Learning Outcome: Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to function in a professional context at an administrative level, demonstrating the required social, personal and cognitive competencies and applying previously acquired theoretical skills appropriately.
Course Unit: Internship
First Report 20%
Analyze your positioning within the company’s or your department’s organization. Consider the following: e.g. organization regarding ownership, business strategy, organizational structure, corporate culture and communication channels, relationships with main customers and prospects, competitors, suppliers, and other external stakeholders. (800 words)
For my administrative internship, I am working at the BMF in New York, USA. It is an innovative marketing agency which specializes in “humanizing” brands. It is not only doing brand marketing but design the events, sponsorships, promotions and creating content. The agency was found by two partners about 20 years ago, and later a third one joined them. Its global HQ is located in New York, but BMF has offices in Miami, Austin (USA) and in London (England). In our New York office, we have around 70 people and about ten interns.
There is quite a strong hierarchy in the office. On the first day, we got a booklet with an explanation of the system. Firstly, there are three partners; each of them is responsible for a different department. One is responsible for Sales, the other for Operations, and the third for HR. Then we have a COO and vice president. The office is separated into eight departments: Strategy, Design, Account Management, Production, Digital, Entertainment, PR and Finance. Within each department, there is also a hierarchy. Firstly, there is a vice president/director, associate director, senior manager, manager and coordinator/assistant. Typically, assistants help coordinators and report to the senior manager or the manager.
I work in the Account Management department, and it is responsible for a wide range of functions. Our primary role is to become a connection between the client and the agency. We manage the overall workflow, the execution of projects and budget oversight. We are guiding and advising clients on best practices for the project as well as managing senior leadership expectations.
Account Management department is also separated into pods. In the New York office, we have two of them: Pod B and Pod D. I am working in Pod B, which specializes in products while Pod D focuses on services.
For the first three weeks, my team didn’t give me a lot of work and responsibility. I was working closely with the summer intern Lyndsay. I was following her everywhere, and I also was attending every meeting and conference call with my Pod B. Then all “old” interns left, and I started to get tasks and have responsibility. But it was not like I was all alone to work; I have always had some supervision. Usually, I got a job in the morning, had to finish it by the end of the day, then send it to my supervisor, she would check it, and we would go over my mistakes together.
I have a supervisor Tricia; she is the one who is making sure that interns are having a productive but enjoyable time in BMF. She is the one who is responsible for all the interns, and we are having a meeting with her every Monday to check how things are going. I report to two people from my Pod – Leah and Jullian. They both are giving me work to do, so I usually have a few projects to work on at the same time. For those projects, I have to send emails to clients to connect with them, answer any questions they have, keep track of it in the shared document and make presentations. I attend every meeting that my Pod is having and sometimes I work at the event which the agency is organizing. It is exciting because I get a chance to see the process form the beginning to the end.
Now, after almost a month of my internship, my team started to take me to the events we organize. Mostly, I work in the check-in desks, but the work that was done prior to the event, it’s what is essential. For the last VIP event (Museum of Missy Elliott, with the collaboration of MTV and Pepsi), I was the one who sent all the invites, answering to them and making a list. Also, we were working closely with other departments, like strategy, design and production, so I could see how this project was developed, pitched and created. It was fascinating to see the whole process from the beginning to the end.
The communication system here is quite structured, both internally and externally. Internally, we mostly use skype to write small messages and emails to communicate more important information with each other. Externally, agency and client mostly speak by phone, emails or face to face. BMF uses the same outlook system as EHL, so we organize a meeting and can check others calendar. There are several meeting rooms and phone booths in the office, which is very convenient. The other exciting system that BMF uses is the server. The server is like storage with all the administrative and client documents. Every document and email text should be uploaded into this system, so every employee in every department has access to the information to every stage of the process organization.
Identify 3 problems or areas for improvement (weaknesses) within the company and relate each of them to 2 courses / theories / concepts you studied at EHL, by explaining their causes and/or consequences. (1000 words)
There are several things for improvement, but in general, I believe that BMF is quite a successful company but can become even stronger and more significant with the right amount of consideration and time. The first subject that comes to my mind, which I can easily relate to BMF is Talent Management Systems (TMS), which we studied in Bosc 3. While looking at the office organization, it feels like it is not very organized. From the first view, it seems like there is a loose TMS. There is social and emotional interactions, teamwork diversity and variety and empowerment. Some people told me that they are working remotely from homes; sometimes, they work overtime after the official hours, which suggest that there is a mix of professional and personal lives. Americans are known for there enthusiasm at work, and they are people who are aiming for social growth. Some of them should be risk-takers to rise and generalists who can do a lot of different work.
