October 24, 2018, by Susan Lim
Summer internship experience
In this blog, our current year 2 student from the School of Economics has decided to share her internship experience at Nestlé
My internship in Nestlé was a rewarding experience. To be honest, I never expected to get an internship placement there. As a first-year student, I believed I did not have the skills to work in one of the biggest Fast Moving Consumer Goods companies in the world. By chance, I was chosen of hundreds of applicants.
I was offered a position in Human Resource. I was assigned to assist the HR Business Partners in 6 business units of the company – HR, Finance, Supply Chain, IT, Corporate and Legal. At first, I was sceptical as I thought I wouldn’t learn much. Coming from an Economics background, the work that was given to me was different and was not related to my course. However, due to Nestlé’s reputation as a company, I accepted the position. Thus, my goals during the internship were to familiarize myself with the working culture, to learn soft skills as well as communication skills, and to expose myself to an important segment of a company – HR.
In the beginning, I was intimidated by the people around me, even the interns. They all seemed to know what they were doing and they finished their task with precision and speed. Being proactive and warming up to employees were two things I initially struggled with. However, the staff there were welcoming. They encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and helped me when needed. Although there were increasing expectations as I perform better, I was able to keep up with the pressure. This was possible as I was treated like a member of the staff rather than just an intern. The work I get is on the same level as some of the experienced employees. This encouraged me to work hard and improve every day.
At the end of the internship programme, not only did I get a lot of goodies, but I was also able to take away an important lesson – “Play the ball before it plays you”, which means that being proactive in the workplace helps you adapt and learn far more than if one were reactive and wait for the tasks and responsibilities. Developing an awareness of the kind of person you are in a workplace early on is insightful as you will be able to improve yourself before you graduate.
I also realized that an internship is not just a fancy title on your CV, but it’s a setting where you can learn while being supervised by a workplace professional, who help you achieve your own learning goals. You will be able to learn new skills and gain confidence in your ability to accomplish tasks. Moreover, you will possess evidence that you have initiative, are reliable, and possess a sense of responsibility by contributing to an organization.
Nowadays, one of the recurring themes in any entry-level job is the lack of experience. “Where do I get experience if no one is willing to hire me?” The answer is simple: Get an internship! Although you may not end up in a big company immediately, you will be able to learn and gain experience that most fresh graduates will not have. A first-class degree with no practical knowledge and key insights on the industry may not fare well in today’s world. Although the criteria for an internship have been set higher at present, it is not impossible. All you need is perseverance, motivation and hard work as once you make it, you will appreciate the struggle.
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