Rebecca Lau is a graduate in Macquarie’s Principle Finance Division. Rebecca completed a summer internship in 2017 before joining the 2018 Graduate Program and gave us her tips on getting the most out of an internship.
Internships are often seen as a stepping stone as students transition out of university life, but they are also a great opportunity to solidify your skills, network with industry professionals and take on challenging, new tasks.
Many students undertake a 12-week internship at Macquarie every year and, a large number return as graduates the following year.
Here are my tips on owning your internship and getting the most out of it.
1. Make the most of the opportunity to learn
Internships are great learning experiences. You have the opportunity to try your chosen business group and decide if it’s right for you. Make the most of this opportunity by being present and showing an eagerness to learn.
Ask questions about the work you are doing and don’t be afraid to ask about the work that is beyond your immediate scope. This will give you more insight into the bigger picture as each task, no matter how small, plays a role in the final output.
2. Deliver your best work
This involves taking the time to reflect on assigned tasks and researching them thoroughly, and then completing them to the best of your ability. This will help you stand out as a person who is independent and capable.
If you’ve completed all of your assigned tasks, volunteer for additional work. Being involved in a vast array of projects will give you more opportunities to learn more skills along the way.
3. Love constructive criticism
While the internship is structured in a way that gives you many opportunities to receive feedback at regular checkpoints, it doesn’t hurt to ask for extra feedback outside of the structured times.
After you complete a task or project, it’s helpful to organise a time with the team that allocated you the task to talk about the contribution you have made. Ask them things such as, how did I perform and did my performance align with expectations? Are there any areas I could’ve improved upon?
Doing this will help you find out what you can do better and show that you are always working to improve.
4. Build a network of professional relationships
Internships generally only last a few months, and it’s easy to get busy with work and forget to meet those around you. Everyone at Macquarie has a breadth of experience that they are more than willing to share.
Forming broad relationships within your team and throughout Macquarie can help boost your personal and professional development. The people you meet here could become friends and professional contacts for many years to come. Invite them to coffee. Ask them authentic questions that demonstrate your interest in their experience. Offer to help. This will make the most of your time at Macquarie and help you stand out during your internship.
You can also build your network by joining or attending events that are hosted by some of the employee network groups. This will help you to meet people from all over the organisation.
5. Learn about Macquarie
Use your time during the internship to think about the bigger picture, for example, is Macquarie the right fit for you? Is the business group that you are currently in the right fit for you? The best way to find out is by learning as much as you can about the organisation during your time here.
Internships are a great way to start your career and making the most of it will ensure that you’re setting yourself up for success in the future.