When I reflect on my virtual internship experience thus far, the company’s leadership has not disappointed. There have been numerous c suite level speakers available through webcast for the interns to listen to and learn from, we were assigned a weekly mentor in the firm as well as a partner to meet with during our program, and the recruiting team has been more than available to help us navigate the virtual environment. That being said, there is a clear consensus amongst the interns that they missed a crucial piece when designing the program and that is intern collaboration. In a normal environment, we would have had numerous events with our intern class to get to know one another well as it is likely we will all start our careers together. My criticism is that the firm did not incorporate an expectation or environment for interns to meet each other as we normally would have. Starting out of college, the firm could easily seem overwhelming and having the support and previously established friendships from your internship class would positively impact your work environment upon starting full time. I am interested to see if they go out of their way to create events for our start class next fall so that this collaboration is not lost.
As a leadership studies student, I would advocate for making the program more interactive with our peers. We had to complete a personality test and learn about our results as well as how to work better with peers of another personality type. Had this been a group activity, there could have been a discussion about where everyone fits into the results and how they learn and work best. As we will be working together in the future, acknowledging everyones strengths, weaknesses, and preferences is a valuable experience that we could have had. I would also advocate to our recruiters that discussion early on with our peers would lay the ground work for being a more vocal employee. By providing environments to prove that they want us to use our voices-which has been said and advocated for during the program- it could have the effect of making us more vocal new hires and decrease likelihood of groupthink early on. Thus far, the programming and speaker exposure has been wonderful, but collaboration amongst our peers is certainly lacking.