MIS 3581, Summer 2017–Laurel Miller

Discussion Question #3: What is the most important…………?

What are the most important skills (business/technical) and people that you have discovered in your internship?  Is there a skill that you didn’t have before but realize that you absolutely need?  Is there a person that you discovered that you definitely want on your side (besides your boss of course)?

33 Responses to Discussion Question #3: What is the most important…………?

  • The most important skills that I have discovered in my internship are good communication skills and an ability to adapt. Good communication skills, especially in a technical environment, are essential to explaining what issues need to be resolved quickly. An ability to adapt to new technology and applications is also important because there are dozens upon dozens of servers and technology within Prudential is constantly being updated and changed. The people that I have discovered are those who share the cubicles next to me, behind me, and diagonal from me. These individuals I definitely want on my side because they have a plethora of knowledge, know the inns and outs of the company, and invite me to lunch every time that they are in the office. I have always needed good communication skills, however, working at Prudential has shown me that there are many parts moving toward the same goal and that you need to work as a team to move forward in any capacity.

    • Hey Caludine,

      I definitely agree with all of your points, but especially about the ability to adapt to new technology. Our company is also moving to use new applications and will soon need to train different departments which may not be so technologically savvy to use these new tools. It will be scary at first for them but unfortunately they will be required to learn and adapt to the new tools provided to them otherwise they will fall behind. With the world moving towards a data driven and technology driven future we must be willing to embrace changes and learn as much as we can about the new and improved tools presented to us.

      • I completely agree with you Andrew; Global Business Technology Solutions at Prudential has devoted themselves to giving their customers the best experience possible. This means giving technology a chance to mature in the outside world before investing and implementing at Prudential. My department is one of many dedicated to making the transition to new technologies as smooth and seamless as possible. Good luck at your internship, I hope that any changes that are implemented go smoothly.

  • The most important skills that I have discovered in my internship are good communication and troubleshooting skills. Being able to communicate effectively is important as an intern. You need to be a good listener because you are doing a lot of that early on in your internship (such as a full week of training). A technical skill that I realized was important is being able to troubleshoot. From my previous job, I was able to develop that skill and it has helped me tremendously. I definitely have more than one person that I want on my side. I definitely want the second year associate that I will be visiting client sites through out this internship and the mentor I have been given for this internship. They are key figures because I will be working with them quite frequently and I will be asking for their feedback on my work throughout the next seven weeks.

  • The most important skills I have discovered in my internship to be extremely critical were excel and the ability to reach out to others. Although I thought I knew the very basics of excel, I realized that I still had a long way to go. I have been trying to use excel without touching the mouse to select a group of data, filter the data, and conduct calculations. As far as reaching out goes, I would say I am overall an extrovert. I don’t mind having conversations with strangers or presenting in large groups, yet I do not typically go out of my way to start a conversation and initiate an introduction. But I realize that it is my responsibility to start conversations with strangers in the workforce for people to recognize who I am and to build a connection with them. The ability to reach out to others could involve asking personal questions that seek a deeper knowledge about the other individual, and eventually trying to find that middle ground of commonality in which the two of us can build a relationship. Fortunately, everyone at AmerisourceBergen has been extremely friendly and outgoing which makes it a lot easier for me to build a relationship with them.

    • Hey Andrew,

      Your post reminded me the time of my past year internship. I also did not know anything from excel and was afraid of not having the opportunity to learn it. I gladly thank my past internship where I learned a lot about excel and how to make macros and add-ins functions. I agree on what you said about we being starters of an conversation because I realize that when we start the dialogue with others, we are more likely to be able to step out of our comfort zone and have a more flexibility for networking.

    • Hi Andrew! Learning Excel can be tricky, even if we have had basic exposure to it in coursework. One thing that I have found useful is Excel shortcuts. I use this site: https://www.computerhope.com/shortcut/excel.htm for shortcuts; soon you won’t even have to look at it because it will become second nature. If you would like an additional resource, I can send it to you as well!

