MIS 3581, Summer 2016–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?

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

  • I have learned a fair amount of life lessons during my internship at NAVSUP. The top three lessons that have improved me as a person is speaking up, addressing my fears, and admitting my mistakes. When I first started my internship, people were speaking to me like I have been there for years. I had no idea what I was doing, but I acted like I did. This was a huge mistake and impacted me negatively. When you don’t understand, just ask for help. My second lesson is addressing my fears. As foolish as this may sound, I feared picking up the phone when I first started. I knew that if I picked up the phone, I would have no idea what the person on the other side was talking about. My final lesson is admitting my mistakes. I noticed that if you do not admit your mistakes, it will cause more damage down the road. If you do something wrong, let it be known so that it can be fixed earlier rather than later.

    • Hi Kevin!

      These lessons are great to learn and are essential to success in business! These seemingly simple things tend to cause many people recurring issues as they never confront the problems or the reasons the problems occur. The best way is to admit and address fears and mistakes, which by my experience are usually intertwined. People will trust you much more if they know you are willing to take fault for something you did incorrectly. Honestly most businesses accept mistakes because that translates to you working hard and making an effort. The way I learned it is if you do something wrong once it’s not a mistake rather, its a learning lesson. Once you do it a second time it’s a mistake you should have previously learned. Admitting to errors leads to learning opportunities more often then any consequence. I’ve had a plethora of learning experiences in my career. Now when anyone does anything I already experienced I usually have a solution on hand. No one ever learns these tools if they don’t ever do anything incorrectly then admit and learn from it.

      Did your Navy internship provide you with a similar situation as this? I’ve never worked with any governmental firms, so I don’t know if the experience there would be any different then the private firms I’ve encountered.

      Have a great week!

  • I have learned so much in the short time that I have been here at Vanguard. Professionally, I have learned better presentation, communication, and leadership skills. The leaders I have been fortunate enough to come into contact with have shown me a great deal of insight into the company and what it means to be a great people leader. I have presented three major projects to my department head as well as the principal of our entire IIG division which was an amazing opportunity. Working on six projects I have also perfected the email chain and crew chat conversations in order to keep in constant contact with the teams. Another huge skill that school does not stress is the importance of leveraging other people. To put great teams together we need to know the right people from all around the company and we needed to learn about them on a personal level in order to engage them as Vanguard crew members. Personally I have grown as well. We have done a lot of capabilities test including StrengthsFinder and 16personalities to see who we are and who we can impact the company. These exercises just added to my experience because it really shows that Vanguard is invested in me as a person as well as my professional self.

  • There are many invaluable lessons I have learned through my internship at Subaru of America. One of the most substantial lesson I learned is to make yourself heard. At first, I was expected to know all the abbreviations and the inside terms of the company which people used on a daily basis. Later, I realized that if I do not ask questions on not understanding something, it will only hurt me and no one else. Now, I am familiar with all the company terms and have an understanding of what is going on. Another important lesson I learned is how to act in a professional manner. Acting in a professional manner and communicating with high level management and directors is not something you learn in class or in textbook. Even if you were taught this lesson in class or textbook, I think it would be useless because you learn the best when you practice it yourself in real life. High level management and directors are normal people outside of work, but while at work, there is a level of professionalism that you have to maintain between you and them.

  • I’ve discovered that information I’ve learned in the classroom is only a small fraction of what is involved in running an IT corporation, and that information does not directly apply to my job or the company’s strategy. In the classroom, I learned to understand a topic in a particular way. However, I now have to constantly reexamine what I’ve learned and contextualize it with the complicated problems and tasks I face at work. I have also realized that some topics I’ve learned at school which seemed so insignificant to me at the time can actually provide tremendous insight and value at work. Sometimes the smallest things make a huge impact on my job and my team. The most significant thing I’ve learned is how little I know. Sitting in a room with people who have 15+ years experience managing something that is overwhelmingly complex is humbling and inspiring. I feel lucky to just listen to them speak and collaborate with each other.

