Case study

Summer intern — Melissa Jane Lewis

Melissa was in the middle of her BA in Japanese at the University of Oxford when she undertook a summer internship. Discover more about her role

At what point in your degree did you complete your internship?

I did the internship in the summer between my second and third year.

What were you looking to gain from your experience?

I was hoping to get a better idea of how my skills could be used in a professional environment, and an understanding of the kind of role I could work in after graduation.

What attracted you to the company you interned with?

The organisation was founded and run by women, which is quite rare and I found this quite inspiring.

I was also working under the directors, so I knew my ideas would be heard and appreciated.

How did the internship work?

The internship lasted for six weeks, and after initial meetings with the directors, I worked mostly independently from home. I was responsible for a variety of things, from maintaining existing online presences to creating a new online storefront for a different territory.

What was a typical working day like?

I spent most of my day on the computer, first checking my emails and any engagements on social media from the previous day. I then spent some time scheduling social media posts for the upcoming month, including any offers, or special events. This also included sourcing images.

I then spent time rearranging the company media library, where they keep photos of products and promotional images, as it was a little cluttered and difficult to find things. I also spent time adjusting the webstore interface and company Amazon page. Some days I met with the directors, to discuss anything from rebranding to ideas for special offers.

How did you find the transition from study to work?

Studying can sometimes feel quite abstract and separated from the 'real world' so it was validating and a bit of a relief to know that my degree and previous life experience had given me skills that are beneficial in the working world.

What did you enjoy about your internship?

I appreciated how I was trusted to work independently, and that my ideas were taken on board. I could see that my work had visible impact.

What was the most challenging part?

I had to learn how to edit the web store, which was a platform I'd never used before. It's responsible for quite a lot of the company's sales so it was a pretty daunting prospect.

How did the experience benefit your career?

It's helped me to discover how my skills can be used in a professional setting, and given me an idea of what I want from my career.

What advice would you give to others planning an internship?

Don't be afraid to apply to something that might be a little bit out of your comfort zone. As long as you work hard and are keen to learn, that's all any employer could hope for.

Also, communicate with your employer. If they ask for your ideas and opinions, give them.

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