The Value of Internships
Dear Potential Interns,
I come from a family where no one has ever worked in construction and I had little-to-no experience with the construction industry prior to school. Going into college, I quickly noticed that several of my peers had grown up in construction inside their families’ businesses and it made me feel like they were already ten steps ahead of me. I knew I needed to do something about that gap and while doing research, I came across an amazing internship opportunity to work with The MDC Group. For me, my internship was the best experience I could have ever asked for and here’s why…
You may ask yourself, “Why would I need an internship if all I need to learn, I will learn in school?” Well, an internship is not just a job you do to make extra money, it’s not something you do to get college credit nor is it something to do in between school semesters. An internship is becoming more and more crucial for college students and sometimes even in high school students. An internship is just as important, if not more important, than a college degree. It can open a window of opportunity to new and exciting encounters.
Not only is an internship valuable in and of itself, but where you do your internship can make or break the experience. Two ways to recognize a company’s advantages when looking for an internship, is to find out how they teach and how they take care of their employees. Our CEO, Steve Schnadenberg, could not have worded it any clearer nor more perfectly when he said, “You are not here to manage; you are here to teach.” A company that realizes that everyone is a student of the industry, no matter your personal experience, is a company worth working for.
If the hands-on experience alone isn’t enough to convince you, here are some others reasons you may have never thought of that make it so worth-while:
• Industry Insight: More and more students are starting to realize that it takes more than just in-class learning to get experience for the real working world, especially in the construction industry. Having years and years of experience in construction is your ticket to the career you want and to be a more successful employee. An internship is all about experience, all about prepping you for the real world and setting yourself up for success in the future. In my personal experience, I accepted and came to work for The MDC Group in the summer of 2018. In those short 3 months, I felt that I had learned more than I could have ever imagined. Having an internship is a chance to start your professional career as well as gives you a taste of what you will be doing for the rest of your working career. It gives you the chance to see if what you’re doing is actually what you want to do day in and day out.
• Strengthening Your Resume: Not only does having an internship give you a better experience on the job site, companies love to see that you already have practical, applicable experience under your belt. The more experience, the better chance of getting hired. Being able to mention skills on your resume that you have learned from your internship can really set you apart from the other competition. You can never go wrong with adding an internship to your resume.
• The Start of Your Professional Network: This one is self-explanatory; it is without a doubt that an internship can open-up a whole new world of networking with new faces and getting your name out there. You never know who you are going to meet, but having an internship is just another step closer to introducing yourself to people and sharing what it is you are looking to do with your life. Another thing that I loved about my internship with The MDC Group is all the opportunities that were given to me to meet new people. They went out of their way to introduce me to other people from extraordinary companies – to get my name out there and market myself.
• A “Foot in the Door” for Full-Time Employment: This topic, in particular, is the MOST important part of why you should do an internship. Companies are almost always looking to hire new employees; you just must be able to show the company you are interning for why they should keep you. A lot of employers look to keep their interns once their internships are over, because they have already been trained and know what the company is all about. Plus, it is much less intimidating getting hired on at the same company after your internship. You already knowing what to do, the people and the culture. Having an internship is a great way to open the door into the workplace.
• Building Your Confidence: Getting a job that you majored in, is nothing short of challenging and intimidating, but that is what makes internships such great opportunities. An internship allows for you to get out of your comfort zone, get to know other people you may not have otherwise met, collaborate with those people and work as a team. It also increases your learning curve and experience in areas you may never thought you would be interested in.
Having an internship is highly recommended in today’s workforce, and that is in no way, shape or form designed to scare or intimidate anyone. It is designed to prepare students for what the real world has in store for them. It is designed so that students are not thrown to the wolves on their first day of work after they graduate school. Internships are not intended for negative outcomes and experiences; they are meant for learning, team work, networking, confidence boosting, getting out of your comfort zone, etc. the list can go on forever. Positive internship experiences are directly related to the work you put in and your willingness to learn and absorb as much as possible in the timeframe you’re given.
I highly recommend putting yourself out there and apply for an internship. Do your research, ask questions and be engaged. Take everything in and learn as much as you can. Trust me, it will be worth it.
Noa Kakalia Former intern, current college student at IUPUI and project engineer at The MDC Group