Memoirs of an intern

Aug 2018

10 weeks have come and gone and I’m feeling encouraged, determined and exhausted! Not expecting the last one… don’t let them tell you internships are a doss. I’m 1 of 14 interns working across the Blenheim Chalcot businesses, most of returning to university richer & a little wiser.

From content marketing to infographic making and drafting pitch decks, our experiences have been interesting and varied. Yesterday, as the other interns and I reminisced on the highs and lows during a light afternoon drink, there were 3 key themes across our individual experiences.

1. Personal brand

Personal branding is one of the many…many, many things they don’t teach you at university. Being known in the workplace helps to distinguish you from the crowd, add credibility (hopefully), and potentially bag a coveted promotion. As an intern, nobody knows who you are and if they do it’s the nervous interview pitch they remember. There are no embarrassing Christmas party stories or missed deadlines to turn around. It’s an opportunity to sell the best version of yourself, try new things and build useful relationships. Amongst the interns we had a card magician, an artist, a magazine owner, a luxury cake decorator (me 😊), whiskey connoisseurs and much more. Talking about your passion can be a way of creating conversations outside of work projects, break the ice and get people to like you for you and not what you do (in the least needy way possible). Seeing yourself as ‘one of them’ and not just an intern, also helps too!

2. Question time

As an intern and someone who had no prior experience in technology and technology-based enterprise, I asked a LOT of questions. Doing a task for the first time or the hundredth time in a new way can be daunting. Clearing up the What? Why? When? And How? of a task can save a lot of time and avoid ego-bruising. Nobody wants to waste time on work that doesn’t quite fit the brief. Following up verbal conversations with written briefs was one of the ways, my manager communicated with me and for the most part we were on the same page, or at the least same chapter.  

3. Getting stuck in

Nobody likes a pushy intern, or a lazy intern, butttt the pushier the better. People usually respond favourably to requests for help. Asking to help or get involved led me to getting involved in projects, I wasn’t originally allocated to or expected to join. There can be a fine line between being helpful and being exploited, but generally the manager will make sure that doesn’t happen. I was lucky in that my manager was happy to see me involved in other projects and made sure I had the support to carry out my main tasks. Getting involved in a side project or creating your own, builds your confidence as an intern as well as providing great work experience opportunities. It’s mostly true that if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Though this is a reflection of a culmination of intern experiences, much of this can be applied to any individual in a business. I had a great time researching new business, learning new ways to present and develop ideas and meeting new people. After brunch with my colleagues, I gave a speech on my time here and definitely meant it when I said I’ll be in touch!

By Francesca Fasesin, Summer Intern & owner of Pe’Lumi Bakes