A summer internship, no matter its nature or sponsoring company, is best viewed as an opportunity. There are no guarantees that the experience will be without stresses or difficulties, but a positive attitude, openness, and a willingness to take the initiative will guarantee that it will be the best experience possible. In other words, an internship is largely what you make of it, and the core faculty of the ILTM expect each and every ILTM student to make the very best of it. Each student embarking on an internship should formulate goals and objectives for the internship before it begins and keep them clearly in mind throughout the summer. In formulating and achieving these goals, essential is the remembrance of the central themes of ILTM (leadership, ethics, globalization, thinking outside the box, thinking critically, thinking quantitatively, challenging your assumptions, setting the highest standards for youself and your work, and seeking to be a “giver” in the broadest societal sense).
As you prepare for an internship, and in fact as it is experienced, remember that internship experiences can, and will, be very diverse. Some internships are formal, organized, and structured and may have a very specific project or task on which work is done either individually or as part of a group. A mentor/supervisor may also be readily accessible and available and be very involved in the project. Alternatively, an internship may be very informal, disorganized, and unstructured, and the project or task may be unclear and the supervisor relatively uninvolved in the work. Many students naturally prefer, and to an extent expect, the former scenario and are disappointed with the second. The fact is, no matter what the circumstances of the individual project or task, a commitment is expected to seeking out, participating in, and successfully completing an ILTM internship, and each student must make the best of the experience. In all aspects of the internship, each student must also never forget that he or she is continually representing not only his or her own integrity but also that of the ILTM program and the university as a whole.
As with many aspects of life, the attitude adopted toward the internship is key. A “positive” attitude makes a great situation even better and a bad situation productive and valuable. A “poor” attitude is a recipe for disaster and failure. Don’t be concerned with where classmates are located, with whom they are working, how much they are earning, and how happy they may seem in their internships. These factors should not influence the quality of anyone's own experience. Important is the reality of each individual's internship experience and how to make the most of it. Often, the “real” internship experience is not the technical and managerial details of a project but rather a test of character. How resourceful can you be? How resilient can you be? How creative can you be? How important can you make yourself to your employer? How can you do more than you are being asked to do? What can you do that needs to be done that nobody has asked you to do?
We are confident that each and every ILTM student has the potential for an exceptionally valuable and rewarding internship experience. We are also confident that each ILTM student will work to ensure that this potential is fully realized.
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