long-term projects that I’ve been assigned.

C: What are the tasks that you enjoy most?

S: I created publications for upcoming campaigns that my company will launch next February. That was very creative and I started that from scratch, which was really satisfying.

C: Would you say that’s the achievement that you’re most proud of?

S: I would say so. But what I’m proud of in general is applying what I already knew to a different context, which is a policy and nonprofit context, where I didn’t have experience before. Transferring my academic learnings to another sector was the best part of my internship.

C: Taking your whole internship into consideration, is there one factor that you enjoy most?

S: I think what I like most is stepping into an environment that I never had experience with. I got to know the other interns and my supervisor, made connections with them. I really like that I was assigned with a wide range of tasks.

I’ve made phone calls, I attended a training series, I’ve done emails, I’ve written up letters, blogs and publications.

C: Could you describe your company’s culture to me?

S: I would describe the company culture as traditional, but within our team of eight people, it’s relaxed. The wider team is very professional and everything is a traditional work setting.

C: Do you feel like your internship has helped you develop more skills? You already said that you’re in a different environment now, in a slightly different industry.

S: Yeah, I’ve taught myself different programs. That means my internship has taught me more independence and also to ask questions and be curious. I do work more independently now and I take more initiative.

C: Has the CI team supported you throughout the process of getting an internship and whilst being here in New York?

S: The reason I did the CI program was that I don’t have any networking connections here and I wanted to start off in New York. I needed to get my foot in the door and that’s what City Internships has helped out with. Along the way, during the whole program, they’re very communicative, they reach out and they provide different opportunities for all participants.

C: Has there been a favorite seminar?

‘People and Productivity’ in Week One, headed by Misha. We all kind of figured out what we are driven by and what our needs are in a corporate setting. There are people who tend to be driven by a need for power, others have a higher need for affiliation. It made sense and I thought that was an interesting one.

C: That sounds good! Did our seminars contribute to your performance at your internship?

S: They gave me a new perspective, a different lens to look at business-related topics. I’m always trying to find new lenses to look at things, that helped.

Everybody comes from different experiences; members of the CI Team are well-educated and experienced helping out young adults finding internships, training them and guiding them through that. What they taught in those seminars gave me more awareness.

C: Do you feel more secure about achieving your future career goals?

S: Well, I always have an attitude that I just pretend until I don’t have to pretend anymore.

*C: Fake it until you make it! *

S: I’m not completely confident in the direction I’m going, but I’m moving along, so whatever direction it is, I’m cool with it. I do feel like I have more opportunities now and I’ll make use of them!

C: So what next, back to school in the fall?

S: Yes, I have one semester left, but I plan on being here in New York hopefully in January. Or I’ll do the Peace Corps, who knows. Everything’s up in the air right now...

C: What piece of advice would you give someone considering joining the CI program?

S: If CI offers a city which you’ve always wanted to work in and start a life there, professionally, 100 percent do it!

Before I decided to do City Internships, I did apply a lot in New York City and there wasn’t a whole lot of movement. When CI came along, I decided to work with them. If they offer a city that you want, then I say do it.

C: Would you also say that this is what makes New York so special?

There are people who say the city makes you want to work harder. But I’ve also heard that if you don’t work hard, the city will eat you up. I’m definitely going to be the one that works harder, because I don’t want to be eaten (laughs).

New York would be a good start for me, it’s my Number One City. I do have other opportunities, but I’d love to come back to New York and I will make it happen. It’s going to happen.

C: I like your determination. Thanks for meeting with me, Shannon!