  • Classroom learning is excellent for building a foundation of general knowledge in whichever field it is that you may be studying. However, nothing can truly prepare you for a real job because every job is different in how they do things such as what software they use, the size/ number of employees at the company, managerial hierarchy, etc. This is why an internship is so important. It allows you to get a feel for how a business operates in the real world and get exposure to several different teams within a department which allows you to get an idea of what you want to to for a career. This internship has taught me various skills that I can’t learn in class, such as how to speak with clients, how to analyze data in a real world situation, how to dress/behave in an appropriate manner, and how to complete certain documents that are used for the most part industry-wide. If I had not taken on an internship position, I believe my transition into a job after college would be a lot harder than it will be after my internship. The skills I have learned here will not only help me secure a job after graduation, but also assist me through my entire career,

  • I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my internship that I can’t learn in class is how to handle the different types of people you will encounter. Each day I talk to members on my team, low level workers and high level workers all the way up to the CIO of the company. Being able to understand their needs individually and cater to them is extremely important. I think it’s something you learn as you go but it is definitely something I was not prepped for in the beginning. For example, there are certain limits of how you can interact with each person. My group could make jokes and go out for drinks after work but with upper level workers you have to determine if it is appropriate to crack jokes, etc.

  • Hi Everyone!

    This is a difficult question for me as I learned everything in the field before I had taken any college courses. For me, the business world is something that can never be described in any textbook as it’s different for everyone in every situation. There’s never any one right answer due to the variety of mitigating factors at play all the time. Learning to deal with people and all their variety of complexities is probably the most important lesson to learn quickly. Every company has a unique culture and learning to adapt to it each situation is a hugely beneficial trait. In consulting this is quite a challenge as we work with many clients and each client is absolutely different.

    The most important lesson I’ve learned outside the classroom through business experience is to find work that I enjoy doing not what is easily and readily available. I’ve made a few transitions during my career. The moves that worked out the best for me were geared towards future happiness, not immediate monetary gain or a title bump. Happiness is complicated for all of us, so I highly recommend everyone figures out what they define as happiness then how their career can help them achieve it. When a career helps you be happy, both you and the company reap rewards otherwise inaccessible.

    Have a great week!

  • I think the thing that I have learned is that things aren’t as simple in real life as they are in a textbook. There isn’t always one answer that’s a 100% right but you have to prove to your manager that you think it is still the way to go. I also do not only use information from my major classes. Through out my internship I have referred back to my accounting knowledge and some other base level courses in the business school. You must also learn the company culture and how it works. When you hear about culture in a classroom it is hard to perfectly understand but after my time at this internship I can see what a large part it truly does play in your day to day work life. I think working full time has really made me learn to prioritize things and manage my time both of which you cannot learn in a classroom.

  • One lesson I learned from my internship that could not be learned in a classroom or from a textbook is the true complexity of organizations, both from an IT perspective, and the business at large. It can easily be said that something is complex, but one will often not understand the depth of the complexity until they place themselves in the environment and attempt to thrive in it. As an example, HIPAA regulations steer the industry I work in. Learning about HIPAA’s existence and scope is one thing, but working in a space dominated by HIPAA is another.

    As others have mentioned, another big lesson that people learn during their internships is what type of culture they prefer. It’s almost impossible to predict what company or industry is the best fit for you, let alone the size of the company, or the day-to-day of the company employees. Some students are able to do one internship, fall in love with the company, and make arrangements to work for that company full-time after they graduate. Others end up doing multiple internships before they find the right place for them to start their career.