  • I think the most important skills in the workplace are the skills of self-awareness, relationship-building, and business acumen. First, coming into this internship, I quickly realized that the expectations my colleagues and boss had of me were far different that what I understood of myself. Some strengths that they believed I had (e.g. graphic design skills, LinkedIn Marketing experience) were actually skills that I had not possessed and vice-versa. However, I quickly realized that I really needed to understand what my strengths, weaknesses, passions, and “style” exactly was – NOT the fake, on-the-spot answers I gave in past interviews. By becoming completely transparent to myself, I was able to maximize the my potential and my team’s potential, reduce conflict, and, ultimately, I saw an increase in organizational effectiveness. Next, I realized that the skill of relationship-building is so important in order to have high-functioning and happy teams, clients, and companies. One of the main ways to build relationships is to work on building trust, which involves following through on promises, admitting to mistakes, and taking your responsibility. I definitely see myself having a better relationship and get more done with some people over others in the company solely based on trust. Finally, having a sense of keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing with a “business situation” is a very important skill to have in the workplace. Working at a small company, many of my responsibilities I have are very open to me applying what I think the right decision and strategy, rather than someone telling me exactly what to do. This involves having a very clear, comprehensive understanding of your company’s goals and business environment to make sure your actions are working towards them. This can only be achieved at all levels of the company by having transparent, influential, personable leaders. Self-awareness, relationship-building, and business acumen are the most important skills I discovered in my internship.

  • Since My Biz Consulting is a small company, I would say that the most important person is my supervisor which is also the CEO of the company. The reason why is that she is not only a good leader but also have the passion to help me to enhance my skills and teach me some new skills I did not have. For example, I learned how to see the project from a project manager perspective and how to communicate with clients to gather up good data. Giving the time I have in hand, I need to be precise and make sure to have the right information for the projects I am working on. This reminded me some projects from Temple where we needed to meet up deadlines and have everything done as soon as possible. In my internship, I learned that the most important thing in a project timeline is to have the right information which tackles the project’s main idea. Also, another important skill I learned and is important to me is how to communicate with other coworkers. This gives them an impression of who I am and how I could help them through my communication with them.

  • Throughout my time in college, I was so task-oriented that I would survey the class syllabus and list out all of the assignments & due dates for the entire semester. College and its gruesome grading system helped me develop a fervor for being independent as well as proactive with my tasks and goals. However, this work opportunity is completely different. I quickly realized that open and honest communication is one of the key success metrics in the real world. Fulfilling your task requirements is one thing, but being able to effectively communicate any problems, feedback for improvement, or even being able to follow-up with others is very essential. I have always been outgoing so it was not too big of an adjustment traveling and meeting new people. This opportunity has really allowed me to expand my network of connections all while learning new things each and every day.

    For someone that I definitely want on my side, I would say that it would have to be my co-worker, Pavan. He was born and raised on the opposite end of the nation; therefore, he has a very unique approach to daily work. His vast knowledge of IT has made it easier for me as I help with the project management end, while he handles the technical requirements. I am hoping that we are able to further enhance this friendship during the duration of this project.

  • One of the most important skills for my position is problem solving. I am the go-to for any hardware or software failures across the company. My boss works remotely and is available via Skype messaging and phone, however 90% of the time I must find a solution to issues myself. I’ve become much better at troubleshooting issues and exhausting all of the resources available to me before reaching out for help. Which brings me to another skill that I have found to be valuable here at PCS, knowing who to ask for certain questions. As with most companies, there are individuals who have become subject matter experts on certain issues. As one of my other posts mentioned, the former system administrator was a big help with giving me the low down on who those best resources are for different issues. I’ve found myself reaching out to these individuals and have been successful in getting the correct answer. These people are resources that I must maintain good relations with in order to gain insight into different areas of the company.

  • What are the most important skills (business/technical) and people that you have discovered in your internship? Is there a skill that you didn’t have before but realize that you absolutely need? Is there a person that you discovered that you definitely want on your side (besides your boss of course)?

