MIS 3581, Spring 2018–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?

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

  • Business policies that are specific to the organization can’t be learned in school, typically throughout the interview process and during the first two weeks of onboarding the new hire is exposed to the business policies that shape the culture. For example, HR policies such as hiring, benefits, training, and personal time off. As an employee and new father working at GE, I’ve learned they’re policy around paternity leave is extremely generous and follows the FMLA standards for length of leave with the added benefit of being fully paid. The longer one is with a company the more business polices they understand, such as quality, procurement, and/or marketing policies.

  • Dealing with different types of people in the real world can’t be taught at school. Since I want to become a project manager, it is important to know how to manage people. There are various different personalities that need to interact with each other within a project and I must learn how to get someone to do something for me even though I am not technically their boss. I have talked to many project managers at Independence Blue Cross and they say that to become a project manager you must learn how to interact and manage different types of people.

  • Selling products in the e-commerce is the things that I could not just learn the classroom. In class, we usually study about what is digital marketing, e-commerce, how it looks like, how can we figure the strategies for it but we did not learn the real-life skills of it. As working in the SEO position, I have to deal a lot with e-commerce skills. I started learning different new skills about this area that I had not learned in class.

  • There are two things I have learned at work that did not learn in a classroom. These are planing and great listener. As a project manager, data analyst and sometimes UX designer, it is very important for me to plan ahead of time and listen very carefully to the requirements that are asked to be completed. I work for one of the largest market units at SAP and report to multiple managers. In MIS 3535 and 3506 we talk about the importance of these two set of skills but putting them on practice is a whole new world. It has also improved my critical analysis skills to understand that every person is a new challenge. People work differently and is my duty to adjust to these changes.

  • Some lessons I learned during my internship is to make sure I am always organized and how to deal with different kinds of people. During my internship, I would be working on multiple projects and I would have a lot of work to do. I would use google calendar a lot to manage my time efficiently so that I can do my work as well as attend meetings or anything else. Also, while at my internship I learned how to deal with different people and how they like to interact. Some people were extroverts who I could just walk up to and start a conversation or talk about my projects with, while others were introverts who would rather just use slack to communicate.

  • One of the most important lessons I learned during my internship was the importance of tailoring communication. It is hard to know how to deal with different types of people, whether it be different personalities or different levels of authority, and I never learned any of this during school. I realized that different verbiage must be used for external communication, versus internal communication. Knowing what to say and how to say it to clients was especially challenging. I had to be very careful with wording, and sometimes it can be challenging to ensure communication is efficient, effective, follows firm guidelines, etc.

  • A lesson I learned during my internship that I just couldn’t learn in the classroom or from a textbook is that you need to always be prepared for your schedule to change. In the classroom, you usually will have a strict schedule that won’t really change much, but when working in this internship, I quickly learned that my schedule will be constantly changing. There are always new assignments and events that pop up out of nowhere that need to get done. In the classroom, you know everything that needs to be done and when from the beginning of the semester, but in the workplace it is not like that.

  • One important thing I could not learn from class was the method of organizing my code. For my MIS 3501 class, I had written a lot of code but could never organize the code I had written in a proper way. Organizing code requires a lot of commenting and maintaining a consistent pattern so that another coder can read your code properly. In my internship, however, I was given proper instructions on how to organize my code and I could see how my code was used by senior analysts. This motivated me to get into the practice of properly organizing my code and adding sufficient comments to make it comprehensible for other coders.

  • One of the things that I observed during my internship is that you need to continually learn and test things on your own. As one of my mentors said, being in the security field is not a 40 hour a week job. You always need to be reading about the tech industry and other complimentary industries to be up to speed with the current technology and security vulnerabilities. The most important thing I learned, is that I need to continually learn more to be able to adapt to future industry shifts and changes. One of the things he recommended is that I read not only things related to tech field, but others such as science and psychology journals.

  • Something that comes in handy with working is organization and good note taking. I find that the best tool for this is OneNote. I work on several different projects for my internship and I find that its impossible to remember each detail without writing them down. OneNote has many features that allow users to organize in a way that works best for them. With organization and notes, I am always able to answer questions on projects, even if I do not remember the answer off of the top of my head.