  • Up until this point I was used to the structure of school. You come to class, learn the material for a couple of weeks, maybe take a quiz and then you have an exam. Within the first week of starting any internship or job you quickly realize how different the structure is. Deadlines are set and you are expected to meet them. When presenting deliverables or holding a meeting, its expected to be your best work – not a C+ to make it to the next round. Being able to quickly adapt to a new environment and transform your learning style is an invaluable skill that I didn’t learn from the classroom or any textbook. Throughout my internship I’ve been learning that each intern is being evaluated for potential employment at every step, whether it be happy hours, presence on social media, or through volunteering and social events. Although Temple expresses the importance of professionalism, being able to conduct yourself in different social scenarios is quite different and crucial to attaining that job offer. Finally, throughout school I was always looking out for what I needed to accomplish along my academic career. As a consultant, it’s all about the client and learning how to properly ask the right questions, listening to what the client has to say and then being able to deliver a product that exceeds and meets their needs.

    • I agree, being able to conduct yourself in different social scenarios is half the battle, and I feel as though employers look for that almost as much as they look for quality of work. Personally, I’d rather work with someone who exudes positive energy and is sociable than someone who may have a higher work output but is socially unaware, egotistical, and acts out. People need to want to work with you, nobody wants to work in a toxic work environment.

  • Although formal higher education is obviously valuable, there is really only so much that you can learn sitting in a classroom. I think I have learned more during my twelve weeks in this internship than I learned in the entire fifteen weeks of the normal semester. I learned that things aren’t always black and white, and there’s not always one cut and dry solution to every problem. Every client needs some degree of customization, and it’s a lot more difficult when you can’t just look up the answer in the back of the book. I’ve learned a lot about the value and reward of hard work in this internship, it’s been about much more than getting straight As and more about doing meaningful work to make a real difference in the client’s business. I’ve learned countless new excel functions (I thought I knew about excel before I started this internship but quickly realized there was so, so much more to learn). I’ve learned how to ask the right questions, and never be afraid to reach out to people to expand your network because most of the time they’ll be more than willing to help you. The power of networking is invaluable in the business world. Honestly, the list could probably go on forever. But most of all, I definitely learned more about myself and what kind of person I am in terms of work ethic, and who I want to become professionally in the future.

  • One thing that I’ve learned during my internship that I could not have learned from a classroom or textbook is how to work with other people to make an impact at a company as large and complex as NBCUniversal. Coming into my internship, the sheer scope of NBCUniversal was very intimidating. How could I, an intern, have any noticeable effect on a company of this size? Well, it turns out that I could have a noticeable effect by working with my fellow interns. The other Media Tech interns and myself have created a bot that NBCU may utilize in the future. We knew, as interns, that we did not have the resources to implement our idea, but NBCU certainly did. We were able to come together and formulate an idea for something that could have a huge impact on the company going forward. The whole process is something I could only have learned hands-on on my internship.

  • The two biggest lessons I’ve learned so far interning at TD in IT Audit have been the power of saying ‘no” and the fact that in the working world you can’t always control your own destiny. To elaborate, I’ll use the Change Management audit I am the main tester on that has deliverables due this Friday to EY. This audit from the start has not been on track from a time standpoint. The AIC (auditor in charge) did not request 60%+ of the evidence we needed, the client took 2 weeks to provide us with our initial evidence, and each follow up request has taken 3-5 days for evidence to return. The timeframe for this audit is 30 days start to delivery. Most of that was taken up waiting for the client to return what we needed. We finally received virtually all of the evidence Friday so I worked Friday, parts of Saturday, Sunday and all of Monday to complete the testing and documentation. Did I want to work over last weekend and be under pressure to deliver, no, but I had to complete the work for our team to be successful. I couldn’t “force” the client to get me what I needed sooner or the AIC to not make a massive mistake requesting evidence so I could work at a calmer pace. Instead, I had to adapt to the situation and find a way to perform for the team. While making my final push for Change Management I have simultaneously been assigned 2 SOX tests, 1 Access Services piece, and today 1 TRMIS piece to work on. Friday, Monday, and today (Tuesday July 19th) I have other people in audit asking me about the other work I am assigned. When they want it “now”, I tell them “no”, because the EY delivery date is this week and far more important. It is amazing how people in the working world respect you when you say “no”. For me after I tell them “no”, they realize just how much value I am adding elsewhere and “now” becomes when I have time available.

