MIS 3581, Summer 2017–Laurel Miller

Discussion Question #2

I hope everyone is learning a lot in your internship.  Here is question #2.  Please comment on this and feel free to respond to other’s comments as well.

What are some of the important things that you had to find out on your own–having to do with the company culture and/or things you wouldn’t normally think you have to ask for…finding the bathroom, finding where to get coffee in the morning, etc?

 

54 Responses to Discussion Question #2

  • Company culture here at Prudential is professional, relaxed, and courteous. My boss has gone above and beyond to make me feel welcome and show me all the essential things that I would need for my success here. The bathroom is next to my cubicle, which is a good thing because I drink a lot of water. The cafeteria is a good walk away, which is also good because I get my steps in before my morning bagel and coffee. Everyone who works in my department and in the departments surrounding me has over 8-10 + years of experience. They are highly technical individuals with good communication skills. However, the technical roles in the surrounding departments, such as trouble-shooting, are being outsourced to India and Ireland. The location I work at has a lot of empty office space because there are not that many individuals that are centered at the Dresher location. Those that are centered here work from home sometimes 2-3 days a week. This is great for commuters and convenience, however it makes it more difficult to network and move into different roles within Prudential. The other thing that I noticed is that the Data Center is currently located in Roseland, NJ where all of the magic happens. If I wanted to network more efficiently or become more immersed in a different role within Prudential, I would have to commute to the Roseland or Newark location.
    Overall, great company atmosphere, decent pay, and friendly co workers.

  • At Merck, the people who I am surrounded by are very welcoming and are always encouraging me to seek help from them if needed, which is great since I am new and do not know everything. I was given a tour of the site which is pretty huge at Merck where I was shown the restrooms and cafeterias are located. As one of the classmates mentioned, there is a good number of people that work remotely 2-3 times a day throughout the week which can make networking a bit difficult. As of right now, my experience at Merck has been nothing but a positive experience for me.

  • Company culture at BPM-D is especially important as a growing company with only 4 people working at our US location where we all work from home for the most part. With so less capital, there is a lot of work to be done and decisions to be made. I feel that the company fosters a strict and professional working environment that allows for the maximum work to be done at a high quality. Additionally, since everyone works from home it is important to maximize those times that we do spend together at the office to get things done. Although professional and strict, I do have a personally connection with everyone I work with and really try to get to know the people I work with while I see them in person. Also, because we have no formal training or introduction period for new hires, I have had to find out on my own how to make connections with the employees that I work with oversees. I have had to take initiative on organizing calls in order to check-in and introduce myself to the other people I work with around the world. Overall, very efficient and professional company; however, this environment is definitely not sustainable once the company grows bigger and it is the responsibility of everyone to try to make our working environment more cozy.

  • During orientation, my supervisors at Johnson & Johnson took the time to carefully go over the company’s credo and its importance to the workplace. They said that the credo governs everyday decisions and activities. Those who emulate J&J’s values that are upheld within the credo succeed at the company. I thought it was very interesting how important the credo is to the corporation. Many businesses simply have a credo to look good in the face of shareholders; however, J&J’s credo is somewhat of a constitution for its employees to better the life of those the company touches, whether it be in the pharma, consumer goods, or corporate sector.

    Beginning my time at J&J was naturally difficult, as is any new experience; however, my peers were able to help me if I had any questions. Every one is extremely courteous and patient. Supervisors encourage you to look for new opportunities beyond your every day tasks, and will openly aid you if you have questions or concerns. While the internship program engages you with work, it more so is about finding out your true passions, by meeting with various people within your departments of interest. For example, even though I am working in a very data driven role, I have already had the opportunity to meet with user experience designers and digital marketers to expand my knowledge of different roles within the company. Networking is a bit difficult and uncomfortable for me, but this program is rather laid back; it takes away the nervousness associated with meeting professionals. I look forward to making more connections within the next few weeks!!

    J&J encourages employees to have a healthy lifestyle, and makes it rather easy to do so. Each location is equipped with a gym, nutritionists, and personal trainers. It also has various classes, from TRX to cycling. The company also has different groups dedicated to running or volleyball, for example. Utilizing these resources is a great way to meet new people in a relaxed setting. Even this is another networking activity, even though it is not necessarily the ordinary networking setting.

    As I mentioned, the company is laid back. As long as my work is completed, it does not matter when I leave. Although I do not have a definitive work day, I enjoy spending my full 8 hours at work, scheduling meetings with new people and meeting with fellow interns. Ultimately the internship is what I make of it. I want to make sure this a great learning experience, and I can only do that by engaging in new projects and meeting with professionals. I am excited for the next couple of months here at J&J!

