3 things My Internship Taught Me that No School Ever Did

It’s coming to the end of May, and most of us university/polytechnic students are probably already bogged down by the harsh but necessary reality that is called an ‘Internship’.

By now, you’re probably already bruised (hopefully only psychologically) and beaten. Waking up at 7am is the norm instead of the perfect timing of 12pm you enjoyed last summer. You ask yourself, “Why was I so excited to finish finals and get to this point?’

An internship is an essential part of learning and growing before you go out into the working world. School is NOT a good place to learn how to survive in the real world. If you want to do well in life, apply for an internship in singapore.

Today, I’ll be writing about my experience during my singapore internship with Sqkii (www.sqkii.com), a 2-year old startup which I chanced upon at one of the Technology Exhibitions (or Innovation Fairs) organized by my school.

Ultimately, I hope this will serve as a good pick-me-up to refuel your motivations, and hopefully remind you that this internship is probably even more important than the last finals you sat for.

  1. Think school is tough? School isn’t anything when compared to working.

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You probably already knew that. School may have been tough for most of us, but the truth is that the environment where you study is much more cushioned as compared to your working environment. Chances are, you’ll face a huge learning curve and may not be able to get everything right at first. Furthermore, nobody has the right answer and you have to play along with that.

For me, I was tasked to get people to sign up as a partner with our mobile app. My team went to many different shopping malls and met with all sorts of different people. We were often rejected. Thankfully, nobody scolded or yelled at us. At the end of the day, we always came together to consolidate and share our experiences . Ultimately, we managed to secure over 40 partners. The learning process was meaningful, and we learnt so much more than we did from school.

  1. Pitching

In the working world, every conversation is an opportunity to pitch. To pitch is to sell something, including yourself, and yet sound like you’re not selling anything. When someone asks what you are doing, this is the best chance to talk about your startup, or your blog, or anything that otherwise requires you to pay money to advertise. You need to perfectly balance your listener’s attention, and to make it personal enough that it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to sell them something.

We were trained rigorously in pitching. And I mean rigorously.  One of the co-founders, Kenny, spared no expense in ensuring that at the end of the day, we were pitching at his standards. The reason was simple: When you pitch, you become the embodiment of the company. It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO or an admin clerk. All you need is one wrong step, and people will start having a negative impression. For example, even if a renowned company were to mistreat their female employees, these employees could then spread the word, and that company would be done for.

  1. How to expand your network

In life, contacts are the most important when it comes to moving forward in your career. A simple contact can help you secure a job, or help you find a close collaborator who can earn you your first million dollars. Unfortunately, these contacts don’t come immediately.

‘Networking’ is simply just making friends with strangers. Chances are, you don’t start off as a natural. You fumble, make yourself look awkward, and you get rejected when your potential friend befriends the charismatic guy from across the room. Networking is just like that.

What did we do? Practice, practice, and practice. We were pushed to attend many networking sessions. We weren’t given any goals, except to have fun. Of course, I started off awkward. But as I went to more and more of these sessions, I realized it was pretty thrilling to get the name card of someone big, or to meet someone who shares the same mindset as you. Ultimately, it’s all about getting out of your comfort zone.

I decided to keep the list short so as to leave some space to answer some FAQs.

  1. Should I go for an internship or go for school/hall events during summer?

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I went for this internship when I was in year 1, which was when most people usually go for school/hall events. I would say that you learn different skills from each, so there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong choice. Choose internships for resume-boosting, and school/hall events to make more friends. Stick to one though; you wouldn’t want to appear stretched and uncommitted.

  1. Why a startup instead of a large corporation?

I chose a startup after consulting some of my friends. They explained that startups offer an independent working style that most companies can’t offer. While I can’t comment on large corporations, I will say that a startup will offer you an opportunity to make important decisions, make mistakes, and learn from them. One of the advantage that interning in a startup generally offers is allowing you to have more opportunities to interact with the co-founder. If you’re lucky enough, they can provide you with a lot of guidance. Even if they aren’t that helpful, you can still learn a lot just by observing them. To put it simply, startups do not have the budget to pay you to do grunt work. You are hired to value-add, and that is what they will make you do.

  1. Where is a good place to find my internships?

Stroff.com is a good place to start your search, where you can find plenty of internship singapore opportunities. Nevertheless, it’s always good to go out and network and find out how you can value-add to someone’s company. I personally found my first internship by networking with the co-founders of Sqkii, Kenny and Marcus, during an exhibition in SMU.

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