Interns in the Workplace - An Asset or a Cost?

In some businesses, “fresh blood” in the form of a new intern can provide different perspectives to challenges that arise. For others, under-utilised interns may find themselves spending more time photocopying than learning the essence of how a successful business operates.

 

As a new intern myself, I’ve been thinking about what makes for a successful internship and how it can deliver value to both the individual and the business. Firstly, I believe that to get the most out of their internship, it’s imperative to always have a voice in the organisation. Every intern deserves a purpose within a workplace and the ability to influence their journey. It’s also essential to have a positive mindset, patience, a sense of belonging, and to always have fun when taking on responsibilities.

 

Let’s Look at My Experience so Far at SAP Concur


Having previously worked in part-time roles at a restaurant and garden centre, I found that I struggled to have a sense of purpose in those working environments. At times, the hard work and dedication of going beyond my manager’s expectations was going unnoticed. As a temporary worker, it was also difficult to raise concerns or challenge existing approaches. This made me question what sort of environment or culture I would find myself in during my time on placement.
 

After joining SAP Concur in July, I can honestly say that I felt overwhelmed at first. Being accustomed to a university routine of structured lectures, seminars and lots of free time, I initially found it difficult to adapt to the new situation of being in a full-time job. Having less free time in the evening made it harder to form some sort of routine, such as going to the gym straight after work.
 

Personally, it’s difficult for university to prepare you for working life both physically and mentally as it goes way beyond the theory taught in a classroom. Especially when you no longer have the luxury of sleeping in and waking up whenever you want, it was hard to establish a sleeping pattern!
 

Most people would say it’s daunting when moving to a new location as well as starting a new job role. The uncertainty of moving away from home and university had been on my mind during the summer break. But now, I can fortunately say that I have embraced every moment so far. Being surrounded by other interns who are in the same boat as myself has been crucial in helping me settle in and find my feet. Taking over from an intern has been invaluable; gaining insight and advice during his time at the company has prepared me for the challenges that lie ahead.
 

It’s easy for a new intern to be thrown straight into the deep end and be expected to complete complex tasks under immense pressure. However, I’ve found that the culture at SAP Concur is extremely supportive and values all its employees. Especially how they reward their employees through providing free lunches! I am truly grateful that my team has given me time to grow in understanding the company in more depth and the various functions across all departments. This has been essential in gaining connections and valuable insights into my co-workers’ responsibilities at the company. In addition, I appreciate how my manager and team don’t see me as an intern but as a full-time employee. Having that level of confidence and feeling valued has given me the independence to know I can be more than just an intern and that I can really make a positive impact during my time at SAP Concur!
 

I’m extremely lucky to spend 40 hours a week with my marketing team who have supported and made me feel welcome since day one. They are like my second family for the next 12 months and I can’t wait to see what the future holds during my time here!
 

To conclude, it’s necessary for all interns to be perceived as an asset to the business. After all, investing your time and resources in them may prove beneficial in the long-term. Especially if an intern is fortunate enough to return to the company, they would require less training as they will already be aware of the core business activities. My biggest piece of advice to any intern is to enjoy and embrace this opportunity. Some days will be better than others, but, always remember that this journey will prepare you for the real world.
 

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