Completing an international internship looks fantastic on a resume, but it's so much more than that. Check out Ben’s blog to see how his internship experience in Buenos Aires helped him improve upon valuable soft skills, including cross-cultural understanding and teamwork -- which led to him landing a competitive co-op job next semester.
Northeastern University has a unique program which encourages students to take six months off from school and complete a work placement, which allows students to get a feel for various industries, gain valuable experience, and grow as a student and a person. My internship in Argentina was crucial for me during the application and interview processes, and I believe it is one of the main reasons I was able to get a job that suited my interests. In the coming spring, I will be working at The Boston Consulting Group with the Data Research Services team. Working at UNAJE in Buenos Aires was so much more than a resume builder and helped me develop and show skills that employers are seeking.
A lanyard from a seminar that I went to with UNAJE about the future of Argentina’s bio-agricultural industry and its global potential in the coming decades. These experiences can offer you tons of talking points in your next interview for a job or internship!
As an International Business major applying to finance and business jobs, working as a Treasury and Partners Development Intern at UNAJE showed employers a number of very important characteristics. One of the major skills that I enhanced through my internship was cultural learning in the workplace. I also gained Excel skills which are vital for any business major, and especially in finance. I also worked directly with clients, and worked as part of a small team, which showed employers that I am capable of corresponding with clients (companies love to hear this - clients are how they make their money), and that I have great teamwork skills. My placement at UNAJE also entailed some accounting work, especially with accounts receivable, and that exposure helped me get my foot in the door at several companies across a variety of positions.
My internship coworkers.
Overall, companies love to see these hard skills (Excel, Accounts Receivable…), but the soft skills like teamwork and cross-cultural understandings are more valuable. After all, most big companies work across borders in today’s world. However, these soft skills are much harder to learn in a classroom setting. In order to learn how to work with Argentines, it is crucial to go to Argentina and see for yourself. These experiences helped me tremendously, especially in landing my particular role at BCG. I remember being asked in my interview: “what kind of research did you do in Argentina?, what can you tell me about Argentine entrepreneurs?, what was it like working with people in Argentina?, etc…). I definitely think that working at UNAJE and studying in Buenos Aires is one of the main reasons that I now have the opportunity to work for one of the world’s largest consulting firms in a position that deals with clients and information from all over the world.
An internship in your hometown can be great for developing hard skills, but interning in a new city has helped me develop both hard skills and cross cultural skills, all while practicing my Spanish.
1- Globalization is real! Knowing how to work with people from all over the world is important.
2- Building a global network is hard, but an experience like this one can help. I am still in touch with my supervisor at UNAJE and hope to see her and the team again soon.
3- Hiring managers can tell between “resume builder internships” and challenging ones. Take the risks associated with the challenging roles, it will pay off.
4- Don’t lose yourself in the hard skills -- you can be trained on those on the job. You cannot, however, be trained on soft skills. At least not easily.
Ben Gunduz is an alumna of the summer 2019 CAPA Buenos Aires program, where he shared his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. He is currently an International Business major at Northeastern University.