This summer I had the opportunity to intern at Veritas Total Solutions. I am currently pursuing an MS in Energy at Texas A&M which focuses on all aspects of the energy industry such energy technologies based on fossil and non-fossil resources, sustainable energy technologies, energy economics, entrepreneurship, as well as energy law, and policy. I chose to intern at VTS due to their presence in multiple sectors of the energy industry and so that I could apply what I have learned in school.
Throughout my time at Veritas I learned so much about how the energy industry operates and how consulting firms work with clients to achieve their goals. Having been an intern at another company before, I came into this internship with a good idea of what I wanted to gain from my experience. The hard part was figuring out how to do it. In this blog, I explore what worked best for me so that I could make the most out of my internship.
One of my favorite things about my internship at Veritas is the quality of people I was able to work with, and the best way to benefit from being around them was to ask questions. Every team I worked with was composed of highly competent, hardworking and very knowledgeable people who were always willing to help me and answer my questions. I made sure to ask questions whenever there was something I did not understand. I found several times that this not only helped me but also other team members who were not experts on the topic in question. Apart from asking questions about the business, you should also ask questions about your co-workers’ experiences; such as how they ended up in their current position, how they maintain a work-life balance and general advice that they may have for someone in an intern role. A great thing to do would be to talk to more junior employees (maybe 2-3 years out of college) and ask them what their experience has been with the company, especially if you are considering joining the company for a full-time position upon graduation.
Keep a journal and update it daily
It is a good idea to keep track of your daily activities during your internship. Whether that be meetings attended, tasks assigned, follow-up dates, deliverables, or even just general notes of things that happened on a certain day. I realized that taking detailed notes is important at any level in the organization, but it is even more expected from junior level roles. Taking notes, while it might seem mundane, is a very valuable responsibility on the team. A secondary benefit from taking notes is that you can reflect upon the topics discussed so you can take away more from the internship. This will help you later when you are preparing for a final presentation over things you accomplished during your internship, your performance review, or even to update your resume. I was also able to look back on the documented tasks, meetings and conversations that were done each day when I had my debrief on the internship. Your boss will appreciate you being organized and staying up-to-date with all relevant activities!
Discover areas of improvement
When you first start an internship, you will quickly find out that not everything you learn in school will be directly applied to the role you are in. You will also discover that not every project will only use your core strengths. There will be things that you are very good at (in my case it was data analytics, research, and English-Spanish translation) and things you have never been exposed to (in my case it was ETRM and ERP software). You will also find that there are things that you have been exposed to or have learned briefly in school, but you can drastically improve upon (in my case it was Excel). Early on in my internship, I was assigned tasks that would leverage my skills. However, I got to a point where I was outside my comfort zone and tested to do and try things that I was less familiar with (and frankly, less good at).
You should spend time identifying what areas you excel in and what skills you want to improve in and find out the best way to do it. For example, I decided that I wanted to learn how to use Allegro Horizon, so I requested the training materials for it so that I could review and practice during my downtime. Similarly, take note of the skills or certifications you can work on when you go back to school. In my case, I discovered the Energy Risk Professional certification and decided that it would be in my best interest to study and obtain the certification. Another option in identifying areas you can improve on is asking for direct feedback from your superiors.
Make the most of company events
In consulting firms, it is common for employees to work remotely from the client’s office for extended periods. Now and then, companies will host an occasional company lunch, happy hour, companywide meetings or even networking events. These company events are a great opportunity for you to socialize with employees that you do not normally see on a day-to-day basis. You can learn more about what other projects the company is working on and what is going on in other departments. At networking events, you can also interact with clients and partners and observe how client relationships are maintained and supported. Make sure to talk to clients and expand your network, this can provide future opportunities when you are seeking full-time employment after graduation.
Get exposure to as much as you can
The purpose of an internship is to learn as much as possible. For this reason, it is key to work with multiple clients and multiple groups within the company. Although most of your time will likely be spent working on a major project for a client you should try to find time to work with other departments and learn about how those parts of the business operate. Ask to sit in on meetings! You can learn so much about how the company operates and how responsibilities are distributed just by sitting in on meetings. For example, I was invited to meetings where we discussed strategies on acquiring a potential client. Other meetings I attended were focused on creating a pitch deck that demonstrated solutions that met a client’s needs. These are key parts of the business process that you wouldn’t normally encounter just by doing project work and working for a mid-sized firm made doing this possible
In conclusion, there are many things you can learn from your internship and you should strive to make the most of your experience. Decide what you want to gain from your internship and set goals for yourself to keep track of your progress. Ask lots of questions and learn from your peers, they are an invaluable resource! Grow your network by taking advantage of company events and socializing with people you are not normally in contact with. Take time to sit in on meetings and work with other departments to learn how other parts of the business operate. Make your experience unique!
At Veritas Total Solutions, we hire the best and the brightest, including those apart of our summer internship program. If you are interested in learning more about our specific capabilities, job opportunities or just want to learn more about consulting life, contact us to learn more or subscribe to our blog to stay connected!