Internships are something every college student thinks about as a way for them to get a job right after college. Getting hands on experience in an industry is deemed as one of the best ways to showcase why you’re the best. Even if you’re working for free.
That’s the way I saw internships when I was a freshman. I wanted to make my mark and have as many people know me as possible so I would have a better chance at becoming a full time employee after graduation. But I also wanted to stick my hands in as many cookie jars as humanly possible so I could learn from as many different supervisors as possible in as many different industries as possible.
My plan worked until last summer. Prior to 2012 I had 4 internships ranging from a blogging internship at a fashion/beauty online magazine to a marketing internship for Newark Beth Israel Hospital to a communications/marketing internship for an online sports memorabilia store. Everything changed when I got my internship at The Madison Square Garden Company. Telling people I was a summer associate at MSG, albeit in sales, was a dream come true and I was going to hold onto that for as long as possible…which is why I decided to come back.
Even though MSG was, and still is, my dream company to work for, I had a hard decision to make because I did want to spend my final summer as an undergraduate intern doing something different. And a lot of people recommend not interning at the same company twice but here’s why I think that’s wrong.
- Don’t Settle
This is something my boss told me from day 1 and it’s something I’m never going to forget. As soon as I put my stuff down at my desk this summer I sat down with my boss to discuss my new goals for this summer. I loved working at MSG last year and learned a lot about sales and marketing but I wanted more. If you choose to intern at the same place more than once make that clear. Learn as much as possible and don’t do the same tasks as the previous year. Do more.
- More Experience = More Responsibility
Another perk that comes with returning to a pervious internship is you know the lay of the land. My position requires a lot of data input and updating spreadsheets and pulling reports from different systems. Because I was here a year ago I only needed a quick refresher on how to do all of that. If I was just starting out it would have taken about a week, maybe more, to learn everything. This meant I was given bigger projects faster because I knew what I was doing.
- You Know The Players
In my opinion this is the most important part about returning to a company. Depending on how long you go between internships, people might have left or been fired but regardless some people will still be working with you that you already know. For me, 95% of the people I worked with last year were here this year. And the cherry on top was a lot of them remembered me. Knowing people is great but the most important thing, regardless of if you plan on returning or not, is making sure they know who you are. I walked in on day 1 and people were welcoming me back and saying how great it was to see me interning here again. This also relates to point #2 because some of the people from last year got promoted and they have asked me to help them with projects they’re working on because they know what I can accomplish.
A lot of people have asked me why I decided to intern at MSG again doing the same thing as last year. I respond with a smile and tell them it’s because I don’t plan on doing the same things as last year. Sure, there still are some day to day things that I find myself doing that I did a year ago but I’m now working with the Senior Vice President on a few big projects for the President of the company on top of that.
Even though there are a lot of benefits to having a variety of internships so you can have different experiences, whatever you do, make sure it feels right. MSG felt like home to me because I had a background working with the company, had new goals I wanted to accomplish my second time here and I knew who I was dealing with. So that’s why I came back.
-Written by: Nikki Kirschner