  • Here at AmerisourceBergen, in the first week of my internship, I learned a little about politics in the corporate world. On my first day I had access to an online model of the management chain in which I was a part of. I could see the CEO at the top of AmerisourceBergen as a whole corporation, then down to the EVP and head of the AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation, down to the SVP and head of the Drug Finance department, down to the VP of FP&A and Margin Analytics, down to the Director of the Portfolio Analytics and Solutions, down to the Senior Financial Analyst (my direct supervisor), finally down to me, the Finance Intern. I learned how the higher up you go in the corporate ladder the less actual assignment-type of work you do and the more meetings you go to. It becomes very high level thinking about the projections you are making for the company and goals you have as well as the big questions to ask. Once there is a layout of what needs to get done, the work is divided down the ladder into the separate departments to answer the “how” part of the questions, and down to the teams that handle more specific requirements to reach the overarching goal of the corporation. Even among the teams of the same department there is a priority of whom to connect and answer to. For example, a VP of another team within the finance department brought up the idea that I should work with her team’s intern on a project. As much as I would hate to refuse the request, I had to initially bring it up to my immediate supervisor because I was already assigned another project within my team. Fortunately my supervisor explained the situation to my VP and the two VPs discussed the matter and I was excused from the additional project which was not related to my technical skills in which I am trying to further develop through my team’s projects. It has been a huge learning experience to be going to constant meetings and interactions with associates at all different levels and am looking forward to further expanding my interpersonal communication skills.

  • When I first started working at PCS, the former systems administrator was my mentor of sorts. In addition to walking me through my roles within the company, he gave me valuable information regarding the employees here. Whether it was the best resource for different technical questions or who I should be extra attentive with when trying to resolve issues. He used to always say “R-H-I-P….rank has it’s privileges”. Since PCS is a relatively smaller company, there are many times that I am directly interacting with the executives in the company. RHIP definitely rings true, and when the CEO or COO has an issue, no matter how small, I usually have to drop everything else and make sure their issue is resolved promptly. I believe this is fairly common most places though, and it isn’t something that has caused me issues here. I am thankful for that systems administrator and the helpful tips he gave me.

    There are many times where I haven’t known the solution to a problem, but everyone is grateful for any and all help. They are understanding if I need to go back to my desk to research the problem and try and put the pieces together. I have found my go-to’s for certain issues and if they aren’t sure of a solution either, they are quick to find someone else who might have the right answer. So far, I feel as though I have learned a lot here at PCS. If not only furthering my technical skills, I believe I have really been able to grow my problem-solving abilities.

  • Hi Andrew,

    We had a group orientation for all the new interns on the first day at Newark where we were given the opportunity to network. For the most part there are not a lot of events happening here in Dresher, however, I can still Skype into the events. I will be Skyping in tomorrow actually to take part in a “Build Your Personal Brand” presentation for all interns.

  • Being an intern at UpdatesCentral went very well for me because of how relaxed and friendly my co-workers were. They gave me a complete tour of the building as well as access to the rooftop. However, dress code was something I had to adjust to because it was business casual or anything that was comfortable to work in. I had to find a balance between dress clothes and relaxation to be sitting in front of a computer for hours. Another tip that I was taught is to take stretch breaks and do some push-ups to keep your mind flowing from sitting down too long. The final thing I learned was were to eat lunch. I did not want to walk somewhere far and waste time so I usually got lunch from across the street and got right back to work.

    What are some of the important things that you had to find out on your own–having to do with the company culture and/or things you wouldn’t normally think you have to ask for…finding the bathroom, finding where to get coffee in the morning, etc?

  • Being a small company in a small office, I became familiar with the layout and office procedures very quickly, mostly because I was given a two-day orientation during which I was encouraged to ask any and all questions. Additionally, I work about one mile from the house I grew up in, so I am familiar with the local eateries and watering holes. That being said, the culture of the company is something that took me a little bit to understand. My first internship was at another web design company in the nearby area. At that internship, there was a clear hierarchy in the company, management constantly fell through on promises, inefficient and outdated business practices were causing us to fall behind our competitors, and there was an unwillingness to invest into the betterment of the company or employees. Bottom line, management became too fixated on the bottom-line in the short-term and that caused myself and two other employees (roughly 50% of the workforce) to leave.

    Fast forward to my current internship, my two managers are extremely supportive of my professional, personal, and educational goals. I am not asked to do anything out of my comfort zone, and if I have suggestions for the company, I am given the proper forum to offer them. Believe me, I realize that this is an extremely good problem to have and I thank them every week for letting me join the team. Although I think I’m fully assimilated into the company’s culture now, it definitely did take a couple of weeks to wrap my head around the fact that my managers genuinely care.

