A new feature on the UW-Whitewater Student Internships Blog is the Intern Spotlight. UW-W students are doing great things as interns and have important stories to share. The Intern Spotlight will provide insight into the internships UW-W students and alumni have completed. Featured individuals share their internship stories and provide advice to current and future interns.
Our first featured intern is Michael Van Den Bosch ’08. Michael completed a Research & Program Managment Internship with the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance (WCEDA) from April to December 2008. After his internship, he was hired on as the Director of Business Development for WCEDA.
Describe your internship experience.
I did a great deal of research, analysis and report writing for WCEDA. Some of the research that I did involved searching for new legislation coming out of Madison, WI and Washington, DC and determining the effects it would have on local businesses. I also did a considerable amount of research on grant and business incentive programs through federal and state departments.
Since the organization was only a few years old when I started my internship, I also found myself working on a marketing plan, reviewing and writing business plans for clients, forecasting future staffing and financial needs, and providing the technical expertise for the organization.
What was the greatest benefit of this internship?
The greatest benefit of this internship was the wide range of areas that the internship covered. Since I was able to dabble in management, marketing, operations, finance and IT, I was able to see what areas suit me best and plan my career around them.
What advice would you give to current or future interns on how to be successful in an internship?
Be willing to speak up. The company that I was interning with was fairly young, and they had no idea of the wide range of skills that I possessed as a student. Also, letting them know my limitations gave them a benchmark to measure my success when I exited the program. As students, you study the many different ways companies operate and that type of knowledge coupled with a fresh perspective is valuable to any employer.
Other thoughts or advice?
As an intern, try to learn as much about the company and how it operates as possible. Doing things that are outside your “Job Description” shows them that you are versatile and worth holding onto. Companies generally are not going to spend extra money training someone new to do the same things that you already know to do.