MIS 3581, Summer 2017–Laurel Miller

Discussion Question #6: You can’t learn everything in the classroom….

What lessons did you learn during your internship that you just couldn’t learn in the classroom or from a textbook?

21 Responses to Discussion Question #6: You can’t learn everything in the classroom….

  • Profile photo of Kayla J Herbst

    Email etiquette has been a huge thing to learn during my internship. Some components were more simple like establishing a format, or knowing who the correct person is to send the email to. However, other components were more complicated. Things like practicing brevity so people actually read your message, or knowing when and when not to CC a person on an email, or deciding whether or not an email should be present in a person’s inbox when they get back from vacation, etc. Learning to be courteous with email has been a whole new adventure, and I’m still learning!

  • Profile photo of Arlo Antle

    There are a great deal of concepts in life that would be lost if tried to be taught in a “textbook” manner, and that goes the very same in the business environment. First and foremost, the obvious answer is communication skills and general “approachability”. For one, nothing would ever get done if no one was able to communicate and articulate accurately and concisely. To understand how to talk to different kinds of people and make the communication a beneficial interaction for all parties involved indeed is a talent. Individuals who can collaborate effectively and efficiently succeed more often than they fail. Furthermore, there is most definitely an aspect of “culture” in any company out there. Different companies attract different people. If you fit in at your company, then great. If you enjoy the work and the culture, what more reason could you have to stay? Otherwise, some may clash with company culture, which may turn even the most fun job into a chore, depending on the attitude you have every day. No one ever teaches you how to analyze and interpret company culture. Does everyone take an hour lunch, or only “slackers”? What is the manner of casual talking in the office? Are you comfortable with the conversations that are often had among your coworkers? All of these things could make or break a job for someone, even if it is their dream job. Keeping these things in mind is crucial to one’s career path.

    • Profile photo of Shray Patel

      Completely agree that individuals who can collaborate effectively and efficiently succeed more often than they fail. I often am told at my job that “you are only as smart as you can effectively persuade others of how smart you are”. You can have the greatest ideas and solutions, but they are essential worthless if you can’t convince to the guy next to you of how great they are.

  • Profile photo of Kin San Lee

    I had the honor to learn about Microsoft Access and play with new software such as Infor. Most of my classes were about developing our critical thinking and how we should proceed with the project when there are issues. The most interesting think I learned in classroom was about HTML and PHP. However, working in the internship, I learned also to create simple databases in Access and link them with our system. Another useful and interesting thing I learned was to update real-time data in the Infor software. I learned that we should not be often changing real time data since the system is doing it automatically. If we manually change anything, it can “confuse” the system and it will show abnormalities. I am thankful to have a great internship and able to learn new skills.

  • Profile photo of Noah Fulkroad

    Company culture is something I’ve had to adjust to in all of the jobs I’ve had, whether it be a grocery store or a state agency. Working in a corporate environment is completely different from the classroom, and can take some time to adjust to. Although some classes, HRM comes to mind, try to inform you about the different types of corporate cultures, you’ll never be well equipped to make those adjustments unless you put yourself in that environment. Corporate culture is something that really intrigues me, as it can impact how a business functions. Making sure you find the right culture for your personality can be crucial to your happiness and success on the job.

  • Profile photo of Josh Veloso

    While the classroom helps prepare you for an internship, the most important learning comes on the job. One lesson I have learned is how to behave and communicate with different members of your team. The way you act with another analyst or associate is completely different that the way you would act with a Managing Director or Executive Director. The classroom forces us to work in teams with other classmates, however, it does not teach us how to work in teams with people with all different roles, experience, and authority. Another lesson that I have learned during my internship is how to utilize many of the firms internal applications. The Internal Audit department within JPMC utilizes many applications that are specific to our teams that no one else knows how to use or has access to. I have had to learn how to leverage many of this tools in order to complete my tasks.

    • Profile photo of Claudine Youssef

      Josh, I completely agree with you about being exposed to different aspects of team work and learning how to work with people who are on different levels of the business. Being able to navigate the intricacies of business levels and authorities is vital to being successful in a company.