    On a more procedural level, developing a social media strategy for our company was something that I am currently trying to figure out on my own. I made it a point to really get to the know the people at the company before I developed the strategy so that I could share it on social media. While there’s still more work to be done, I think I am off to a decent start!

  • My internship at JP Morgan Chase & Co. started with a week long orientation in New York where I was able to meet all the other audit interns from across the country as well as meet several managers and full-time employees. The company is so large with over 260,000 employees that it is really hard to connect your hierarchy all the way to the CEO, Jamie Dimon, however, everyone values your contribution to the firm, no matter how small. The culture here at JP Morgan Chase & Co. is very professional, hard-working, and team-driven. Everyone knows that as an intern, I am not going to know everything, but they encourage us to ask questions.

    Other important things that I have learned is how serious JP Morgan is in protecting their assets and security. There are many rules about what we can use our company computers for. During my week long orientation, the presenters stressed that the company’s assets, are exactly that, the company’s assets. I learned that I should not use my computer for anything not related to my work and take cyber security very seriously. I should also expect to receive a phishing email sometime during my internship and I will be on the lookout for that.

  • During my internship I found out that we cannot be afraid to ask questions and the company culture there is key to enhance my teamwork experience. Everyone is in equal standards and the CEO will be really glad to teach anyone and give support. Also, there were people saying that we needed to know some office languages. In My Biz Consulting, we all are encourage to communicate as a family and also speak up our own ideas. In addition, I learned that we must try to come up with some resolution first and then check with our leaders. They will guide us to make our planning better and also give us insights. And so far I am glad working with them and having good dialogues with the CEO.

  • Luckily by now, I’ve experienced what Pfizer is like through my last internship, so I understand most of the going-ons around the campus. However, I can remember back to last year when I was completely new. I remember looking for conference rooms and having to read the maps that are put up around the building, but would still need to stand there trying to read the map for at least five minutes. I remember not knowing how to create a WebEx session through Outlook until I finally worked it out (it took awhile). As for the culture, I found out that the company is strongly focused on employee happiness. I figured out that working from home is common and encouraged when your attention is needed more there. I was asked to plan a lunch for my team in which we played games outside. I joined the in-house gym we have and found that to be a welcoming atmosphere, as well. All in all, I ran into many difficulties with having to work things out for myself, but I’m glad I worked through them.

  • It seems like I had a late start on my internship being that today was my second day. However, there wasn’t much “finding out on my own” that I’ve had to do so far. That may change soon next week! Before this internship, I was working part time in an IT department. Being exposed to a professional environment for two and a half years has prepared me for this internship. I will say that the hard part was having a fresh start in a new office. Being in the IT department at my previous job, I ended up developing a relationship with literally everyone in the office. Although I know it will not be possible to build a relationship with everyone at this new office, I hope I can build meaningful relationships with at least a few people.

  • An important thing I learned during my first week was how to utilize the company’s communication tools. I had never used Microsoft Outlook or Skype for Business before, and I realized right away that mastering those tools is very important, especially since my team is spread across different locations. It took some initial guidance from my manager and a lot of playing around with different functions myself, but now I can confidently set up meetings, send calendar invites, and host conference calls. Also, I spent the first week taking note of how experienced employees address certain cultural aspects, such as work hours, wardrobe, where to take lunch/how long to take it for, and things like that. While I don’t have any definitive takeaways from those aspects, I’ll say that I’ve begun to follow similar practices as my co-workers in those areas.

  • So far at NBC, I have been fortunate to have been provided with lots of incredibly helpful information. From company culture, and professionalism to using office phones, I’ve had resources every step of the way. Right from the very beginning, the HR representatives who on-boarded us have been extremely informative and helpful. For instance, I was given a very thorough intern handbook all the way back in January, after I received my offer letter. The handbook spelled out everything from dress code, to professionalism in the workplace. Closer to the start of my orientation, I also was invited to participate in a conference call with all of the other Media-Tech interns, and the HR representatives who had been on-boarding. During the call, they made it very clear that in the tech world, the dress can be more casual, but that we should always dress in business casual attire. Their point was that as interns, we should dress for the job that we want, not the job that we have. In other words, find the balance between looking professional, and completely overdressing for your work environment. Once orientation started, we had talks with executives from the various sections of NBC that Media-Tech interns would be placed. This included technology, operations, engineering and so on. I quickly found out that NBC has a very relaxed culture, and that even as an intern I would be free to reach out to an executive with any questions, should I need to. Now that I’ve started working, I can say that any questions, even as simple as connecting to the Wi-Fi have been answered and I haven’t had to struggle to find out any information for myself.

