Summer of Biz 2017: A student perspective
This is a guest post by Helena Holtslag, who has been a student participant of Summer of Biz. She was also our lucky intern, working part time on the Summer of Tech & Biz team to help with profile reviews.
Discovering Summer of Biz
Imagine – It’s March 2017. You are a Business student at WelTec in your third and final year of study towards a Bachelor of Applied Management, with a major in HR. You’ve only just started going back to classes for the year after close to five months of Summer break. Assessments are getting hectic and you been voted into the 2017 WelTec Student Council. The thought of ‘networking’ scares the bejeebers out of a semi-introverted you. After all, who has time for that on top of a full study schedule and all these extra-curricular activities you thought doing in your last year of study was a good idea?!
Job hunting right now is close to the last thing on your mind. It can wait.
The above scenario was my exact thought process at the start of the year…that is, before I discovered Summer of Biz!
One day, about four weeks into Semester One, my friend Steph mentioned that her cousin Nicole (Head of Product at SilverStripe) had started up a new programme for business students with HR and Marketing majors aimed at getting students into internships over Summer. The programme was having its launch party the following week and if we registered we could go along and see what it was all about. I would only give up one evening after classes and there was going to be free gourmet food platters afterwards!
Steph and I went along that fateful Tuesday evening and what happened there, ended up shaping a huge portion of my year. One of the panels at the launch was made up of previous interns in the parent internship program to Summer of Biz, Summer of Tech. Seeing their enthusiasm about what they had to say about their experience being interns and securing positions within companies because of their internships was inspirational! The other panel was a mixture of industry pros who worked in Wellington within the HR and Marketing veins. They talked with us about:
• how much they supported Summer of Biz
• the importance of networking
• how enthusiastic they were about ensuring we had internships to be placed in
Those points and their sincerity were the guarantee I needed to whip out my laptop when I returned home and create my Summer of Biz profile almost immediately. After I stayed to have some gourmet sushi, cheese and crackers of course.
What to do in between?
At the launch in March, we were told that internships weren’t offered until September/October to allow us to finish our classes for the year and then get straight into intern positions. There was 6 months in between those two major events! The Summer of Biz and Tech teams weren’t only going to use that time to get companies on board and internship positions ready. They had plans to use those months to get us, the students, even more ready for internships by holding industry relevant workshops!
My profile was approved so I began registering for workshops over the upcoming months as they came up. Seeing as I was an HR student, I was mainly interested in going to the Summer of Biz HR workshops, but simply because I was in the program, I had the option of going to Marketing and Tech workshops if I wanted to as well! All the workshops were free, in the evening after classes and run by the best of the best. The aim the workshops (of those coordinating and those presenting) was to supplement our class learning with current knowledge that those in those in the industry wanted to ensure we had under our belt before getting internships.
Summer of Biz have made it so that if you get your profile approved as soon as you can, it really pays off. In my experience, having a proofread and polished profile that is approved means that Summer of Biz Employers can view it during the programme.
Without even knowing that there were jobs going or applying for anything, I received two calls during the year from employers offering me an interview for a position! Ruth, CEO of Summer of Tech was one of those employers. That is how I got my first Internship as the Summer of Tech HR Intern! For several months I worked with the team reviewing student profiles before approving them for employers to see. All I needed to do to get that job was to come to workshops, make a good impression, make sure my profile was up to date and wait for employers to come to me!
The Big Day
Apart from having a great profile and going to workshops, Summer of Biz runs one event that is a must do – the Meet & Greet! For me, this was a chance to introduce myself to people recruiting interns from multiple businesses, all in one evening! Public or private, HR or Marketing roles, this year’s M&G had us business students covered. In the weeks before the M&G, I had already applied for the HR internships that appealed to me the most. The night before M&G, there was another workshop held for last minute preparation and top tips from previous interns who had been successful to get interviews and then internships. The M&G was the culmination of months of making the most of Summer of Biz opportunities. It was so cool to get to speak to employers face to face and lead more about the HR industry in both the private and public sectors. And lest I forget – taking home all the freebies!
The End of the Beginning
After Meet & Greet, the next step is to wait and see if you get invited to any Speed Interviews. This is the part of the Summer of Biz program that I am in right now. I have had one interview already with a company who is keen to secure their intern quickly, but tomorrow I have been invited to a few more Speed Interviews as well. Just the fact that I have been offered more than one interview has blown me away! At the beginning of the program, I didn’t know what to expect about this end of the process. Only God knows if I will actually get an internship out of it. But if I don’t, it still would have been 100% worth every moment of travel to and from workshops and all the learning and networking done at each meetup. My life and career have already hugely benefited from the people I have meet and the industry connections that I’ve made. They were only made possible because of Summer of Biz!