Hello, my name is Wiktoria and I had the chance to work with the Alumni Team as a Summer Intern during July and August this year (2021).
Like many other students, I was looking for a summer internship to add to my experience of the working world. I was very happy to find that Careers and Summer Experience Team helped to make this search easy by putting a list of interesting jobs on their website. After reading the job description of the Alumni Team internship, my first thought was that the skills it would allow me to develop are all transferable to many industries, therefore be useful for any job I would like to apply for once I graduate. It was the perfect opportunity for me, so I applied and successfully secured an interview. During the interview, I had a chance to meet the team and I knew that I really want to get the position. I believe that the team liked me as well because later I was offered the position!
After a face-to-face meeting with my supervisor, we decided that due to COVID restrictions I would have a flexible working pattern with a few days in the office, and the rest working from home. I was grateful that I had a say in my working hours which meant I could work around other commitments. This even meant I could return to Poland to see my family, whilst still being able to continue with my internship remotely!
In my first week I was eased into it gently and had the opportunity to meet not only with everyone in my immediate team, but also colleagues in the wider team to learn about their roles, responsibilities and how the teams collaborate together. I found this really interesting as it greatly diversified my experience and allowed me to work on a variety of tasks to support the whole team. I was able to arrange tasks throughout the day in a way that suited me best, which has greatly improved my productivity.
One of my main responsibilities was creating alumni profiles which are based on the experiences and careers of successful alumni. Not only did I pull together the content to produce the profiles from those that had already submitted information, I was also trusted to contact alumni directly to ask for additional information which I thought would make the profiles even better. From this I have learnt many good things about our university, including some of the many interesting stories from members of the alumni community.
One of my favourite projects was working with Theatre in the Mill, part of the wider Engagement and Partnerships Team, where I was responsible for running interviews with remarkable students and staff at our university for the ‘This Is Us’ blog series. You can read one of my pieces here. I enjoyed this as I love speaking to different people and finding out what makes them tick. During the whole process, I improved my communication, listening and transcribing skills. For a person whose second language is English, these abilities are very important.
Many of my tasks were researched based and involved searching for useful information about our alumni, identifying whether they may be a good fit for an ambassador, to speak at an event, or appear on the notable alumni page. I believe that many positions in business look for candidates with effective research skills which I have improved a lot during these last two months. There were many times when I was frustrated as I was unable to find the information I was looking for. In those times I learnt to take a break so I could then come back with more patience (another key skill!) and a fresh mindset.
During my second year at university I was responsible for social media in one of the clubs’ I was a member of. Thanks to that experience, I was able to apply my skills and knowledge in the tasks connected with social media, promotion and direct emails to the students. Even though I already had some experience in this area, I learnt many new, useful tricks, such as pre-scheduling posts on Loomly, which I can use to benefit my clubs in the upcoming year. I was also responsible for writing longer pieces of content such as blog articles which were great practice for me – this being one of them!
One of the highlights during my internship was my birthday. Usually I do not celebrate my birthday at work, but on the day I decided to bring some homemade muffins for the team. Everyone was very surprised and wished me all the best. I also received many positive comments about my baking skills which made my day!
The last two months spent with the Alumni Team as a summer intern has been an amazing experience. I met a lot of interesting people and improved many skills. I heartily recommend applying for a summer internship, especially in Alumni Team. If you decided to work in business, the abilities that you will learn in this particular internship will help you in any position.
Research skills – check! Communication (both verbal and written) – check! Advertising and marketing – check! Time management – check! Responsibility and self-motivation – check!
Apart from that, you have a chance to work in a great team and meet many university alumni, staff and guests.