  • Here at DecisivEdge, LLC., I have learned many things in my 3 (almost 4) weeks that I have been working as an intern. First and foremost, I quickly learned that the culture of DecisivEdge was different than a lot of other companies which hire Temple students. The best way to describe it is “relaxed professionalism”. As a company, DecisivEdge operates in a way that gets the work done, without major ‘culture/social’ red tape if you will. The clothing is relaxed at a minimum, but there are many different styles in the office when it comes to the relatively small amount of employees. Obviously the dress code is changed to business casual/professional when we have clients in or travel to client sites. The environment very relaxed, as the higher ups are often cracking jokes and making sarcastic comments (Including the President & CEO when they are both on site!). The small office operates much like a family, as everyone talks to one another and the environment is very open to questions. My questions often cross practice lines (Business Optimization, Quality Assurance, and Development and Delivery), but I do not feel pressured or intimidated when I need to ask questions to anyone in any practice.
    My HR rep ran me and the other two interns through the basics the first two days of the internship, coaching us on all of the small stuff too (bathroom, break room & the snacks that we can have, and typical manner of the office culture).
    We also have an hour for lunch, so I am currently exploring the area to see what is around. I am enjoying finding spots on my own (as well as spending time at the Christiana Mall which is only about 5 minutes away!). Overall, so far I have learned a lot from both myself and those all around me.

  • When I first started in this leadership role, it took some time getting used to the flow of information and directives which come from the national activities team. After some time, I got used to it but sometimes found that the national directive wasn’t always feasible to implement at the local level. However, my regional coordinator was very gracious in ensuring that I am able to see the clear picture and understand why the organization’s culture is set-up in this way.
    This summer, I will be traveling to several offices around the nation. My first stop will be in Atlanta, GA. I am hoping that it’s not too difficult to find my way around the building. From my internship last year with Pfizer, I sort of got into the habit of starting my morning with a cup of coffee. When I land in Atlanta, that will surely be one of the first questions I ask.

  • We had our orientation for Cigna in Connecticut, and when we got back to Philly we only had a few hours that morning to get up to speed about things specific to the Philly office. Luckily, there are so many people in Philly that are more than willing to help, especially TECDP Associates who have just recently graduated college. A few of these TECDPs were assigned as our “buddies” for the summer, and they took us out to breakfast on the first day and gave us a lot of useful information that you don’t typically hear at orientation.

    I had to find the answers to classic questions during that first week – where is the water cooler? Why won’t my desk phone work? Is the laptop policy really as strict as they say it is? Am I allowed to put my lunchbox in the fridge? Are we allowed to go outside for lunch? What does it mean to “ping” someone? [The answers were: still don’t know but at least it’s fixed, yes and no, yes, yes, and instant message.]

    Other answers aren’t as simple and I’m still learning every day. One of the most useful ways I’ve learned is through talking to other members of my team in Group IT. Not only do I learn useful job information – what is Agile, what is a short term disability claim, what is a scrum team – but also I get to know people on a deeper level and learn about team dynamics and personalities – and how to navigate certain challenges when facing managers and higher-ups. In addition, I’ve tried to pay close attention to how people behave at happy hours and social events so that I’d know exactly how formal is too formal, and how casual is too casual.

    Most importantly, coffee can be found on the 3rd floor, along with muffins, chocolate milk, and the fruit-infused water station.

  • TD started with a 3 day orientation at its headquarters in Mt Laurel for all of its interns across the United States, which was a great way to get to meet some of the interns in other departments. The general feel of the orientation as well as my experiences over the last two weeks have really proven that TD has an extremely laid back corporate culture. At my first day, I actually saw the head of my department wearing a polo and jeans! I was also extremely surprised to learn how few people actually show up at the office on Fridays, as at least 80% of TD’s workforce actually works from home. While they encourage interns to take advantage of working from home, I’ll still wait a while before deciding to take advantage of this policy.
    Another thing I was very surprised to see in a real work setting was the interaction between “business people” and “IT people”. As someone who’s in the MIS program, which is designed to bridge this gap in the workforce, it was really interesting to me to see how differently people in business vs IT approach problems. I noticed that while business people tended to try to move as fast as possible over the various issues that we were reviewing in our meeting, IT people tended to take a much slower and analytical approach to each issue. They also tended to disagree on a wide range of topics, so it was really interesting to see the two different “sides” of the table and how each conflict was handled.
    Additionally, TD is really encouraging of leadership of all of its employees. Because of this, various levels of employees from associates fresh out of college to senior managers of entire departments have taken the initiative to actually befriend the interns and show them what “a day in the life” is like for them. For instance, I was able to sit in on a meeting this week between TD and a consulting company who presented TD with a multimillion dollar sales pitch. As someone who is also interested in consulting, this was an experience that I actually gained a lot of insight from.
    I also learned that socializing is a huge aspect of working here at TD. You can frequently see employees going out to lunch together, taking walks and even throwing large happy hours after work. As long as you get your work done in time, you can spend the rest of your day getting to know the people in the office.

