Culture•Aug 25, 2022
No More Naps?! 7 Tips for Making the Switch From College Student to Credera Intern
Summer internship season is an unfamiliar time for many college students. Lecture halls are traded for conference rooms and late-night study sessions are substituted for early morning coffee chats. These changes can seem daunting at times but with the right company culture and support structure, it’s easy to transition from college student to summer intern.
An internship with Credera means real client work and being treated like an actual employee. There’s no time spent on “busy intern work”—your days and weeks are filled with meaningful tasks with real-world implications.
Don’t worry, many of the skills learned at school transfer to working life. Leadership skills from group projects and technical abilities developed during hackathons are great examples of skills students bring to the internship table.
Having gone through this transition ourselves, we’ve compiled a list of seven tips students can apply to their unique internship experiences:
1. Build the Best Schedule for You
One of the best freedoms of being a college student is the ability to work where you want—whether that’s a coffee shop, lecture hall, or your bed. Working full time and spending eight hours in a cubicle can seem like a stark contrast to this freedom. Luckily, Credera’s flexible connection model gives you the ability to choose the best workplace for you. In any given week this summer, we chose between working at home, the client site, a coffee shop, or our college apartment.
2. Use the Resources Around You
The beginning of any internship can seem overwhelming at first—meeting new colleagues, onboarding, and moving to a new city is a lot to handle at once. Asking for advice from others is the best way to get past the initial stresses. After all, full-time employees, like your career coach and onboarding peer, give the best advice!
It is common to not know what you are doing or how to approach a situation during your internship. In these times, it is more important than ever that you acknowledge your need for help and utilize the resources available to you, such as other team members or learning platforms provided by your employer. At Credera, team members expect you to ask questions, so make the most of it. The key is to ask questions early and often and don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
3. Take Advantage of Mentors
Making the switch from student to intern isn’t something you have to do alone. Onboarding peers, career coaches, and other full-time employees are available to answer any questions—no matter how silly they may seem. From answering questions about where to park your car to how to submit your timesheets, onboarding peers make the first couple weeks stress-free. Throughout a Credera internship, career coaches help develop goals, process feedback, and create a roadmap for future professional development.
4. Take Initiative and Don’t Discount Your Fresh Ideas
Client work is a new dynamic for most interns, but this lack of experience doesn’t mean your contributions aren’t valuable. Successful interns treat client work as a growth opportunity by observing interactions with clients and proactively identifying opportunities to contribute value to the team. Some examples of initiatives we took this summer include creating new iterations for better visual appeal and documenting actionable next steps during meetings.
5. Understand That Client Work Can Be Challenging
Embracing the challenges of team dynamics and client relationships are some of the most difficult, but rewarding, parts of consulting. Balancing client incentives and feedback on top of project work can seem overwhelming at times but can be a unique opportunity for growth. Getting feedback—both good and bad—from clients validated our contributions.
6. Don’t Leave the Things You’re Passionate About Behind
The opportunity to seek extracurricular involvement does not disappear when making the transition to an internship. Credera offers a variety of employee resource groups (ERGs) where everyone can explore their passions. For example, students who are involved in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives may enjoy CredColor or Open Pride Credera, which respectively promote acceptance and advocacy for people of color and LGBTQ+ employees at Credera. Interns who are involved in women’s empowerment or networking groups in college may enjoy the Credera Women’s Network (CWN), which creates opportunities for Credera women to learn and connect. Other great ERGs include Credera Veterans Network, an organizing force to engage veterans across the firm, or Credera Thrive, a community that focuses on mental, physical, and social wellbeing.
7. Experience Your Office’s Unique Culture
What better way to understand office and company culture than to fully immerse yourself in it? This summer, interns got to know their colleagues better by attending intramural volleyball games, happy hours, book clubs, and other fun after-work activities. Our internship program also included volunteering opportunities, allowing interns to experience Credera’s philanthropic arm, Credera Community Impact, and to give back to their local communities. Outside of events organized by Credera, it's also helpful for interns to seek out time with their intern cohort, onboarding peer, and career coach to make the most of their experience.
Looking Onward After Credera Internships
The end of an internship brings as many changes as the beginning; business casual attire is traded for sweatpants and afternoon meetings become post-lecture naps. However, transitioning back from intern to student is not as stark of a difference as it might seem.
We plan to use skills practiced during the internship to improve our understanding of new theories and areas of interest discovered in the classroom. After gaining hands-on experience this summer, we’ll stress less about obtaining the highest grades and focus more on the value of practice and learning.
Many of the skills and lessons learned as Credera employees—such as speaking up in meetings, exploring new skillsets and embracing failure—relate directly to our coursework and will travel with us as students. Just as every day varies from the last, every intern has their own challenges and experiences—but we can all agree that we are better professionals after our summer at Credera.