    Networking is key. To be honest, the position that I am currently working in is not necessarily where I see myself. Rather than completing data entry and working with enterprise resource systems, I see myself in a more so creative and hands-on role. Even though I may not necessarily like the role that I currently have, being at a huge company like J&J allows me to expand my horizons beyond my given department. Networking with those who are in creative roles has pointed me in a direction that I want to assume once graduating. Additionally, meeting one person opens a whole entire network of new people. I am constantly meeting people from departments in Florida, India, New York City, and more. I even am planning a trip to see J&J’s design facility in New York City. These are opportunities that I never would have thought I could have by simply working as an intern here and voicing my desires. J&J wants you to network and prides itself in engaging employees to find what truly is passionate for them, something I have found incredibly helpful, especially because I am so indecisive about my future goals. Networking is giving me exposure to roles I never even knew existed, which is something I value tremendously. I also am becoming increasingly comfortable with speaking with professionals, something that I was apprehensive about prior to starting my internship.

    Today I had a 1:1 with a VP of my department, which I found incredibly helpful. Everyone that I have spoken with told me to speak with him, especially because of my interests. He gave me a list of contacts I should speak with. He even introduced me to another professional, who I had a 1:1 with right after our meeting, because I expressed interest in shadowing someone in a different department. I would like to continue this relationship because I feel like he would be a valuable mentor during my internship.

  • One skill that has been important so far during my internship is reading and note taking. My team uses a number of IT systems including HP Service Manager, Oracle Business Intelligence, and a few others. As an intro to these important systems, I had to read through lengthy user guides. This task was overwhelming at first, but by reading slowly and taking simple notes I was able to digest and understand the information. In addition, the ability to collaborate effectively has been very important. I am working on a project with other interns that tasks us to come up with a creative solution to an open-ended health care problem; naturally, the nine of us have very different ideas on how to arrive at a solution. It has taken effort from each of us to work through these ideas and arrive at a consensus, and also to delegate role assignments.
    I’ve found the full-time associates who were summer interns in recent years are very valuable mentors. They can relate to my current experience, and provide advice that is honest and helpful. So, they are people I want to learn from and want to be on my side.

  • The most important skill that I became proficient with is time management. I knew this was important, but never really knew how to implement it when having an internship. With each passing week and project handed to me, I learned to manage school work around my internship and vice versa. Along with this, I also found time to maintain a social life as well which can arguably be equally important. Besides the boss, keeping a well-rounded relationship with all my co-workers was the best opportunity. I showed no favoritism to any one person and got along with everyone well.

    • Hi Alex,

      I agree with you. Time management can be a very important skill. During a semester balancing AIS, classes, work, and a social life can be very challenging. I am glad that you have mastered such an important skill.

    • Great point Alex, time management is probably the most important skill to have. You may have multiple projects with multiple deadlines to meet. To prioritize and effectively manage your time can make you a lot less stressed.

  • The most important skill that I discovered is good communication skills. Especially in the internal audit department, good communication is not just a plus, its absolutely crucial in completing an audit. As an analyst, it is really important to be able to understand and communicate to stakeholders in order to obtain the needed information during a meeting. Additionally, a big part of my job will be to complete work paper documents describing my test steps in the audit. I need to be able to effectively communicate on paper exactly what/how/why I did what I did so that someone unfamiliar with a certain technological process will understand what I did.
    Another important skill that I will need this summer is the ability to learn about a technology or process quickly enough so that I have a complete understanding of the audit testing I will be performing. Without understanding the business and process, I will not be able to know if I find an issue. It will be important for me to ask questions, utilize my team members, and know that I do not know anything.

    • Josh, I think you make some great points about communication! I commented on Kasey’s post saying the same thing, communication in any job is important. Whether it is asking questions, retaining information or sending emails, these are things as interns we must be able to do.