  • Something I noticed, which may be common in any job, is I had to learn how to best work with my teammates and team leader or supervisor based on the fluctuations of their job responsibilities and individual work style/personality. This is something no one even knows enough about a new job to completely ask the right questions until they have worked at a location for enough time. So, we are talking not so much about general company culture, but about the dynamics of actual working which may have general characteristics while also shifting based on generally predictable variables. This is a skill of observation and self-management which I have to work on and develop as it is always good to keep growing and learning. Something else I learned that I needed to learn more about was just how much of the job can comply with the company cultural preference for telework. For example, the company is very much into telework yet there is not always resources available at home to do what needs to be done so telework is a great benefit but one which must be appropriately utilized and that is something that comes with experience.

  • At Motorola Solutions, the environment are very relaxing, and everyone is friendly and encourage me to ask any questions that I do not know. I was given a tour of the company during orientation on the first day. The cafeterias is really obvious. But the lunch inside the company may need a little bit effort to find out in the beginning. But I do have choices to walk around the street to find a good place for lunch. As for the dress code, there is no specific dress code. Normally it is business causal, but sometimes I also wear jeans and sneakers. I have to find the balance the two. Each employee here have a work from home day every week. As an intern, I can also request work from home, and my manager approves it. Here at Motorola Solutions, they have a Young Professional Group that is specifically to help interns with any questions. And they also arrange all kinds of social events for networking. Basically we have a normal networking event every week, and a big event every months. From the IT department, we have a IT Fun Committee. Every one in the IT department can contribute any fun ideas to help people relax. One thing I think I need to find out is here people are not expecting you follow a strict work schedule, they also do not expect I sit in front of my desk all day to do my work. They are expecting us to work more with others, not only for working purpose but also for networking and social.

  • My internship at Cigna started at Orientation in Connecticut. My first task was to figure out how to book my train ticket through the company and how I should get from the train station in Hartford to my hotel and then from my hotel to the office. I quickly learned that all of the workers here are friendly and happy to help and that all questions are encouraged. After a great experience at Orientation, I headed back to the Philly office. My first few days here were very busy getting set up, completing training videos and meeting my team. I had to figure out how to set up my RSA token, how to get access to internal company sites, how to report expenses, and how to record my hours. I also had to get caught up to speed on the project my manager and team are working on. After getting access to our company sites, such as Rally, it took me a little while to get comfortable using these sites. There were many times that I had to ask my coworkers for help about a specific function. The nice thing about my team and the TECDP program is that everyone seems to be very close and get along with one another. Most of the people in the TECDP program are younger, so they were in our shoes not too long ago and willing to help with whatever they can. Cigna as a whole seems to be that way. Everyone I have come across is super friendly and helpful. The culture is more laid back than other companies I have worked for. One thing I had to figure out was their dress code. Cigna implemented a “dress for your day” policy. I was not sure exactly what it meant at first, but after a week of asking around and observing I understood. If you are meeting with customers or attending important meetings they want you to dress professionally; if you are just working with your team you can dress casually as long as you look appropriate for an office. I am still learning so much about Cigna everyday by asking questions, observing and listening, and by doing research on my own.

  • My internship is slightly unique in the fact that I can work from anywhere with an internet connection. However there are a few things that I need to keep track of daily. Most of the communication between the employees and management is done through either Trello.com or skype messaging. I check trello each morning to see which tasks have been posted for me what I need to accomplish. Trello is interesting because you can tag specific people on certain cards and they each get notificaitons sent to their email which alerts them when something new is posted. This is how you can know what you need to perform and by when.

    Also different employees communicate through skype in specific message threads pertaining to their unique team. I check the message thread for the PPC and Marketing team daily, I also have access to designers, coders, and management if need be. There is a very flat management structure as in you can talk directly to the COO, CEO, or CFO if you have a specific question. This company is a startup and relatively new but they are great to work with.

    Something quite interesting is the fact that most of the employees are hired through a remote worker employment placing agency with workers all over the world. I could be talking to someone in Pakistan or Egypt and it would be like chatting with the coworker next door. This is very interesting because it’s the way the world is going especially in the business world. The company saves on overhead so they don’t need a large office and can just hire workers remotely from anywhere around the world. This is a growing trend with both startups and existing companies in the US and abroad.

