Business (Marketing) Pre-Grad Intern
Going into this internship, I didn't know a single thing about grad school. I didn't even know the difference between a Master's and a PhD. I've learned so much throughout this program, that I've even changed my major entirely. I looked for a Marketing mentor, and am now pursuing an Advertising degree. This internship has opened my eyes to so many aspects of higher education. It's truly beyond anything I would've expected to get out of this course. I have so much knowledge I know I wouldn't have been able to get otherwise that I almost feel like this internship course should be a requirement for all undergraduate students.
When I first met Nita (my mentor), she quickly became more than just a mentor in an internship course I signed up for. She became a friend. The subject of our first meeting was not even the actual course, rather my goals, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, etc. She brought thoughts that had been wondering around aimlessly in my head into focus. What I love most about the mentor relationship I had was that Nita never gave me the answers upfront. She would make me ask the questions, do the research, and find all the information. She never held my hand. Instead, she guided me the entire way, and I couldn't appreciate her more for that because she's given me a different view of independence and leadership.
Through the IE internship, one of the main things I learned is the level of commitment you have to put in as a graduate student. I always thought grad students had more free time and only the material was difficult, but just trying to schedule a meeting with Nita is complicated all on it's own. Seeing how determined she is and always on the go makes me realize the type of focus you have to have to do well in graduate school. I also noticed the efficiency of communication that's needed to be able to handle every responsibility that comes with grad school. Nita and I e-mailed each other back and forth. Towards the end of our time together, she e-mailed a colleague who had been e-mailed by a local music artist to try and give me an internship opportunity. That would've never been possible had we not all kept open communication and quick feedback.
Because the IE internship meetings were all scheduled at the same time as my Thursday Longhorn Band rehearsals, I was not able to attend any. Even though I would speak with my band directors and section leaders, the impression I always received was that my grade would be lowered if I chose another priority over band. This situation allowed to me analyze my commitments, outweigh my options, foresee possible consequences, etc. In the end, I was able to improve my overall decision-making process. My schedule conflicts were also related to the problems Nita and I had trying to coordinate our schedules. Graduate school or not, I realized time management is perhaps the most important aspect of any student.
I can't even begin to count how many different aspects of graduate school I explored. Nita and I researched so many options for my future (i.e. grad schools, specific programs, internships, career profiles etc.). The scary thought is that these are things I would've never thought about had I not signed up for this internship course. I don't think many undergraduate students stop and say, "Hm, I wonder what the profile of a student applying to the Marketing graduate program at Harvard University is like?" If you asked me right now, I'd be able to tell you all the different requirements for acceptance into the graduate program at the Berklee College of Music, as well as what training/skills are required to become an Advertising Account Executive for a major record label.
With tuition rates rising, and no financial help, I've had to turn to student loans to fund my education. Thus, one of the most surprising things I found out is that my mentor was being paid to study. Not a single dime was coming out of her pocket. Realizing the amount of financial help graduate students can receive made me consider graduate school even harder. Through the meetings, research, feedback, and long discussions I had this semester, I realized that graduate school is beneficial to almost every aspect of my life, whether it'd be to help me further manage my time and commitments or getting me closer to my desired career. In my case, the end result was a student who went from not knowing what the GMAT was to a student who is nearly decided on what graduate school she will attend and what she will have to do to get there. The IE internship course gave me more than any textbook or lecture could've given me. It gave me knowledge of what I'm capable of becoming and the endless possibilities the future holds for me.