  • In my opinion, the most important business/technical skill is thinking critically. This is so crucial for both the business side and the technical side. It becomes even more important when you have to “bridge the gap” between these two worlds. Thinking critically helps to cut away “fluff” and enables a team to understand more fully what the issue is, or what options they have, or what the most important task is to complete, etc. The most important people skill is being able to small talk with ease. If your co-workers cannot connect with you or feel at ease with you, this can be a severe disadvantage. Feeling intimidated by a person because they don’t know how to communicate well, like talking about family, friends, the weather, etc., can hinder progress in a working relationship.

    A skill I didn’t have before but realized I needed is really more of an attitude or mindset. You cannot be afraid of making mistakes. Personally, the more I fear messing up, the more likely it is to happen. When I dive in head first, without fear of making mistakes, I perform so much better. I have realized that this is crucial for me. Finally, the person you need on your side is the guy/gal who is well connected throughout the company and who loves to help! I work at both Temple (during the school year) and at Pfizer, and in each instance, I can think of two people exactly who fit this description. I’m lucky enough to know them well. Not only do they seemingly know everything, but they love to share their knowledge and help others. They are key players on their teams and they are great conenctions to have.

  • For my position there are several different skills that you need to succeed as a media buyer, or as a member of the marketing team. The most important skill is being able to read data and make intelligent decisions based on the hard numbers and not based on “feeling”. The objective for each marketing campaign is to generate a positive ROI and this can be accomplished by isolated specific factors that will determine proftiability. There are tools that help us with this and this is what I focus on in my day to day operations. Everything that I do is focused on generating a postive return on investment per campaign so It’s paramount that I can efficiently react based on the campaign metrics. Some of the metrics that I look for are watching the spend of the campaign versus the earnings. The way the paid advertising industry works is that every time a user clicks an ad the advertiser is charged a dollar amount. My main job is to generate more money per click they we pay per click. These metrics are called CPC = cost per click and EPC = earnings per click. If your earnings per click are higher than your cost per click you are in profit and can then scale your campaign our to generate as much profit as possible.

    The person that I like to ally myself with is the CEO because he is very flexible and supportive, he gives me goals and allows access to anything I need to reach those goals. Another individual that’s very helpful has been the main coder who overlooks some of my websites and just makes sure everything is running smoothly as the position does tend to be very technical in certain instances.

  • The most important skill is to adapting to the softwares they use and also communication. In my department Global Data Operations, my coworkers use a variety of statistic softwares such as JMP, Minitab, and Spotfire. These statistic softwares are similar to the software R/RStudio which we used in MIS 2502 if I remember correctly. Initially when I was introduced to these softwares the transition was not as hard because I somewhat have a sense of how to use it such as creating charts and making it spit out descriptive statistics. Communication is key everywhere, if you are having problems it is best to address it or else no one will be able to help you. There are definitely a few people who I want on my side because I am doing similar work to them therefore, I want to build a good connection with them and learn as much as possible. Everyone here I met so far is willing to help me and I am grateful to work with them because coming in as an intern, I will not know everything.

  • I have already learned many valuable skills since starting at Cigna. One important skill needed to succeed is communication. Each individual on our team has a unique personality and a unique set of skills. In order for the team to function properly there needs to be full transparency and communication from the project manager, scrum master, developers, testers, and the business people. I have observed that having quick, daily team meetings in which everyone can fill in the team on what they accomplished, what they are working on and what the need from other team members is an extremely valuable tactic. This way the business people and technical people can make sure they are on the same page. If the technical people build something that does not solve the business problem or that the business people cannot use, no matter how cool it is, it will be useless. Learning the Agile methodology and how it actually looks in a large organization was another important skill I learned. Understanding how the teams actually work and how to take quick, easy to understand notes that update the team on what each member accomplished and is now working on is another valuable skill.
    It is really important that I stay close to all of my team members. We work so closely with one another every day that it would really hurt our project if members did not get along or were no close. Also the other individuals on my team know what needs to be accomplished every day, understand that some of the work is difficult or complicated, and are willing to help me out if I am struggling with a task. Another group of people that are great to have on your side are the other TECDP members, both interns and full-time workers. Everyone in TECDP forms a support system; we are all in the same boat at the end of the day and want our organization to succeed. Also it is nice because all of the people in TECDP are young and recently out of school, so they are very easy to relate to. Last but not least, the security and maintenance people are always great people to befriend. They are so nice and friendly and can really help you out when you are in a tight spot. For example, I am a forgetful person and they are always there to help if I leave my badge or desk key behind.