  • I love the company culture at Summit Medical Group. I remember when I first started working there and was in the process of being trained, I was nervous to get up to go to the bathroom. I felt like I was back in school and I had to ask my supervisor to go, I guess it was just the nerves of starting an internship. One thing I learned quickly was that I was allowed to take two 15-minute breaks on top of my lunch. I always saw employees walking around the building and didn’t want to just start doing that. Turns out, it is encouraged to get out of the office for a few minutes if its nice out! I enjoy taking a few laps around the building on a nice sunny afternoon to clear my head and step away from the desk. It’s funny the question mentions coffee because I quickly learned to bring in k-cups. I am a huge fan of coffee and normally drink 2 cups a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Well, Summit Medical Group does have multiple coffee machines in our office but it is not good. I actually have a coffee buddy now and the first thing we do in the morning and after lunch is grab a cup. I did have to adapt to the dress code too, my first day I was nervous and wore a tie. Turns out, I was the only one in the office wearing a tie, the dress code was a little more relaxed then I thought. I was very excited to find out I could wear a nice pair of pants with a button up shirt!

  • There is an element of culture shock the first time you see a sea of cubicles. I really miss having control over the environment in which I work. I have always loved working at a standing desk next to a window; this is no longer possible for the foreseeable future while working at Prudential.

    Also, I realize that I have taken the freedom to choose assignments for granted. During the school year, I enjoyed working on several different web and hybrid applications, from every standpoint (infrastructure, UI, logic, programming language.) I was the project manager in that I would outsource individual tasks online to capable individuals, and put it all together myself. In my current position, I am essentially a project management intern, which means I mostly prepare reports on the progress of projects rather than partake in them.

    After spending a few hundred hours coding for personal projects, I didn’t think I would miss code at all. However, I certainly do miss creating and pushing out a product. I do work in a relatively low red tape division; we are putting together the cloud proposals for the entire company’s application portfolio. I see the criticality of the mission, as the output of our 10 man team has the potential to save several millions of dollars each year, but my creative side is not currently engaged.

  • My internship at PNC was 10 weeks and that is a short amount of time to really get to know the process there. I had a lot of trouble finding assistance or even getting to know people. Some employees were really excited I was there and allowed me to work on projects with them or general advice, but other people has no interest in getting to know me. So sometimes it was hard to get my questions answered. Another adjustment was learning all the applications and even getting security access to them. The first weeks I was lost and did not understand the applications but by the end of the summer I felt comfortable and knew where to go for help.

  • Starting off the internship, we attended our orientation in Conshohocken that covered many of the questions that we had, which eased our transition into the company. Something I was a bit hesitant about was introducing myself to the people because everyone was extremely busy and hopping on from one call to another. I started by saying “Good morning” to the everyone who walked by me desk in the morning, shortly after I started to talk to people more, and I now have great relationships with many people from different departments.
    Looking for conference rooms was another thing that was confusing, but after asking for help they sent me an online link that had the map of the entire building, which was helpful. Other than that, my manager showed me around the office building, so I knew where all of the bathrooms, cafeterias, phone rooms, and other main places were located.
    To be honest, the company culture is one aspect I love about our company. Everyone is friendly, willing to help, offer information about different areas of the company, and normal day to day talk.
    I ran into small issues with my phone, desk chair, .. I would normally turn to the person who sat right next to me for help. He was very friendly and went out of his way to solve any issues I had. I was also fortunate enough to sit near one of the interns who I knew and we frequently turned to one another for help.
    I am not sure why but I tended to ask my manager of the most simple things such as going to lunch or even to the bathroom on my first week, but my manager would say “just go, you don’t have to ask”, so I shortly got accustomed to it.
    One of the most important things I learned and have been told is to never be shy about asking questions when in doubt, which I learned to take advantage of.

    • Hey Shray! Sounds like an interesting work environment! I applaud your efforts to meet people via calls, even though you are all so far apart from one another. I think that you will learn a lot from this setting; working in a smaller company definitely gives you a better, holistic view of the inter-workings of a company. It’s also awesome how you are working with people from all around the world. Communication is a large barrier in international business, so by developing those skills you can aide in bridging the gap in global communications. Good luck with every thing!

  • DecisivEdge is an extremely comfortable work environment. The dress code is very relaxed. The first day I came wearing khakis and a polo shirt and was told I was overdressed. Everything there is very open and welcoming. Managers, directors, and even the CEO and President (who the interns meet with weekly) are extremely approachable and very receptive. I was immediately encouraged to ask questions, in fact, one of the directors told me that if the other associates came to them complaining because I was asking too many questions, that was a good thing. One of the things I learned on my own was how to spend my breaks. Most of the people in the office take a one hour break in the middle of the day and spend it a variety of ways. Some go out to eat, get take out, bring their lunch into the break room, or eat at their desks. I tried a variety of these and found that I preferred staying in the office during lunch. I chat with others while we eat, and sometimes even use the ping pong table in the break room.

