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Mahima’s Pre-College Internship at the Harvard Innovation Lab

Mahima at the Harvard Innovation Lab

Many parents ask us how we establish internships, considering it’s especially difficult to do for high school students. It really requires extensive research, visiting work sites and creating relationships, which we’ve been doing over the last 15 years. Pictured this past summer at the iLab is Mahima, a sophomore at a public high school that is ranked #2 in MA.

 

Dr. Jabbawy visiting the iLab

We Create Relationships in the Workplace

During the school year, especially in the fall, we visit with potential mentors and workplaces in order to identify the best career match for our students’ interests. We look for mentors who can assign specific tasks and projects for each student to work on. Many mentors have been interns themselves at some point in their career and are happy to mentor a student with shared interests.

After Dr. Jabbawy attended a startup pitch at the iLab in order to identify potential mentors for summer internships, we met a very personable CEO who was very open to the idea of hosting an intern.

Sean Eldrige, CEO of Gain Life

Sean Eldridge: Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer of Gain Life

With an MBA from Harvard Business School, Sean spent his 15-year career in the health behavior change space at Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Weight Watchers. He co-founded Gain Life that provides solutions in the employer wellness market.

In Mahima’s letter of recommendation, Sean wrote:

“Mahima worked for our Harvard Innovation Labs startup, Gain Life, during the 2019 summer. While reporting to me, Gain Life’s CEO, Mahima led a variety of projects where she:

  • Researched and synthesized state-specific insurance regulations
  • Edited privacy and terms and conditions documents for a new product
  • Sourced and conducted consumer research interviews
  • Found and reported bugs in native and web-based applications
  • Built a research presentation for a large, blue chip, company

My team and I found Mahima to be friendly, diligent, and capable of delivering quality work with little direction. Mahima is mature beyond her years. I’d gladly offer her another position with our company at a later date. I happily recommend Mahima without hesitation.”

How this marketing internship affirmed Ella’s career interests.

What happens when your interests run in different directions? You excel at more than just one thing and that’s great. But how about honing in on the academic interest that can turn into a career one day?

Ella ran into this scenario. Together we brainstormed and pinpointed which of her interests could turn into more than a hobby. Social media was her answer. Based on what Ella had accomplished thus far and how she wanted to expand her skill set we matched her with our friends at Her Campus, the #1 media site for college women.

Ella spent her summer internship getting familiar with key influencers on different social media platforms and analyzing their messaging and audience in order to ultimately increase their visibility across the board. We had a chance to regroup with Ella at the end of her time at Her Campus and she let us know that ” I love the work environment. Everyone is very nice, the office is fun and relaxed. I like being in Boston, being able to walk to get lunch and see the city. My favorite part has been hearing from my supervisors about what their job entails, it affirms that I want to work in marketing.” What Ella learned at Her Campus was that marketing, more specifically social media, was something that both interests and challenges her. Two key ingredients for a promising career.

So… which of your many interests do you think could be the right path for you?

Former IC intern named to Hall of Fame!

Congratulations to Hannah, our former high school intern from Needham High. Years ago, we had placed her at Her Campus Media, the #1 media brand for college women. Coinciding with their 10th birthday this year, they created the Her Campus Hall of Fame to recognize 10 alumnae whose accomplishments are truly outstanding.

“Announcing Inaugural inductee, Hannah Orenstein, Senior Dating Editor, Elite Daily and author (NYU ’15).”

After her high school internship at Her Campus, Hannah became a Her Campus National Writer, Editor and Founder of their High School Ambassador program. Currently, she is the Senior Dating Editor at Elite Daily, as well as the author of two novels: PLAYING WITH MATCHES (2018) and LOVE AT FIRST LIKE (coming August 6, 2019). Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the New York Post, the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, The Cut, Us Weekly, Good Morning America, and more. Previously, she was a writer and editor at Seventeen.com.

Even in high school, we could see that Hannah’s maturity, drive and outstanding abilities would take her far in her career journey.

 

Applying to MIT? Better not list more than four activities.

 

Thank you MIT. How refreshing!

In our school-to-career program, we have seen stressed out high school sophomores show us resume drafts that are 3 pages long. We ask ourselves, what is driving this insanity? Is it worried parents or the students themselves?

More, more, more is not the answer. Who are you? What are you passionate about? These are the questions we ask students when we meet them.