  • One of the most important skills I have learned so far in my internship is the importance of networking. At TD, there is a huge emphasis on taking occasional breaks from your work and giving yourself time to take walks with coworkers and get to know your coworkers a little better. It’s actually considered a bad thing if employees have their headphones in and don’t interact with the people around them. I’ve taken the initiative to start floating around the office (no permanent desk space) so I can meet new neighbors every couple of days who I normally would never see from my section of the office.
    It’s also necessary to have the skill to overcome numerous cultural boundaries. Especially in IT, a huge percentage of the workforce is from overseas and unaccustomed to the English language and etiquette, so it’s important to work together as a team. Many times, this even translates to different ways of thinking which can be beneficial for a team that is trying to brainstorm solutions to a problem.

  • I’ve learned that one skill I absolutely need is the ability to ask good questions and get explanations that make sense to me. A lot of times, I’ll ask a question about something technical or specific to my team, and the person who answers my questions won’t realize that their explanation is full of jargon and terms I’ve never heard before – often making me more confused than before. At first, I’d just nod my head and pretend to understand. But now I am learning to try to restate what they said and ask more questions until I understand what they are saying.
    One person I definitely want on my side is my “cube neighbor”. He’s a scrum master for Group IT, and though he’s only been at the company for 2 years, everyone seems to know him. I want him on my side, not only for his networking ability and many connections, but also because of his knowledge of agile and his ability to explain difficult topics.

    • Being able to effectively communicate and get valuable information out of employees is so critical. You don’t want to ask one person a question and have to ask the same question to another employee because you are still confused.

  • Nearly three weeks into my internship with NBCU, I have found a very significant skill that I need to work on. This skill is, taking any work that I do, and looking at it from a high level to start with. When I started my first project, creating a service catalog template, I was too focused on the little details of the project. Being eager to dive into my work, and produce quality results, I did not properly prepare myself. I didn’t take the time to ask questions like, “What is the overarching goal of this project?” , “Who are my customers here?”, “Who is my intended audience?” and “How does this work fit into the scheme of how the Open Platform Technology team serves NBC Universal?”. What’s great about my bosses are that they care very deeply about helping me succeed. After my first day working on the project, I asked my boss for a meeting to discuss the project more in depth. He very quickly realized that I was spinning my wheels because I wasn’t thinking about the project from a high enough level. Not only did he help me understand the overarching purpose of the project, but he gave me the freedom to create my own template from scratch, and be as creative as possible. This freed me up my creative juices, allowed me to be less concerned with the little details of the project and propelled me to make tremendous progress in the two weeks since. What’s great about developing this skill during my internship, is that it will help me in everything piece of work I do in school and my future career.

  • One of the most important skills needed for my internship at Summit Medical Group that I noticed was excel. Everyone in the company uses excel in one way or another. Having advanced excel skills is crucial because not everyone is that advanced with the software. I am working with the Revenue Cycle Integrity Systems Analyst Team and taking the online excel class and Data Analytics has been extremely helpful. I constantly use things such as vlookup, text functions and create pivot tables. I thought I was good at excel and soon realized I had a lot to learn. I was familiar with the basics of excel but needed to and still need to improve. The employees I work with are so much quicker with excel and just know their way around the software better than I do. One skill I didn’t realize that would be so critical is my ability to send emails. Not actually sending them, but writing clear and concise. Taking business communications definitely helped, I never expected the volume of emails I would be sending. The people I realized I want on my side are the entire Revenue Cycle Integrity team! Besides the systems analyst it is good to have relationships with everyone I will be working closely with. They have all been there for years and being the new guy, I just want to fit in!