    • Hey Sarikka, I love the mindset of the internship being what you make of it. As helpful as the supervisors are at my company as well, they highly encourage me to vocalize what I want out of the experience and what I want to be able to say I have learned and been able to do within the 10 weeks that I am here. They then will work around those goals and try to find corresponding projects to help me grow and achieve my goals as best as possible. So hopefully your company or team encourage you the same way and you will be able to get as much out of the experience as possible. Good luck!

  • The first couples weeks of my internship at Pound Cake cosmetics were the hardest. I had to get to know all these people I was working with, get myself familiar with the company’s culture, and most importantly understand the company’s goals and their way of getting things done.
    The office was at a co-working space, so there was a very young and passionate vibe around the office which was encouraging and inspiring as well. The creative director whom I worked with very closely with was very approachable, and he always encouraged me to contradict him, criticize his ideas, and vocalize my propositions. This open-mindness to my ideas helped me learn about myself and definitely grow as a young professional.
    The CEO would meet with me every Friday to get briefed on what I worked on during the week, and take any suggestions on how they can help me getting what I want out of the 10week experience.
    I didn’t really had to ask any direct questions about the culture of the company, instead I just gave myself those first two weeks to get familiar with the vibe of Pound Cake, and just observed every single detail of how employees interact with each other and with their superiors.
    Allowing myself the time to absorb the vibe around me, made the transition so much easier for me . It made me more comfortable asking questions and being vocal with my ideas, and that made the whole internship an enjoyable, beneficial, and productive experience.

    • That sounds really cool Andrew. What sort of projects is your team going to be working on? What sort of technical skills do you hope to develop through this project?

  • The first thing I learned was about actually getting the internship. I tried applying to multiple jobs through various websites with a limited amount of feedback. I had heard that Cross America Partners LP would often had interns in the summer, so I decided to try my luck at there. I ended up finding their HR director’s email and decided to contact her directly. Thankfully, the company was looking for an intern and I came to them at the perfect time. I learned that it is usually better to get into direct contact with a recruiter about an internship rather than just applying online. This could be through emailing them or meeting them in person at career fairs or other events.

    I also learned a lot about how culture of office level business work. I had only worked in retail previous to this internship, and some have good and bad culture. But it was different when working at Cross America. The people were a lot more friendly and the environment seemed less uptight. I think this was because we never had to deal with random customers like you do with retailers. The only customers were with people who had built up relationships. The business casual attire was nice, because I could look good but not have to wear a tie everyday. We even had casual Fridays. I really like the people I worked with, and my superiors who directed IT and Tax. I really enjoy the office space over working at a store.

    • I definitely agree with and myself have had to drop everything I was doing in order to resolve an issue for the CEO or similar executive. My co-worker taught me a very important tip with dealing with this type of situation. He says when dealing with the CEO or executives of the company always triple check your work and show enthusiasm in your task, regardless of how small it is. You only get so many chances with showing the executives what you are made of before they make a judgement on your character and position within the company. I applaud your being able to handle the pressures your job entails. It seems like you are working at a company that is really transparent with their employees, which is really beneficial and hard to come by. Best of luck!

  • Like Muhammad mentioned, AmerisourceBergen really did a great job answering a lot of the small questions about company culture during our orientation and our initial meetings with our managers. I remember during orientation the conversation about what clothes are acceptable and not acceptable might have gone on for 10 minutes because many of the interns were nervous about messing that up!
    I remember I would avoid getting coffee at first because I did not want to look silly trying to figure out how the machine worked but thankfully one morning I was able to ask someone how to use it when not many people were around yet. I also constantly had to use different maps at first to find conference rooms between the two buildings.
    AmerisourceBergen’s culture is genuinely so friendly and self-less. Everyone on my team very approachable and giving of their time for questions and training and have taught me a lot about the culture just through conversation and being with them. A pleasant surprise about the culture has been the ability and trust to come in whenever works best for you . At first I was asking my manager if I came in at a certain time and she would always say yes and then eventually explained to me that I can come in whenever works best for me as long as I work an 8 hour day and that I do not need to worry about “being late” unless there is a required meeting that is early in the morning.