  • Profile photo of Andrew H Min

    Lessons I have learned from AmerisourceBergen that I just couldn’t learn in a classroom is workplace etiquette and professional behavior. In a classroom it is not as formal nor professional compared to a corporate job and it is also hard to reach out to fellow classmates because in most cases it is not necessary. I could sit through an entire semester of a college class and only speak to 3-4 students if not otherwise required. Yet in the workforce, it is not only necessary to reach out to others in my team or other departments but it is also highly beneficial because everyone there is either in a similar career path or are far more experienced than me in a certain aspect of being an employee. I realize how much there is to learn from everyone here so I try to make it a habit to reach out to others and ask questions. It is especially helpful because they are all willing to help and understand what it’s like as a new associate. This internship has taught me how to remain humble as a newcomer but also try to learn as much as I can and challenge myself to get as much out of this experience as possible. It has also taught me to use what I know and not be afraid to voice my opinions and ask important questions which could lead to potential solutions. I believe that real life hands on experiences help me learn far more than reading examples in a text book. But it is because I have sat through classrooms and learned the technical skills that I have that I was given a chance to learn even more here.

  • Profile photo of Claudine Youssef

    The skill that I learned at my internship that I could not learn in the classroom is good communication. Working among different co workers with different personalities is an important part of advancing yourself in your career and thriving in the position that you are in. Diversity can bring different ideas to the table that might have been over looked. Learning how to facilitate, listen, and direct phone conferences and group meetings is a critical skill to have. One of the most recent lessons I learned is that you have to compromise. Sometimes the best ideas/decisions are not going to be yours and you have to be able to accept that and move along with the group for the betterment of the company.

  • Profile photo of Mohit Patel

    The truth is, what you learn in the classroom only shapes your thinking and sort of prepares you for life after school. What we learn in school is mainly based off of theory: how to react in certain situations. However, until you actually gain some experience in the work world, you wouldn’t know how to apply the knowledge and put it into practice. For example, I learned, separately, the risk management tools as well as certain risks to be aware of during Doyle’s MIS 3535 class (e.g., don’t build a data center near an airport, or even when and how to add buffers when making project tasks and deadlines). But in case of Murphy’s Law, when everything you planned for ends up going wrong, how do you react?
    During the internship, we were faced with a problem of too many people attempting to use a form online at the same time. To ensure that we do not lose any of the data, we had to quickly react by putting a temporarily hold on the website, setting up a separate form using Google sheets and Typeform, and allowing impatient users to fill out those forms. Then, we manually transferred the data.
    The quick thinking saved us a lot of time and effort; however, this is not something that we could have experience or even learned in a classroom setting.

  • Profile photo of Eli J Cohen

    There aren’t rules in business. Many companies will do whatever it takes to get the next customer but not always service the ones they already have. It is quite common for management in companies to put their interests before the customer as we’ve seen with other examples in Corporate America. Something that’s extremely important and a great way for a company to differentiate itself is to offer outstanding customer service and customer support. When a company does this they not only build customer loyalty but they are also allowing customers to recommend their products and services to others. In a world where customer support is mostly lackluster, stellar support sticks out like a sore thumb.

    Also it is not always what you know that helps you succeed, but who you know that can help open doors for you.

  • Profile photo of Alex Cicioni

    To touch up with what another student said, I believe that email is something important I learned at my internship. We all know how to write a simple email, but to make it professional and proper setup is a different story. I never used to break down my email into paragraphs or add professional details at the bottom. I also learned that deleting a sentence several times before you get it right is typical. Learning the appropriate setup for emails and proper grammar is extremely important because this determines how the recipient views you.

    • Profile photo of Kin San Lee

      I agree on the emails because most clients or coworkers do not know who we are or what are we trying to tell them. We cannot expect them to understand right away what we are trying to say. Your point in separating into different paragraphs is indeed a great way to give them a proper email. This sounds easy, but difficult to do it. Really important sharing. Thank you

  • Profile photo of Gabrielle Marie Finley

    Honestly there is no way to completely prepare for a job; the only way to “learn” it is to do it. You really never stop learning. Your first day of an internship is in many ways like the first day of a class, but less organized. You just need to stay open minded, ask a lot of questions, and listen. I’ve learned a lot at Cigna that they did not teach us in a classroom. I learned how to set up meetings and events on Outlook, how to join and host conference calls, and how to navigate all of the complicated company sites. Most large companies offer so many helpful internal tools to help you navigate the company and learn more about the industry you are in. I’ve learned how to take full advantage of these tools, such us the employee look up and organizational charts. I also have become more comfortable with planning and hosting events for my team and with creating tables and charts in Excel.

