Milou Nijhof finished her bachelor in Business Administration and decided that it was time for a change. The opportunity to do an internship at Shell presented itself and she decided to leave Groningen and move to Rotterdam to gain working experience at Shell. She is currently doing an extracurricular internship of one year at the Retail Marketing department and will leave Shell in July 2014 to do a Double Degree Master in Change Management and HRM.
Why did you do an internship?
I finished my bachelor at age 21 and my original plan was to finish my master’s degree as soon as possible so that I could apply for a real job in the consultancy world. However, I felt like I would be too young and too inexperienced to apply for the kind of jobs I was aspiring. I then decided I would take a year off and found an internship at Shell. My internship differs from most extracurricular internships because it lasts a year instead of a couple of months. Now, after seven months, I can say this was a great choice because I gained more knowledge about the complex business and I got much more responsibility. Next to that, I really have the time to build relationships and broaden my horizon within the company.
What did you learn from your internship?
Among other things, my internship requires tasks in both data analysis and communication. For me, this is the perfect opportunity to develop both my analytic skills and expand my communication skills. However, I think that above all, my internship at Shell has thought me what it is like to be a (young) professional. I’ve learned how to present myself, what my role is in a team and how I can influence the business. Also, because Shell is such a large company, excellent stakeholder management skills play a crucial part in my internship.
What do you recommend your fellow students?
I would recommend all my fellow students to do an internship. It provides you with skills that are impossible to learn during your study! I do think that Shell is an extraordinary company to do an internship at. They pay a lot of attention to your development, for instance by having weekly feedback sessions. Get the most out of your internship by meeting people in other departments, they can be a great inspiration. For instance: I am the chairman of the Student Society Board within Shell and this helps me to expand my organizational skills and get to know more fellow interns. So take the risk, even if you are not completely sure what internship you would like to do. No matter what kind of internship, you are the key factor in creating your own learning opportunities!
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