  • Although the information from the classroom is very valuable, it cannot prepare you for everything that you will encounter in the real world. During school, the work you are presenting may just be to pass the class, but in the workplace, the work that you present to management and/or stakeholders has to be your best work. A lesson I learned is that things are not always concrete. There are many ways to analyze something and that there is not always a right answer; you just have to support your ideas/analysis. Public speaking is not really my strong suit and I’ve learned that in order to be successful in this type of industry, you need to be able to talk to people. My internship at Broadview Networks has given me a great look into the business world and I hope to learn more from this program.

  • I’ve learned how better to deal with people in a professional setting. It’s hard to take things seriously at school, because it’s only school, but here, people are serious. There’s a lot of pressure on workers to perform well for the company, with the constant fear of a reorganization occurring. It’s an older culture here, and most of the employees have families to support. It’s important to read people, understand their motivations and where they’re coming from on a personal level, and respond accordingly. Additionally, I’ve learned it’s important to take on what you can handle. At school, there are due dates and deliverables with little flexibility. Here, for the good of the company, it’s important to be able to realize when the work load is getting too large and when to ask for help or pass things to others who are less busy. I’ve also gained a better understanding of what I will want to do after school. While in school, it’s difficult to imagine what it will be like to go out into the working world, making it easy to fall into a job that isn’t an ideal fit. Now with this experience, I know what kind of culture/industry/position aligns best with my desires and skill set.

  • Auditing in the classroom or in a textbook is 90% nothing like it. The work just can’t be replicated in a classroom. Dealing with a client that isn’t giving a tough time isn’t something you can learn in a classroom or textbook. You can’t learn to throw a curve ball by only reading and learning about it. Be humble, its way better than being the person that talks too much. Come to work 15 minutes early there’s no reason not to come early it looks so good. To be early is to be on time people. Also I learned a lot of leadership skills that were not taught in the classroom. Interacting with people of different levels is a skill I learned during the internship. A joke with the 2nd year associate and senior manager are different to say the least. Contacting people early and being prepared are taught but their impact and importance are really learned in an internship with tight deadlines and short windows. Auditing isn’t brain surgery no one will die make mistakes.

  • I learned and was exposed to the complexity of an international business and more specifically the IT department within a company. While at Crayola I was exposed to all different layers and facets of the business. A few things that stuck out to me was the need for communication between departments. Most meetings I attended included marketing and IT people collaborating about how to release or sell new products. In addition, something I was exposed to was leadership change in the IT department. I found it very interesting to observe the way a business can be run during a time of major leadership change.

  • Education through classroom is always great and valuable, but the experience I have had in this internship till now has been educating in various other ways. I learnt about how to formally communicate in a firm and how important it is to be accurate and confident in your work. I also realize that firms can be used to a certain way of working and it may not necessarily match well with you but with organization and a positive attitude, one can make things work. Another thing I realized is that every problem does not have a straight forward solution. If you think of a solution, you may be hit back with a million other problems. Therefore, it becomes important to organized, stay calm and solve the problem with several things in mind; without ever rushing. In college, one may brag about finishing tonnes of homework in one night. However in work, its the opposite; people care about quality over quantity (most of the time unless you have a deadline). It’s always going to be important to take the right amount of time to think and come up with a good piece of work so that the firm produces good work. Another important thing is presenting yourself right; it leaves a good first impression on your colleagues. This will lead them to think that either you’re a person who’s confident in what he does and does it well or you’re not. I learnt that the more confident and smart of a worker you are, the more they respect you. They start to trust you with bigger challenges which in turn, gives you greater experience.