Here is what MIT says…

Please use our form, not a resume, to list your activities. There is only enough space to list four things—please choose the four that mean the most to you and tell us a bit about them. This will tell us more about you than any “laundry list” of everything you’ve ever done in high school.

Finally, one of the better articles by the National Educational Association on the worsening dilemma of anxiety in teens:

http://neatoday.org/2018/03/28/the-epidemic-of-student-anxiety/

 

Test Drive Your Career With A Fall Internship in Boston

Are you a recent high school graduate or college student seeking some real-world career experience? Or are you taking some time off to explore new opportunities through a Gap Year?

You may already be aware that an internship is a fantastic choice for those purposes. But perhaps you associate such an option exclusively with summer.

The fall, however, can actually be the ideal time to complete an internship—and the highly trained team here at Internship Connection is here to help you do so.

The Benefits of an Internship

An internship offers an unparalleled opportunity to advance your academic and professional future. It’s a way to test drive your career: to sample the waters of an industry and see how it appeals to you.

You can fantasize about one job or another, but you can’t know what it’s really like without diving in. As an intern, you can try a job on for size and start mapping out a nuts-and-bolts career strategy.

It’s rewarding whether you’ve got a narrowed-down field of interest or not. Perhaps you’re drawn to the healthcare industry, but also harbor an abiding passion for politics. Internships shed light on the day-to-day jobs available in those fields, and thus help steer you toward one or another.

On the other hand, maybe you’ve got your heart set on a career in environmental work, but don’t know exactly in what capacity. Non-profit group? State management agency? Interning helps you navigate to a position best suited to your inclinations.

Let’s not forget that internships can lead directly to paid jobs: Think of them as auditions!

Fall Internships

What are the benefits of a fall internship? For one thing, a position tends to be easier to land: You’ll have less competition than in the summer crunch, when out-of-town students can compete directly with Boston-area locals.

Furthermore, most companies tend to take on fewer interns in the autumn. This means fall interns can cultivate deeper relationships with their workplace environment and colleagues as well as tackle more tasks, thus broadening their skill sets.

Internship Connection Works With You

Internship Connection is dedicated to connecting students and recent grads with internship positions and helping them succeed there. We’ll help you focus your goals, design your resume, and prep for interviews; we’ll also be there throughout your internship as guiding support.

Contact us today and test drive your career with a fall internship!   https://internshipconnection.com/

Photo credit: City of Boston Archives

Fall Internships for Deferred College Admission

So you’ve been accepted but asked to wait a semester until January. What to do now?  We are hearing from many students facing this dilemma.
Why not get a jump on your peers and experience a fall internship in a career that you might be   thinking about?  You’ll start to make professional contacts, build your resume, hear about exciting meet ups and panels, and have much to offer in future class discussions. Finally, experiencing the workplace can help to confirm or eliminate your thoughts on a potential a college major.

Businesses and organizations welcome a student applying for a fall internship. Summer interns are back in college, so you are not competing with dozens of students for the same internship.

We have placed many college freshman on exciting one semester internships:

  • Travis was a recent graduate of Phillips Academy Andover was looking forward to starting Brown University. We place him on an internship related to engineering, computers and investments.
  • Camila and Claudia, twin sisters from a private school in Puerto Rico had been accepted to Babson as January freshman. We connected the girls to a wonderful fashion startup entrepreneur in the MassChallenge incubator.

Read more about more student experiences in our Gap Semester program: https://internshipconnection.com/programs/gap-year-internships/

The Importance of Creating a High School Resume

We all know that resumes are the the first step required when submitting a job application, but did you know that resumes are crucial even for students in high school? They can be included in college applications and are required when applying for a high school summer job or internship.

Selena Jabbawy, Director of Business Development and Carole Jabbawy, Ed.D., Founder and Director, recently presented a workshop for parents and students on “How to Create a High School Resume.”  The presentation offered tips on format, lists of action verbs and resume samples. Thank you to the Russian School of Mathematics, a national program for K-12 math education, for inviting us to speak to students and parents.

 

Selena Jabbawy presenting a High School Resume Workshop

OK Parents…STEM Internships are great but even Google says…….

Recently, at 3 Summer Opportunity Fairs for Teens, we were swamped by students and parents inquiring about STEM –science, technology, engineering and math internships. Yes, in our school-to-career program we do connect students to exciting STEM internships, but what happened to students interested in government, journalism, and arts? Just as it always does, it seems like the pendulum has swung, this time away from liberal arts to STEM.