  • For me the skill which I need to work on is less about being competent in the work I’m assigned and more about being competent in the “soft skill” of being a “good employee” working for my particular supervisor within the context of my specific work circumstances. When situations arise where I need to evaluate unexpected information, I must always remember to think about not just what is the best approach but what is the best approach for my particular supervisor as that person envisions my assignment and the work. While I would like to think that I can figure out what is the optimal path forward, I have to learn to step back and read between the lines of my instructions and determine if I fully grasp how my supervisor wants me to complete the task and if I need additional information from my supervisor about the job to complete it in a way that is satisfactory. Of course, I’m not an automaton and there is always room for my own creativity. I just have to make sure that work personalization is expressed in a way that doesn’t undermine my long-term relationship with my superiors nor damage the company. There is a balancing act here that I think will develop with time and will involve lots of trial and error. I do think, though, this aspect is just about as important as anything to doing the job to the best of my ability and in such a fashion that positions me for advancement.

  • The most important skill I discovered is communication skills. It is essential for networking. And for my role, data scientist, it is important to communicate with stakeholders and developers. I need to communicate with business partners to understand business process and I also need to be able to show them how to use tableau, where to get data, and what they can do with data. On the other hand, I need to communicate with developers to make sure they understand business requirements and they can have the data ready. Another skill I need for the summer is Tableau. Since it is data analytics tool for the whole company. I will need to know how it works both Tableau desktop and Tableau Server (such as how to connect to database, where to find the server, how to save and share, etc.) The ultimate goal of my team is to make sure data is available for the whole company to use and we will show them what data can do.

  • From the time I was in elementary school, I have never been an outgoing person. I consider myself a good communicator and part of the team when I get to know people, but it has always taken a few weeks or months to get to that comfort level. At this internship, my supervisors always encourage us to be a little uncomfortable and actually the one likes to quote David Bowie by saying, “Someone is at their best creatively when they’re in the water and their toes are barely touching the bottom.” (Yes, he is a Bowie fan, haha). But I take that little quote very seriously because I think it’s effective. Going a little bit out of my comfort level to talk to business professionals is definitely a skill that I am getting better with, but still have much progress to go. As for a person that I’d like on my side, one of our friendly-competitors is a fairly big influencer in our local industry. Besides his deep pockets, he offers great advice to my supervisor and myself (the two of them are good friends from childhood) and is great person to have on our side!

  • Sorry everyone for the late reply! I believe the most important skill I have discovered so far is to simply try your best to be sociable and approachable. What is really going to make a difference in these internships are the connections that one may make along the way. I work in a small office, so I essentially have branched out and spoke to everyone in the office at least a little bit. When I have my weekly conversation with the CEO, he often tells me to cherish and maintain these relationships beyond the internship, because of how many times people from his past have proven useful in the future. That being said, I think you really want to have everyone on your side, or at least as many people as possible. There is no such thing as having a network that is “too big” and therefore connecting with people should always be at the forefront of your mind. My recommendation to anyone going into a new internship is to not feel afraid or intimidated. I know it is a hard task and feeling small in this corporate fishbowl is difficult, but once you get over that initial hump, the rest is fairly smooth sailing. As long as you are a pleasant person, people will want to be your friend or acquaintance!

  • The most relevant skill in my internship so far has been preparing excel sheets and wording emails in a professional yet effective manner. I send a lot of emails to people in the director/ VP level and I have to make sure that several criteria is being met. Each email must be succinct, professional, and complete. Each spreadsheet must clearly display the relevant information, minimizing extraneous data.

    Also,sometimes short emails from higher ups can be confusing to decipher. It is important to deliver exactly what is desired without pestering for further details. This requires significant into the person you are emailing, the project, and their desired purpose.

    If my biggest problem was complex SQL queries and learning new syntax I would be in heaven.

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