  • I believe the biggest thing that I learned that I wouldn’t have in a classroom is the immense impact the economy has on people’s lives in other countries. I’ve always been accustomed to learn in the classroom about the economics and structure of the United States, but never really was exposed to the economies of other countries. In talking to many refugees, they explained to me how lack of knowledge and technology in their countries, have perpetuated a life of never having wealth in their futures. Many refugees had come to Italy because they have a better possibility of asylum then a lot of other countries, but then realize they are in a pickle. They are unable to a create a new life for themselves, because Rome’s unemployment is so high. A lot of Italians are just making it by and so the chances of a refugee finding work is very slim. A lot of refugees revealed to me that if they had been more exposed to the real situation of the economics in Italy, they would haven’t chosen to go there and in turn get stuck in a country that they can never be self- sufficient in.

  • I have learned many valuable lessons at Wells Fargo that I could not have learned in a class. First, I learned about how a successful corporation is structured and the segregation of duties that goes along with this. One of the main themes as an internal auditor I have seen is how the company is set up to mitigate any possible risks and one control is having all requests and approvals seen by multiple people. This serves as a check to make sure each request is granted appropriately and not to grant access to someone who is in the wrong department. Second, I learned about the frustrations of working with business partners when they aren’t as cooperative as you need them to be. Our business partners have main duties aside from our audit that we a performing, but auditors still need them to provide any necessary information to complete the audit and make the company as a whole better. My manager displayed some great techniques to elicit information by compromising with the business partners, then escalating the issue if everything wasn’t done in a timely manner. Lastly, I learned about the corporate environment and how to interact with co-workers. The WFAS Philadelphia office is very friendly and family-like, which is not what I expected when I first started working here.

  • I learned many thing from my internship at EY that I haven’t been able to learn in the classroom. First, I was unable to learn EY specific documentation and wording in a classroom setting. This would be difficult to learn since our courses do not cover the type of documentation. Secondly, I learned how to speak with those that hold different roles in the company and was able to network with other EY professionals in a social and corporate setting which allowed me to gain better relationships. Thirdly, I was able to understand the work flow and business process. This includes real time deadlines, third party delays, and real time feedback. This was a very valuable part of my internship since I was able to put my general knowledge from the classroom to test in a more specific environment.

  • I have learned a lot since I am at PWC and I still am. Classroom learning is very useful as it gives us the basics of knowledge we need in our respective fields. However, nothing is better than having a real life work experience. We get to learn how businesses operates in the real world and get exposure to many different industries and departments. We are not always taught in class how to use the software we use on the Job, because each job is different. Therefore the only way to learn how to use them is to get to use them on the Job. I have developed and improved various skills that I cannot learn in class during to this internship. I have learned, how to better communicate (a good communication skill is the key to an effective team work). I have also learned how to build relationship with people in general, especially with clients (when auditing, it is important to have the client’s trust so they can cooperate and ease the audit, by providing all the requested documentation) in a timely manner). I have also developed critical thinking, as I always question each process and try to understand why I am performing a task. I have also learned how to dress business casual and how to behave like a PwC professional. At PwC there is an emphasis on building your personal branding. Thanks to this Internship, I believe my transition into the real professional world would be much easier, as now I know what to expect and I am ready.

  • Some of the most important IT skills I have learned during my internship are exposure and some level of familiarity to many programming languages and software, project management methodology, knowledge about the rapidly changing insurance industry, and a better grasp of what IT architecture is.

    I have been exposed to many examples of Java, PHP, SQL, and COBOL programming during my internship, in addition to using technologies such as Splunk, SQL, Endeavor, and mainframe computing. Since IT architecture influences nearly every single part of the company, there are many different technologies and languages being used. Having a large skill set is extremely important to being an IT architect. Additionally, I found the experience of mainframe computing to be extremely valuable and useful. Many people consider mainframe computing to be old fashioned and outdated, but many large companies that do large amounts of processing still rely on mainframe computing to run their business. I doubt I would have learned anything about mainframe computing in my classes, so I am happy I was exposed to this type of technology.