  • Profile photo of Tony Wu

    As previous students said, communication and learning specific applications are something that are best taught in a work setting as well as many others. In business communications, we were taught how to communicate effectively theoretically. In my internship experience, I write e-mails and it is important to format it correctly and to be clear as possible to get your message across. In my department we use certain applications that were not taught at Temple during my time such as JMP, Minitab, and Spotfire. Therefore, learning from experienced workers who have worked with these applications has been really beneficial for me. It is one thing to learn about a certain topic in school and it is another to actually apply the concept in a real life setting.

  • Profile photo of Sean M Dougherty

    Over the past six weeks I’ve picked up on a number of intangibles relating to etiquette. The level of formality you use when talking with colleagues of varying positions, how long it is appropriate to take for lunch, and when to speak up in a meeting versus when to listen are all things that I had to figure out through a mix of common sense and observing other colleagues behavior. No one ever expressly teaches you these things, but they are important to know so that you do not stand out in a negative way. If ever I’m in a situation where I do not know how to act in accordance with best etiquette, I reach out to my mentor to ask for advice. Colleagues who have experience and are also willing to give help and advice are really valuable resources.

  • Profile photo of Kasey L Brown

    One of the biggest things has been how to handle meetings over the phone or over Skype. We use email often enough at college, but when do we ever have meetings over the phone? I know I never have until coming to Cigna. For example, I had to learn that when you join a meeting over the phone you should introduce yourself instead of just sitting there and leaving people guessing about who’s on the line – little things like that. There’s also tons of things that are specific to Cigna that I could never be taught in a classroom. Each company has its own way of doing things, managing projects, handling documents – it’s impossible to be fully prepared from college. Also – learning how to navigate cube life has been a challenge too. You never have complete privacy and you have to remember to be courteous to those sitting just a few feet from you.

  • Profile photo of Tony Nguyen

    Over the past month at my internship, I’ve learned a lot. One of the important things I learned was being able to take detailed notes while sitting in on a conference call. I learned that if you do not have good detailed notes from inquiry that you will have a hard time filling out work programs. Another thing I learned was being able to account for traffic/unexpected events during a commute to a client site. When visiting a client site for the first time, I usually add a half an hour to what Google maps is telling me ahead of time. I hate being late and this definitely helps me get to sites early/on-time. Furthermore, Excel does not underline spelling errors. The spell checker tool has saved me a few times.

  • Profile photo of Louisa Carleton

    Company culture is a huge thing that they can’t teach you in class. How to mind yourself around peers and superiors is a skill that cannot really be taught in a classroom. Additionally, I’ve learned resource management — how to work with people and determine how they can be best utilized. Also, learning about how to work in a cube is critical — getting up and taking walks, staying hydrated, and having good relations with the people next to you can really help.

  • Profile photo of Shray Patel

    The process of building effective, healthy relationships, maintaining global and regional business etiquette, and dealing with the volatility of changing deadlines and priorities are skills that I have built during my job that I couldn’t learn from the classroom or textbook. In the classroom, we are not taught how to cold-call strangers, nor are we working with the same groups of student every day in all of our classes (we shouldn’t be taught this). There is a different approach to take to both sets of audiences that is far different than how we build relationships in college. Additionally, understanding proper business etiquette, both globally and regionally, can only be learned when “forced” into the environment. I have learned this skill by watching how other leaders interact with each other and following their actions. Finally, in college, we are given a syllabus in all of our classes with exact dates of when our homework, projects, and tests are due. In my experience at BPM-D, major deadlines are constantly changing and my priorities have to reflect these changes, which is something that isn’t the case in my courses.

  • Profile photo of Adriana Shuster

    One of the things that I’ve been learning is prioritizing at work. Sometimes meetings can overlap and it’s important to prioritize which meetings are worth missing others for. For example, I was invited to a meeting with one of the executives in my building and missed it because I had a team meeting scheduled for the same time. However, my manager was quick to point out that I should have prioritized the other meeting over our team’s because it would have been more beneficial to my learning experience here at TD. Since then, I’ve made sure to start prioritizing which meetings I can attend and which I should miss for good reasons.

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