Internship of All Internships

It all started on a rainy day during the middle of football season. A teammate and I walk to a Bryant University student SHRM meeting forgetting who was scheduled to speak with us after a hard practice. We both walk in and in front of us is Tony Pivirotto. As Tony began speaking with the ten SHRM members present at the meeting he discussed the internship program that his company, MSI, offers. My mind quickly thinks of the worst possible internship, filing and sorting important documents alone in a room with no windows, but to my surprise Tony describes an incredibly in depth and educational internship opportunity.

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Tony’s description of the internship sounded perfect to a young HR student. This verbal description eventually, led to my applying for the spring internship position at MSI. As I began working at MSI I realized that there was so much more to this position than what Tony described. As the weeks went on, constant meetings with Tony occur, and my search for a good summer internship begins. While I conduct research on companies, submit my resume, and begin to have interviews with various organizations, I have an epiphany. Every moment working at MSI, has allowed me to gain a basic understanding of the concepts and processes of recruiting and the necessary steps involved in it.

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As I do my research, and ask other Bryant students who have had internships I hear the horror stories about miserable internships. They tell me how they were provided busy work which gave them no real world work experience at all besides a company name to put on a resume. So why is having a good internship important? What is the difference between a good internship and a bad one?

In the various interviews I have been on, I am asked, “What have you been working on at your current internship?” They expect a generic response of, “I have been filing papers and doing data entry.” Little do they know that I have an ace up my sleeve.

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The ace is the foundation that MSI has provided me. I have done research for various searches ranging from manufacturing to HR positions in multiple industries. This provided me the building block and entry point where MSI has begun construction for my future. After I have found qualified candidates, which took multiple tries the first time, I went on to the next step of the process, the cold recruiting calls. For these I utilized databases and other resources to find phone numbers connected to the qualified candidate and then listened to various recruiters pitch the job. This process allowed me to learn the nuances of cold calling and the knowledge of the position I was doing the search for. Gaining more exposure to the skills and experiences, I was allowed to help interview a candidate. In these interviews I broke down current responsibilities and areas of expertise, along with short term and long term career goals, as this was a key step in the candidate selection process. After the interview I was asked my opinion of the candidate and how I believed the interview went. This was an extremely exciting part of the process because as an intern I felt my input actually meant something that you do not usually see in other ordinary internships. Directly correlating with the interview was a formal candidate summary for the client. I was assigned a portion of this candidate summary based on my findings and beliefs of the candidate from the interview. This foundation of knowledge and experiences that MSI allowed me to gain are second to none and when someone interviews me and hears how involved and valued I was as an intern, they are shocked with the important pieces I was assigned.

This to me is where the MSI internship stands out. Tony and everyone has provided me with the foundation to succeed in the work force. They also gave me with real life projects that are important to the organization instead of busy work just to say that I interned with them. They had a trust in me that I would be able to complete this work to the best of my ability and that it will be satisfactory within the high standards of MSI. To have someone trust in you at such an early stage in your career is important to create the level of confidence needed to be successful in any field of study. That’s why having a good internship is important

So the question remains, how can you differentiate a good internship and a bad one? The answer can be pretty simple, good ones, provide an opportunity to gain valuable real world experience, while the bad ones, provide you with the experience of picking papers off of a printer and submitting files into folders for seven hours out of an eight hour day with the eighth hour being lunch. So how can you determine what the internship is like before you are working there? That is more difficult. This is where you have to be prepared by doing your research, and breaking down the job description posted and be willing to ask the right questions before, during, and after your interview with the company. For certain positions filing and sorting is inevitable, it comes with the job, but you do not want to have an internship where that is the majority of your day to day activity.

 

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Try to find internships that discuss relevant aspects of your field of study. For my internship at MSI, Tony brought up terms such as recruiting, candidate summary reports, and maintaining a blog and twitter account. Tony also stressed the importance of utilizing my network, and leaving a legacy to help develop and prepare the future interns at MSI. He strongly suggested I contact Cam Sullivan, a former MSI intern and fellow athlete, to discuss what the internship was really like. Along with utilizing my network, Tony provided me a packet of letters from last semester’s interns and had a current intern, Catherine Campbell, interview me. This detailed process provided me realistic expectations of what MSI’s internship was like.

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This information provided me guidelines and convinced me the standard at MSI was a commitment to excellence. MSI has taught me one of the most valuable lessons possible, never losing the ability to learn. An MSI internship is a stepping stone that propels you to your next chapter in life. So when looking for that internship, ask the tough questions, find out if that internship is the right fit or if they are just fluffing up the description to make it sound good on paper because in reality, it is your knowledge and experiences that will help you in an interview not the company’s name on a resume.

-Andrew Barton

Bryant University Class of 2017

 

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