    Working on real world projects have given me a great understanding of what it is like to be part of a large organization, and the different project management strategies needed to get work done. I was exposed to more classic project management methodologies in addition to newer concepts such as Agile.

    Furthermore, healthcare and health insurance is a rapidly growing and changing industry, and it was valuable to learn more about this field. There are many IT problems in this industry that require creative thinking and solutioning. Working for a major health insurance company also gave me a new perspective on issues such as cyber security and application development.

    I am grateful to have worked in the IT architecture department because I found the work interesting and important.

  • Over the course of my internship, Wells Fargo has taught me several skill sets that I would not have been able to learn in the classroom. First, I learned that it is extremely important to pay attention to not only your time, but the time others function off of. Wells Fargo is a very virtual society and I find myself working with people across the country on a daily basis. By not paying attention to their work hours, I may schedule meetings with them extremely early in the morning or cross over their lunch time when my day is ending. It was important to experience that to respect the time of others whereas in school everyone functions around the same schedule and time zone. In audit services, I learned that asking why is one of the most important things in my position. Questions are typically held off until the end of a discussion in school whereas in the field, not asking a question quickly after a response may cause you to miss key results during your interview. Lastly, I learned that there is typically a risk involved in every line of business and it was fascinating to see and participate in the process to mitigate each risk presented. With so many risks present, it was interesting to see the steps that a large corporation takes to ensure its compliance.

  • Over the course of my time with Lockheed Martin I have learned a great many things that simply cannot be taught in the classroom. A few skills that stand out in my mind are interacting with people with vastly different experience and backgrounds, and learning to work on a project with open-ended and often fluid goals. With such a large company Lockheed Martin has employees with all kinds of backgrounds, and many are not business related. At Temple many of my classes are in the business school, and as such many of the people I interact and work with are familiar with that field and understand certain business concepts. At Lockheed though many of the people I have worked with come from more of a technical background, and do not always understand business concepts. Realizing that not everyone has an understanding of business concepts and learning how to read an audience has been an invaluable skill that simply could not learn in a Fox classroom.
    In the real world it is not often you are given a project with all the steps and the expected end goal laid out for you to follow. Many times projects start with a goal in mind that completely changes as progress is made with the project. It can be frustrating to have goals, benchmarks, and requirements change frequently and often in direct contrast with previous goals. Learning to be adaptable and understand that goals are fluid, especially with such a large company like Lockheed Martin has been a really important skill that I have picked up during my time with the company.

  • One lesson that I learned during my internship that I didn’t learn in the classroom is that you should always be confident in your work. Nothing in the work place is graded, therefore everything you work on and turn in should be your BEST. I found that whenever I rushed through documents I wrote, I was never confident in it and always second guessed myself. Because I didn’t want to face embarassment with my managers, I made sure to always spend a good amount of time on my projects and documents and always recheck it constantly for errors! From then, I would always present my work to my managers with a big smile because I know I put my best effort into it and am proud of the work I just completed.

  • My internships last summer and this summer with JPMC have provided me with corporate workplace experience that I had not been exposed to in the classroom such as dealing with internal politics, working with very large processes and amounts of data, and working in diverse teams (different demographics, locations, lines of business, etc). Especially in a large company like JPMC, politics plays a huge role in how you interact with certain groups or people and how you are able to navigate different positions in general. It was really interesting being exposed to this element especially since I had not even thought about its impact before my internship. Secondly, the scale of the company was a huge eye opener. Starting at one of the data centers and moving, this summer, to infrastructure within the Consumer and Community Bank, I was able to get some insight into how certain processes have to be changed due to size of data and why standardization is so important. Lastly, working on global teams, teams of varying age groups, and working with multiple teams for the same objective improved my communication skills immensely. As well as communication, these team experiences developed my different styles of working.

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