By Yu-Ju (Katty) Lin, Guest Writer
This past summer, I worked as a project management intern with the Thunderbird Career Management Center (CMC). The CMC offers career events and workshops throughout the academic year to enhance students’ career development. I have had the great pleasure to get to know the senior director of the CMC, who is also an alum from Thunderbird, Helen Wu. Having similar backgrounds, Helen and I quickly bonded at the beginning of my first semester at Thunderbird. In addition to having a passion for project management and helping students, I also have some experience in marketing. Thus, Helen saw my passion and my experience, and suggested that I apply for the summer internship at the CMC to leverage and hone my skills and abilities.
During my internship, I learned more about project management and digital marketing skills. I created digital flyers to promote events and on-campus employer recruiting sessions through social media. I also utilized social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and WhatsApp to disseminate communications campus-wide.
Not only did I create marketing campaigns, but I also was put in charge of the “Faculty Career Impact Project,” which connects students with professors based on the students’ career interests. Professors are one of the best resources that the students can have, not only as academic resources, but also as lifetime mentors. We believe that by connecting professors and students together in small groups, students can better interact with professors and obtain more direct suggestions and advice.
I redesigned part of the Faculty Career Impact Project based on the feedback collected from the professors and students that participated last year. To better understand students’ needs, I launched a survey to let students choose their top three desired professors based on their career interests. As a liaison between professors and students, I had to communicate with both of the groups to make sure that this project could reach its potential. At the start of the fall semester, I coordinated meeting times and ensured that every group could successfully meet with their chosen professor.
This was my first time working in the U.S.. The work culture is really different from that of Asian countries. During this time, I learned how to communicate and interact with different kinds of people. I always try to complete each project in the fastest and most efficient way. However, many people prefer small talk before jumping into the task at hand. At first, I didn’t notice this and it caused some misunderstanding between me and my co-workers. However, I learned from this experience and adjusted my work style to have better conversations with my co-workers.
My recommendation for students who would like to pursue an internship with the CMC is to try to talk to your career coach and see if you are enthusiastic about helping students during their job search. Strong connections are important to help students achieve their goals. Working in the CMC this summer has sharpened my social and networking skills and introduced me to new perspectives.
Katty is a second-year student in the MGM program.