Career & Education

Making the most of your summer internship

Sunday, August 11, 2019

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Cecile Cooper, culture and human development manager of JMMB, where some 90 students are this year participating in the decade-old JMMB Group summer internship programme, is urging students to make the most of their internship experience, describing it as an audition for their entry into the world of work.

She underscored the value of demonstrating good work ethic, even as interns seek to build their résumé by bolstering their knowledge and skills.

“In addition to the financial rewards gained from the internship programme, students should make the most of the experience by seeing it as a stepping stone for their career, and thereby seek to garner the necessary skills, demonstrate the right attitude, and gain the knowledge needed to propel their career path,” she told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.

Several of JMMB's employees did just that, she said, as they joined the staff through the company's internship programme. One example is 24-year-old FX trader at JMMB Bank Romario Creary.

Creary landed his first internship with JMMB in the trading department while he was a second-year banking and finance student. He was successful with a second placement, and after graduation, was offered a full-time position as cambio officer.

Internship days now behind him, Creary told Career & Education that he was focused on building a career and therefore sought to leverage the opportunity the internship provided. He learned a few lessons on his journey, and shared what is a virtual roadmap for interns with similar goals.

“ Here are my tips for making the most of your internship,” he said:

 

 

• Have the right mindset

“Determine what you want to gain from your internship experience, as this will help you to position where you want to go in the organisation. I didn't wait to be told what to do or when to go to lunch. Instead, I tried to apply myself and do the best job, with the aim of exceeding expectations.”

 

• Be innovative and add value

“You add value to your team when you are extraordinary and go beyond the expectations (of your role as an intern). Do not be shy, speak up and share your ideas about how processes can be improved or done differently. I was happy that my supervisor (Greig Lindo) at the time did not box me into finding a [pre-determined] solution. He allowed me to be creative, outlining the task at hand and the expected outcome and he left it up to me to be as creative as I wanted to execute. This approach shifted my mindset.”

 

 

 

• Make connections

“Seek to integrate as part of the team [to get to learn] the unique culture of the organisation. Most importantly, be yourself. Join the football team, if need be.”

 

• Pay it forward

“Now that I'm on the other side of the fence, it's my turn to help create a meaningful and positive experience for an intern who joined my team this summer. I'm committed to paying it forward by investing in the intern and allowing him/her a similar opportunity to excel and create a path of success from this foot-in-the-door opportunity.”

 

The JMMB Group internship programme, which runs from July to August, is designed to provide young people with meaningful work experience and introduce them to corporate life.

“The programme affords young people the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in a financial institution, while facilitating the interns' personal and professional development. Of course, it has the added benefit of allowing JMMB to groom and recruit young talent,” Cooper said.

Under the programme, several interns have been offered repeat stints or part-time placements.

“The connections they make are lifelong as their fellow team members, particularly in their host departments, often keep in touch with them and are delighted with the advancement of their careers or further academic success,” said Cooper.

Desreen Daley, group talent management associate, added that the relationships forged with team leads during internship can lead to mentorships that can help to guide one's career path.

She noted, too, that at the end of the period, interns showcase the impact they made through their involvement in various projects instead of simply listing duties assigned on their résumés.

“Share the impact of your work on your résumé; document the impact of working with JMMB so that your future employers know the contribution that you made, and show the importance of your work. Also, work towards building out your portfolio of the projects, within the parameters of confidentiality, during your internship,” Daley advised.

 


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