“I am currently interning at recruitment company Morgan McKinley over the next 10 weeks.”
After repeating this statement countless times to family and friends upon being asked what I was doing with my life following the deferral of my university degree, I found that I was met with a vast range of responses and reactions regarding my position as an intern. Listening to stories of how people would only talk to me to communicate their coffee order, comments about the ‘bottom of the food chain,’ or endless amounts of photocopying, these preconceived expectations clearly framed my state of mind before I had even stepped foot inside the building.
However, after spending 3 months at Morgan McKinley within their Strategy division, these expectations were not only challenged, but were also turned on their head, as I experienced the reality of an internship, and the invaluable learning opportunities they can present. Take it from an actual intern, the stories do not compare with the reality.
Perhaps the most talked about preconception regarding the role of an intern, is that they are shifted to the side and sheltered from exposure to the main processes of the company, being kept busy only with minor administrative and non-technical tasks. In complete contrast to this, working at Morgan McKinley meant being placed directly within the workings of the Strategy team. In fact, having only ever experienced life as a student, I felt as though I jumped straight into the deep end of the corporate world.
I learnt first-hand, the processes in recruiting candidates and meeting clients, from sitting in on interviews, listening in on phone calls, and being included in training sessions including how to best manoeuvre the recruitment process, utilise the database and benefits of customer targeted programs such as Career Ally. Even when not in an environment specifically designed for learning, I observed insights into the recruitment industry and gained understandings about the wider markets and their sub sectors from MMK’s company meetings and reports from other teams.
Particularly, at Morgan McKinley, I felt that they especially cared and made an effort to extend and provide certain learning experiences that aligned with my personal goals. From the very first day, I was given a personal development plan, which was used over the 10 weeks to help tailor the activities I was given, to any future career aspirations or skills I desired to gain.
Office Atmosphere and Culture
An expectation that probably stemmed more from personal perceptions of the corporate work space, was that the office would be a quiet, strict and very formal environment. Again however, this notion was proven false, as from the very first day I was welcomed into a friendly, open and warm space, where conversations extended beyond team and cubicle boundaries. Bells were rung and congratulatory emails sent around the office when an employee made a placement or earned a promotion, and social events were often organised outside of working hours. I found this friendly company culture was not only contained within the business, but extended into the community, through the myriad of organised events to support charities and social change, such as the Women in Leadership event or dedicated volunteer days.
It was a common perception amongst many of those I talked to that I would have very little communication with others, with my interactions being strictly contained to my team supervisor and the occasional team member. In complete contrast however, I built connections and worked with a range of other teams around the office from various disciplines. Stemming from my desire to learn more about marketing and advertising, I was given the opportunity to work with MMK’s Senior Marketing Executive, observing and helping with organisation of publicity events, social media and mass advertising. Similarly, I worked with Innovation and Analytics teams, allowing me to diversify my skill set and understanding of industry. I was included in team and company meetings with higher level managers and stakeholders, which allowed me to see the company in the bigger picture, their projected growth and goals, and their role as part of a larger global chain.
Value and Diversity of Work
Perhaps the expectation that surprised me the most when it was disproved, was the type of practical tasks I would be doing. Following on from discussions with family, I was prepared to photocopy, file and fax for 10 weeks, and complete every minor, uninfluential and brain-cell killing task I was given.
Albeit, I found myself contributing to the end-to-end recruitment process. I wrote job vacancy advertisements to post on SEEK, wrote and edited blogs, created talent pipelines to attract clients, and created spreadsheets of candidates to send to major clients. I gained a greater understanding of LinkedIn and Bullhorn, and I could see the work I was doing was making a real impact on the activities and performance of my team. Not going to lie, some tasks could become a tad tedious and challenging, but were necessary in order to increase the ease and success of key recruitment processes such as candidate and client searches.
Additionally, my communication, confidence and presentation skills significantly developed from being part of a corporate and professional organisation, invaluable skills that in particular cannot be learnt from any university degree or theoretical education.
So to anyone thinking of completing an internship, I believe you should experience it for yourself and be surprised at the way the reality will oftentimes exceed your expectations. Personally, I would like to thank my team, Henry Harris-Hall, Asha Walsh, James Lawrence, Anika Stokes and Ruby Yeats for making my experience so valuable, though also incredibly enjoyable.
If you’re interested in finding out more about an internship with Morgan McKinley, please contact Kirstine Forrester, Talent Acquisition Specialist, on the details below.