Find out why Alumni Natalie Bright's virtual internship came at the right time in the first part of a three-part series. Read her story here!
A Typical Day on My Virtual Internship – Part 2/3
What is a Virtual Internship?
You might be wondering what a virtual internship actually is, or what it encompasses. Honestly, walking into mine, I wasn’t too sure myself. I’d previously undertaken in-person internships, so I was basing most of my expectations on those experiences, alongside the information Virtual Internships had equipped me with.
The Difference Between Virtual and In-Person Internships
Truthfully, there aren’t huge differences between in-person internships and virtual internships. In both cases, you become fully immersed in company culture and take on a range of different tasks with the guidance of a manager. The main difference for me, aside from the privilege of working internationally and interculturally in new, unexplored markets, was that my remote internship involved far more independence.
Let me explain…
Starting my Virtual Internship and Understanding What It Involved
On the first day of my remote internship, I hopped on a Zoom call with my manager and we had a long discussion about my role, my tasks, and expectations (such as KPI targets). After our initial conversation and an exploration of all the platforms, spreadsheets and documents that were prepared for me in advance, it was over to me.
There’s a lot of trust and independence involved in a remote internship. For instance, I was working remotely in New York at the time, with a three-hour difference from my boss in San Francisco. There were also other employees based in Paris, so, although help and assistance were always generously offered, direct communication wasn’t always accessible, and I was expected to get on, manage my time effectively, and deliver results. That isn’t to say that I wasn’t in consistent communication with my team, but it was completely different from sitting in an office in front of a supervisor/manager.
Personally, I loved this independent structure. I was able to discuss my day and any potential roadblocks with my manager every morning, and then roll through my tasks and take any further initiative as I saw fit. Also, I believe this level of independence really helped me in two ways:
- To develop my transferable skills and prepare me for the realities of the emerging remote culture of work.
- It allowed room for creativity to blossom. For instance, I was often in communication with my manager about new ideas and alternate ways to bolster the company’s marketing initiatives based on daily, independent learnings. This isn’t something that is necessarily explorable (as much) with in-person internships as micromanagement often takes precedence (understandably), diminishing self-explorative ways of learning and working.
Overall, I loved the structure and culture of my virtual internship.
Interested in grasping what a typical day looked like for me? Read on.
A Typical Day for a Remote Intern
My virtual internship was planned for the entire month, with my manager having laid out different targets for each week. As such, my day-to-day would involve dedicating segments of time to different projects to ensure goals were met.
What My Virtual Internship Involved Day-to-Day for the Month
Every morning, I would start at 9am – this wasn’t a delegated clock-in time, but rather one I was familiar with in my own country. From the start of my internship, however, it was communicated to me that I was free to work any hours I like, as long as my contracted hours were met.
To begin my day, I would start with a review of any overnight activity that had occurred online. I would then reflect on my to-do list and make any alterations necessary based on that activity and my weekly goals. I would then get stuck into my first task, and, afterward, head into my 11am meeting with my manager. After my briefing, which would usually last 30 minutes, I would get stuck into my second task and then take a well-deserved lunch break.
After lunch, I would then get my head down for the remaining four hours of my day, cracking through the rest of my tasks. Typically, I would complete four to five tasks in an afternoon, which is where I found a lot of time, breath, and opportunity to not only deliver but explore new initiatives during tasks that could help the department and the company at large.
At the end of the day, there was no sign-off process. I was trusted and free to wind down, ready for the next day. It was a really relaxed and rewarding structure – one that undoubtedly prepared me for the level of independence that is required at work, both in a busy office and remotely at home.
Overall, that was the typical structure of my day, and before I knew it, I had come to the end of my internship.
You might be wondering what happens next or whether a virtual internship was even beneficial in my full-time job search.