How long can be an internship? 4 weeks? 6 weeks? 3 months? 6 months? For me, I started my internship last spring, in February, and plan to finish my internship this May when I graduate. That means: my internship lasts for 1 year and 3 months.
You might raise your eye brows and argue that such a long internship might not be beneficial. From my own experience, I have found that a long internship has more benefits than one might have thought. Here are just some bullet points that I have on top of my head:
- Diverse roles in an internship: When I first started my internship at Discovery Patterns, I acted as an analyst of the firm – helping with discovering business trends for different companies. I was analyzing different business trends in sectors such as healthcare, finance, agriculture, and technology. Today, I am in charge of not only analyzing new trends but also of publishing the trends, supervising the machine-learning process of our engine, and even building one of our machines. My initial analyst role was upgraded to a whole new level after a year of interning at Discovery Patterns. That means: you learn a lot more.
- Better skills: Not only have I been tasked at different roles at Discovery Patterns, I have also been able to improve my skills vastly. For instance, when I started my internship, I had trouble coming up with a big picture from looking at all the data that the company provided. Now, I feel a lot more comfortable and confident in dealing with big bunches of data. Now, with a quick look, I can tell you how the business trends in healthcare have changed over the past week, past month, or even the past year.
- Deeper understanding of the company: As Discovery Patterns is a small company; it is not difficult to understand the company structure. However, after one year of interning at Discovery Patterns, I have learned a few things that a short-spanned internship would not provide me with normally. For instance, I have witnessed several projects of the company that were initiated in line with the long-term goals of the company. This taught me how to think strategically.
- Deeper relationship: I have been able to build a deep relationship with my supervisor James Andrus – also the President at Discovery Patterns. In fact, I am expecting a book written by Jim about his experience building his own company, and a small portion of which, as he said, would feature his encounter with me. Jim also helped me with my letters of recommendation when I applied for my graduate schools. Jim told me that he included several pieces of my work, which he deemed to show a high level of ability, in the letters of recommendation. In fact, I could not think of anybody more qualified to write the letters of recommendation for me.
Of course, I would encourage everybody to get as many internship experiences as possible. For my case, before Discovery Patterns, I interned at a marketing firm and a law firm. These experience have taught me that I am better suited in an analyst position like that at Discovery Patterns. I was lucky when I found out about Discovery Patterns and decided to stick with the firm. If you haven’t found the internship that you really like, do not be discouraged, come talk to anybody in the Academic Internship Office at Saint Anselm College!