  • There are a lot of things that I have come across in the business world that I have had to teach myself. In the classroom, we learn about the basics, anything and everything that serves as an introduction to the field we want to pursue. But what happens when we exceed the breadth of which we have learned? Throughout my MIS courses, we have learned a whole lot about integrating, making things easier to manage, and how to leverage disruptive/innovative technologies. But when I actually came across these things in a real life scenario at my internship, I quickly realized that some things aren’t always as they seem. For instance, learning about integration and automation can only take you so far. Actually creating a workflow that simulates and executes this process is another thing, and this is what I had to teach myself in order to carry out some of my internship goals. Another example of this is some 3D printing classes that I took when I used to work at NextFab. Still classroom education right? Well, currently I am working on custom 3D print designs for a few clients and needless to say, the classroom knowledge has not nearly prepared me enough. I have been working on my own to teach myself how to do things and troubleshoot issues that I’ve come across. Fortunately, the internet is a wonderful place. Some say we don’t even need school, because now a day’s, everything is on the web…

  • Organizational skills cant be taught in class. Everyone has different way of organizing their documents and appointments. Some use planners some use straight memory. I found simple technological tools like outlook calendar and to-do list was very important skill that came handy. Secondly, As I was in charge of managing my department’s JAM site platform is similar to a word press drag drop site. I did not learn the platform in class but fortunately SAP had plenty of tutorials or me to learn this from.

  • A lesson I learned during my internship that I just couldn’t learn in the classroom or from a textbook is that you unexpected changes can arrive at any time. Through most the project that I have worked on at my internship problems have occurred at all times. Such as key employees leaving the job and ability to pick up where they left of from an continue the project because things don’t just stop because someone exits the project. Also sometimes things don’t go the way they are supposed to and you have to be ready for change at all time. While in a classroom most things are set out and not a lot is unexpected. These have been challenging skills that I have been able to learn throughout my internship rather then the classroom.

  • Not everything is learned in the classroom. I see that more and more every job and activity that I participate in. Something that I learned outside of the classroom and in my internship is that not everything works on the timeline initially created. Things come up, people are on time off, or there is another pressing issue. Working with an attitude of being flexible and willing to cut back or push harder is important.

  • The real experience and feeling when managing different projects. When i first taking project management courses, it lectures us how to effectively deal with obstacles in the project. At first i do not feel anything until i actually start managing projects during my internship. During the projects i encountered challenges because the software does not meet the expectations of the stakeholders, and some stakeholders don’t really understand the purpose of the BI applications. At times it does feel frustrated sometimes, but that is the time you have to be patient and observant of why they feel reluctant to changes. Moreover, the politics and culture is really important on having a nice experience in your internship. By gaining knowledge and experience on these aspects, i gradually find myself being more comfortable in a position i don’t feel comfortable when i first start my internship.

  • Something that I learned during my internship that I couldn’t learn in the classroom or from a textbook is scheduling/ time management. The ability to independently create your own schedule is a vital skill in the business world. I am a person who tends to get bored very easily, so I needed to plan my time accordingly so that I could switch seamlessly between projects and assignments. Although scheduling may not seem like a topic that is expensive, it is an important skill because work completion is always a number one priority. It is also important to schedule around other people’s schedules because they could be very busy, or unavailable.

  • Some of the skills that I’ve learned specifically from my internship are skills that I’ve gained from interacting with more complex computing systems. One person can only really afford so much in terms of computing power, so the only place you can get true experience with a lot of these larger platforms is through working for a firm that utilizes them. There’s only so much knowledge you can really get from reading a book about them, so until you work in an environment that lets you get your hands dirty, you don’t really get the full experience using that platform. Lastly, you definitely don’t learn about soft-skill workplace social issues in a textbook, or at the very least, you can’t learn from them the same way so that’s been something really helpful to learn from over the course of this co-op.

  • Something I learned at my internship that I couldn’t have learned in the classroom was how to communicate out data findings. Being an MIS major, we are very skilled on how to interpret data in advanced ways. Yet, not everyone is as advanced with reading data as we are and you have to come up with new ways to get your point across without confusing anyone. This has taught me a-lot about data visualization, using visuals to help interpret the data. Having heavily used the Microsoft Suite at my internship, powerpoint and excel worked great and allowed me to easily create charts to help understand the data. Still, though, these can be a little overwhelming at first glance which also helped me learn how to effectively call out a data point. Given at any given stand there are over 500 “chargeables” creating callouts helped me pinpoint exactly where I wanted my audience to pay attention.

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