In reality, the system here is kind of different. Now, I understand that there is a mix of loose and tight TMS. In EHL, during talent management systems course, we mostly learned the theory and afterwards tried to bring it to real-life cases. In real life, working in the job and seeing real things, it is quite challenging to adjust theories. Now, it is harder to say for sure if the environment is predictable or unpredictable at BMF. It is not very healthy for the work environment not to match with TMS.
In my opinion, the BMF’s TMS should have a more tight TMS. It would suit the office better, and it might also optimize the work process. Firstly, because there is already a hierarchy in the workplace. Every person has his position in the department and the Pod. In each department, there are predetermined positions, which need specialists and not generalists like in loose TMS. At the same time, people are feeling slightly frivolously; they can go around to chat for over an hour, for example. I believe that if the office seniors show the hierarchy a bit more and are more strict, this would increase productivity.
As I already mentioned, BMF has several offices in the US and one in London. A month ago, they closed the office in Los Angeles. We cannot blame the wrong or not adjusted TMS for this closure completely. But I think that it is partly a reason for it. You should be very organized within the office and outside to be able to expand successfully. Maybe the environment was less predictable in Los Angeles than in New York, and they have tried to use partly tight TMS there. BMF also is planning to expand in the Middle East, especially in Dubai. I believe if they don’t want to make the same mistake twice, they should explore the environment, culture and people even better and thoughtfully.
We can also refer to one of Human Behaviour and Performance in the Workplace definitions. Half of the staff are over-excited about the work; they spend even their free time doing their job and answering emails past the working hours. They have an intrinsic motivation; they want to be seen, appreciated for their own sake. On the other hand, there is another half of the employees who do not care about the work. They are not motivated; they do what they are asked and nothing else. In my opinion, seniors should pay closer attention to both of the types. The first ones can easily lose their motivation, and the second half not gain it at all.
The other issue which I noticed even before starting working in BMF is the job application process. I have applied for this internship through the EHL job platform. I sent my resume to a bunch of different companies, and I even sent to a different position in BMF itself. I was quite surprised to get an answer from BMF on the next day. They said that they liked my CV and my interest in the company, so they would like to schedule the interview with their Director of Development in the next few days. I was pretty nervous for the interview, I read in advance about the company, wrote down possible questions and my answers to them. As I knew from my studies, from such subjects as HBP and TMS, there are two interview types – unstructured and structured.
My interview with BMF was completely unstructured. Tricia didn’t ask me any questions about the company, why did I apply and what do I expect from this internship. If I were the one to do the interview, I would ask those for example. I do not remember all the questions she asked, but they were mostly about my level of written English, and if I know that this internship is unpaid. This interview took place at the very end of April, and the internship’s start day was in the middle of July. There was not a lot of time to get a visa as well, because it takes up to 10 weeks. I feel like this was a reason that BMF did not have a good structured interview process or application process in general. I felt like they very a bit desperate to get enough interns on time. Now, after more than a month of work in this place, I understand that they were not exactly desperate, they mostly very inattentive to who will take place in the internship program. There are a lot of different people in this program, and I cannot say that all of them are incredibly motivated. At the same time, the fact that we are all working 8 hours a day, five days a week and sometimes extra, without a salary does show our motivation. Besides, BMF might not have a strict job application process because they believe a lot in EHL and students’ reputation. Because every semester, BMF hires a lot of EHL students. Nevertheless, I think that if Tricia prepared better for every interview, this would motivate more to show yourself before and during the work.
Choose one question among these two (500 words):
Discuss the support and feedback provided to you at the strategic level (e.g. by CEO, top executives), the administrative level (e.g. middle managers) and/or the operational level (e.g. other staff / peers) during your integration into the company and during ongoing activities within your department. Explain the pros and cons, the causes and effects of this support and your reaction to it. In addition, discuss what and how the company/department could improve.
The support and feedback system here is very impressive, most likely it is because BMF is recruiting interns domestically and internationally for quite a long time. As I mentioned before, all the interns are under the supervision of the administrative department worker Tricia. She was the one who interviewed all of us, who was in touch with us. Her assistant Dana helped us with the documents and answered all the questions. Tricia helped us before coming to BMF and helps us still. Every Monday at 9 am, we have a half an hour meeting with her, and on the phone, there are interns from London office. She asks us how is the work in our departments, what do we do; if we have too much or too little work; how is our life in the US is in general. Sometimes, we even have a small breakfast with pastries together as well. Besides, we have to submit a weekly intern report every Sunday before 9 pm with the description of the work we have done for every project we are working on. We are supposed to put the number of hours we have worked for every project, and it will sum up to 40 hours. If we have less or more hours worked, then there is a problem. Tricia would go and speak firstly with the intern and then with our department supervisor. Also, Tricia is the person whom we tell if we are sick etc. If you have a problem, you can always stop by her desk and talk to her; it is also possible to organize a small private meeting with her.