  • Given that Pfizer was my first real internship this past summer, I came in with a drastically different idea of what it was going to be like. Being the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, I expected Pfizer to have a harsh, cutthroat work environment where the only thing that mattered was your performance. Luckily, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The culture instilled in Pfizer employees made the Collegeville branch an extremely comfortable and enjoyable place to work as an intern. Every employee I met, from the maintenance workers to high level executives, seemed to go out of their way to ensure I was comfortable as an intern and didn’t have any outstanding questions. Being this comfortable in the office certainly contributed to my success, as I never hesitated to ask questions or reach out to individuals that I had never met before. One aspect that made Pfizer’s culture seem so genuine was how much they catered to their employees. They implemented various programs, such as “Pfizer Fridays,” that allowed employees to have much more control over their work schedule than a normal firm would. Overall, Pfizer was a wonderful place to work due to their great company culture.

  • To be completely honest, my transition into Cigna this summer went very smooth and I always felt like I was able to ask my co-workers questions, regardless of how dumb they may have sounded to me. Each and every one of the people I encountered there were so friendly. Also, the culture was so inviting and easy to come into. I never felt like I was walking on egg shells per say. I always felt comfortable and welcome there. On the first day, co-workers took me on a tour of the building as well as the floor I would be working on so I would feel comfortable. Even if my co-workers hadn’t offered to show me around the building, I would’ve been able to catch on pretty quickly to where everything was located, due to the fact that my office was an exact square. One thing that I did have questions on was about the food options. Now because Cigna’s office was located at Two Liberty Place in one of the liberty towers, the food options were endless. They did have a cafeteria on the third floor where they offered a great variety of meals and a large area for you to eat with your co-workers. As for me, I am obsessed with food and love to try new things, so I was constantly exploring the city for new places. This is where I needed some advice from my co-workers. I made sure to ask each of the people I encountered about their favorite places to g for lunch, and then would end up either asking them if they wanted to go, or just go and catch up with them after. This really helped me make connections as well because I was investing time into learning more about my co-workers in an environment outside of work. Even though asking people about their favorite food places is not very in depth, it was very rewarding to create those connections. Aside from asking about food, Cigna and the company’s culture made it an amazing experience. I always felt at home when I was there and loved the feeling that it gave me.

    • Hey Claudine, I will be working on a Qlik based project to manage data and conduct an analysis report on what the data is telling us about our quarter and what projections we could make. The technical skills I hope to develop through this and other future projects are SAP skills and excel skills. As an MIS major I believe it is highly critical to be able to use SAP applications such as HANA, Qlik, and Tableau.

  • Certain things I’ve had to discover on my own were mostly little details. Things such as managers having their own rules aside from the main set of rules under one large umbrella. I was fortunate enough to have the ability to ask my coworkers questions whenever necessary and didn’t really experience any moments of not knowing what to do or what to expect. That being said, I did start my internship completely blind. It was my first internship and first “real” job in the professional world so I painted a picture in my head without knowing it. Little did I know, I painted a picture that was completely different from what it was really like (not in a bad way, for the most part). The main things I asked help on that I feel were monumental to my experience were regarding travel/business trips and audit procedure questions because they sparked further conversation and included details.

    • I definitely agree with you on the stretch breaks! One of my project managers brought in an electric drum kit for when we find ourselves in stressful situations. At first I thought it was a bit odd, but I find myself using it at least once a day. Sometimes even a 5 minute break from a problem can really clear your head!

    • Hey Alex,

      I totally agree on the stretch because sitting in front of the computer for so long kills patience and also not very productive. My supervisor always asked me to take a walk outside and think other things before coming back to work. This always works and I get back to my computer in a good mood and motivated to keep going again. Also, tour around the company give us a step forward to networking other co-workers and know the places. Good to hear you are having a good time in UpdatesCentral.

  • Over the summer as I was interning at a start up IT company I had to figure out all the communication methods at the company. For the most part my manager was nice enough for me to ask question frequently and get answers right away. The company used Slack for their means of communicating. Since the Company was small I could find all the bathrooms and the utilities at the office. People at the office played ping pong frequently. What I had to find out to get along with the employees was to play ping pong with cuts and spin. After gaining the cut/spin way of playing people I was able to interact with people more easily.
    Overall I did not struggle with finding anything by myself.

  • Some of the important things that I had to find out on your own was how to dress correctly. Each department had a different dress code and I learned this very quickly. In IT, it was odd to come in dress pants, a dress shirt and a tie. The norm was jeans and a polo. For finance and suit was necessary. So learning the different dress styles necessary was important, so on days where you met with other department stakeholders you knew how to dress. Some things I thought I wouldn’t have to ask about was the flexibility to leave your desk to eat or go for a walk etc. I was told as long as you have been getting your work done and you are being productive, mental breaks are encouraged.

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