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Margriet: ‘Only apply to internships you really want to go for, take initiatives at work and do not hesitate to come with new ideas.’

26 February 2014

Margriet Penninkhof  finished her bachelor in International Relations and International Organisation and decided to do her Master in Business Administration, Change Management. While functioning as a board member of UniPartners Groningen she got familiar with the VNO-NCW Noord network and decided to go for an extracurricular internship of 5 months at the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers, VNO-NCW en MKB-Nederland, at the Brussels office.

Margriet Penninkhof
Margriet Penninkhof

Magriet Penninkhof did her internship at VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland  in Brussels

Why did you do an internship?
In the final phase of my Master I felt the need to gain more practical knowledge and experience in the work field in order to be more prepared for the employment market. I had the feeling that an extra board year or an extra Master would not contribute to achieving this goal. Moreover, I thought that an internship would not only give me deeper insight in the practical ways of doing business but also would help me in deciding what I really wanted to do after graduation. Since the Brussels office of VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland represents the common interest of Dutch businesses and SMEs at the European Union, this internship perfectly suited my specific interest: the combination of politics and business.

What did you learn from your internship?
As an intern my main tasks were supporting the European Affairs Advisors, advocacy on specific dossiers, monitoring the EU agenda and EU news and office improvement.
First, I learned much about the organization and their positioning at home and abroad. It was great to be part of an organization that represents the vast majority of Dutch companies at the European Union. Having an insight in the dynamic environment of the European Union and all the related institutions was a great opportunity. More specifically, it was interesting to see how various citizens, organizations and interest groups get involved in the European political process because they are concerned about the impact that future EU policies may have.
Second, I learned much about myself and my positioning and functioning in a professional team. You will come aware of your own strengths and weaknesses.

What do you recommend your fellow students?
I would recommend everybody to go for an internship, even if it is not part of your curriculum as in my case. It is a valuable experience both personally as professionally. Be aware that is not always easy and that you and only you make the internship to a success. Therefore, only apply to internships you really want to go for, take initiatives at work and do not hesitate to come with new ideas. I will never regret this step; I liked it so much that I am already starting my next internship at Shell right now!

Last modified:06 September 2016 1.33 p.m.

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