Of course technical skills will be more and more sought after in the workplace but studies by Google and LinkedIn relating to both labor market skills and gaps had surprising results. Parents and Students …Take note!

Soft Skills prized by Google and other Corporations

Google’s Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last!

Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post detailed Google’s research.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/12/20/the-surprising-thing-google-learned-about-its-employees-and-what-it-means-for-todays-students/?utm_term=.56b2612bb54a

She writes that the seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.

This spring, Google’s study named, Project Aristotle, further supports the importance of soft skills even in high-tech environments. They analyzed data on their high level technical teams of scientists and specialists, and actually discovered that the company’s most important new ideas come from non-technical employees who possessed a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

Chevron and IBM, also rank communication skills in the top three most sought after qualities by job recruiters. They prize both an ability to communicate with one’s workers and an aptitude for conveying the company’s product and mission outside the organization.

Workforce Report: Boston Among Top Cities with Largest Skills Gap

Srividya Kalyanaraman in Boston Inno, referred to LinkedIn’s Workforce Report that identified the top four Largest Skills Gap in major US cities. https://www.americaninno.com/boston/inno-news-boston/workforce-report-boston-among-top-cities-with-largest-skills-gap/

In Boston, NYC and all major cities, Soft Skills are highly in demand. The number one skills gap is oral communication, followed by business management, leadership and digital literacy. Also: people management, development tools, social media, time management and data research.

The Case for Internships Relating to Soft Skills

Soft skills are observed and learned on all types of internships:

  • Communication – verbal, written, active listening, netiquettes, body language
  • Strategy – decision making, problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, ability to locate and use information
  • Self-management – professionalism, emotional intelligence, work ethic, time-management, attitude, integrity, resilience, predictability
  • Team work – collaboration, ability to operate effectively in a team environment
  • Leadership – negotiation, compromise, conflict management, managing diversity and inclusion, cultural awareness, negotiation, delegation

The best advice I always give to parents is, “Take your child’s interest and run with it.”

If they enjoy writing, we can connect them to a journalism or tech internship where they can write for the company blog.

If they are interested in education, we’ll connect them to a teaching internship where they will learn how to communicate and present ideas.

If they are interested in art, they can learn how art relates to technology in game design or how graphic design is used in every business.

If their interest is law, they can experience an internship in government where they will see how laws are passed or how tech attorneys help startups.

Conclusion

Parents- Don’t discourage your child from a career they may love. All career interests are valid and their value stands alone. Surprisingly enough, that career interest could help them develop the soft skills that are highly desired in STEM related fields.

 

 

 

Eshaan’s Two Startup Internships Got Him Innovating and Building Businesses

We met Eshaan when he was a sophomore at Newton South High School. Eshaan had many interests including science. We connected him To Hyungsoo Kim, a graduate of MIT Sloan School, who was developing a watch for the blind and was a semifinalist in the MIT 100k competition. Hyungsoo was happy to hear that high school students were interested in entrepreneurship.

A watch for the blind

Eshaan helped with research and general tasks and wrote a script for the company video. He wrote:

“Many times Hyungsoo, or one of his colleagues would give me an assignment and I would have to figure out what they wanted and deliver it to them. In essence, they gave me a lot of freedom, but at the same time I had lots of responsibility because they would be counting on me to meet their expectations. One of the best parts of my internship was meeting interesting individuals who are all extremely talented and genuine. This internship has been one of the most productive and memorable experiences.”

A Second Internship in San Francisco

Eshaan stayed in touch with his mentor and became passionate about startups. He came to us for a second internship the following summer. Because he had relatives he could stay with in the San Francisco area, we established an internship at Chewse, a startup company that provides office administrators a customized, simple way to get lunch catered for their businesses.

Eshaan was involved in Customer Acquisition and Growth

He gained in-depth exposure to the process of building a business. He said:

“I worked directly with the head of customer acquisition, who gave me interesting long-term projects. I tracked new leads, researched start-up companies, determined who to target and how to target through various media channels. I conducted analysis of both competitors and customer feedback. Often times my mentor would give me a project to complete and I would have to find a way to finish it by coming up with and using my own methods.”

By the end of Eshaan’s junior summer of high school, he had already gained exposure to two very different startup companies. He continues to stay in contact with his mentors and we are certain that he will build upon his high school internships throughout college.

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