Whether you’re running a start-up or a fully-fledged corporation, internship programs can be hugely beneficial to both parties if you set up the right framework.
Long gone are the days of interns doing coffee runs, menial photocopying tasks and sitting in a dark corner of the office. If you ensure your business has an inclusive culture, interns will be fantastic assets to your company. It makes sense to tap into the tech-savvy talent pipeline coming out of universities – and if you have the scope, hire them once they graduate.
What you want in an intern is someone who is highly engaged in learning about your business, with a list of pre-determined skills you’ve already identified will help your teams.
Map out what they will be doing for the duration of the internship, rather than have them wandering from team member to team member looking for work. An excellent way to do this is to assign a project that they can continue working on when there aren’t any other immediate tasks to be done. Make an effort to understand what the individual’s passions and long-term goals are, and what they want to gain from their time with you. It can be deeply rewarding to give young women (and men!) their start in the industry. And who knows, in time you may end up working for them.
Lana Hopkins, founder of Mon Purse, graduated from UTS in 2004 with a Bachelor of Business majoring in International Business and Marketing and found interning a valuable part of her education. She shares how Mon Purse structures their program for success.
What type of internship programs do you run at Mon Purse?
We have all different internships in almost every facet of our business. We have marketing, tech and fulfilment. We allow the students to stick with that team and a team member will buddy and guide them through the duration of their internship.
What’s the best way to integrate interns into the company and the company’s culture?
We do an induction, show them around and give them a welcome pack. They sit and interact with the team; they’re not excluded. We also give them a Mon Purse product to make them feel part of the company.
What’s the biggest benefit of hiring interns?
You’re getting a different set of eyes, and a new perspective into your business. For us, it’s that young millennial student coming in and bringing something else to the brand. We are a millennial brand, so we listen to their input and ideas.
What’s the duration of your internship program?
It varies, and we tailor it to suit the student, but ultimately we quite like them to stay on for 8 to 12 weeks so they get a full experience if they’re working on a campaign or a particular piece of work. But if a student wants to stay on for longer, then we’re more than happy to try to accommodate that so they can get more experience.
Does Mon Purse offer paid internships?
Yes, we offer paid and unpaid internships. It just depends on which position it’s for, their experience and skill set, and the outcomes expected.
What do you want interns to get out of the internships at Mon Purse?
Learning about the business and how we operate, but in the first induction we also find out what they want out of the internship. For example, if they want to focus on a particular part of the business in line with their learning outcomes we try our best to make that happen. We give them responsibilities in a real-life situation and treat it like it is their own job.
We really tailor it to the student, we sit down with them, and we show them how we do things. Ideas are always welcome. We have a fantastic intern at the moment who’s in our digital marketing team. She sits in Skype calls, meetings with Facebook and our advertising team. She does all different interactions, builds campaigns, and assists with analytics. We are developing her talent to the best of her ability, and she’s getting valuable experience.
Would you hire interns after their internship has ended?
Absolutely. If that person was the right fit, and we had a suitable position available, then we definitely would.
What has surprised you about the interns that you have had in so far?
Their level of motivation for their age and their skill set. Some are willing to spend half a day with us, and then go to uni for the rest of the day, and others do two or three days a week as well as studying and working elsewhere – it’s amazing!
What’s your advice for interns to leap into full-time employment?
Ask as many questions as you can. I always say ‘don’t feel silly asking questions, I do as well.’ Be open to every single opportunity, because you don’t know who you will meet, or where it could take you.
We partnered with UTS Careers to bring you this piece – they can help you connect with talented students seeking internships. Find out more about UTS interns here or contact us to send an email to the UTS Careers team now.