My department supervisors also give me the right amount of feedback. After doing some work together, we have a meeting to discuss what have done wrong, right or correct. After doing the event together, the event leader would send the email with the last information (activation deck) about this event, he or she would explain who has done what would say all the thank you’s. It is quite a personal approach, which makes every team member feel valued. Last time, when I was working on the event for both Saturday and Sunday, I got a personalized email of how the team is appreciated of the work done and that they will give me a compensation day off. Every appreciation of the work done is precious as we do not get paid in BMF as interns, so at least we get some recognition and gratitude. In addition, every Monday, my Pod B is having an internal meeting, where our vice president is talking about the work and event that was done and the future project. On a bigger scale, there is a meeting of the whole office on the first Friday of every month. On this meeting, we are having breakfast altogether, and every department is talking about the highlights of the previous month. It is illustrated with PowerPoint, and also there are other BMF offices on the conference call.
Explain how your positioning within the company or your department has evolved since the beginning of your internship (relating to point 1.A of the first report), specifically by analyzing the differences (if any?) between your actual role, activities and duties on the one hand and your original job description on the other hand. Suggest reasons for this discrepancy (or lack thereof) while discussing its consequences.
Discuss the 3 problems or areas for improvement (weaknesses) identified in your first report (question B), then with the help of your teacher, select one (or summarize several), and analyze the issue(s), while citing their relationship to at least 3 courses or 3 theories or 3 concepts from BOSC1-3.
Final Report 60%
Elaborate on the issue(s) in questions B and E of first report and interview by explaining causes and consequences at strategic, administrative and/or operational levels, by suggesting and discussing pros and cons and opportunities and threats or risks of at least two alternative or sequential solutions (e.g. optimistic / pessimistic; strategic / operational; short-term / long-term, etc.). Please base yourself on 3 courses, theories or concepts, and use 5 academic references. Please also benchmark the company by providing at least one comparison. (1200 words).
Explain at least 3 lessons / takeaways / competencies you acquired / learned in your internship. Please discuss them from a professional, personal, cultural, and/or ethical angle, how and the degree to which they relate to your past professional, academic and/or personal curriculum, how and the degree to which you will use them in your future jobs and how it relates to your future ambitions (e.g. whether it confirms them or changes them and why). (1000 words).
Choose one question among these two (1000 words):
In relation to the 2 most important missions / tasks / duties you had, evaluate your degree of success (e.g. self-evaluation vs. feedback of your supervisor, exit interview) and explain the gap (or match) between your perception of your own performance and that of your supervisor / any other assessor, by analyzing the reasons for and consequences of it, what you learned from it and how you may close this gap or maintain this match in any future employment.
Explain at least 2 issues / challenges / opportunities the company had that translated into issues / challenges / opportunities you specifically had (e.g. scarce resources, lack of knowledge, situation of conflict, new team, new service launch, etc.), the reasons for and consequences of them, how and the degree to which you managed or not the situations, and what you learned from what you did or did not do.
Choose one question among these two (1000 words):
By giving at least 3 examples, explain the extent to which the professional, personal, cultural, ethical competencies you have acquired at EHL (knowledge, skills and methods, techniques, tools used and/or acquired in class, out of class) helped you to perform your job appropriately and to add value to your and the company’s stakeholders (external, i.e. customers, suppliers, etc. and/or internal, i.e. peers, team, department, etc. at operational, administrative, strategic levels).
By giving at least 3 specific examples, explain what competencies required to be efficient in your future work you think you will need to develop further when you come back to EHL. In which specific circumstances do you think you would need them, and how do you think you and EHL can develop them?
Choose one question among these two (1000 words):
Identify 2 objectives the company lists in its mission statement. Trace these objectives in the financial results, marketing & sales and revenue management results, operational outcomes and human resources and human relations outcomes of your own department. Explain what your department specifically does to meet the company’s objectives, who is in charge and how they proceed, and why and how all this should and could be improved.
Identify and assess 2 areas where you believe the company can and should operate differently and therefore more efficiently, e.g. opportunities & threats regarding technological, economic, legal, political, ethical, ecological, sociological aspects. Explain in detail what the organization should do to change / improve the way it operates and why (inputs and outputs).