It is the time of the year when undergraduates don on oversized business suits to try to fit in the crowd.
Summer internships have witnessed many ups and downs for students in their early 20s, as they try to impress their potential employers – sometimes, a little too hard, too clumsily and in ways not very pleasing to the eye.
So how do you act when you’re meeting the management of large corporations for the first time? Each person has their own set of quirks and favoured discussion topics. Like going on a date, each event differs greatly from the other – you can never be fully prepared.
That said, below are five tips for anyone attending a networking, discussion or meeting with the the management of large, established corporations.
1) Remember that you are currently not a student
So do not accessorise like one. It is not difficult to spot a suited student intern carrying a school haversack meant for storing textbooks, especially with their hunched back and overly tight straps around their chest. The effects of their suit and branded watch are cancelled out when they wear a bag pack.
2) Remember that it is okay to be an intern
Face it; you only have EZ Link cards and your school’s matriculation card. This is not a crime. Do not go on shaking the CEO’s hand feeling like you have committed a crime for not reciprocating the exchange of name cards. Smile confidently and focus on what he or she has to say next.
3) Don’t go social media crazy
Even if you are just pretending to listen, please do not go on snapping photos of the networking venues or the grand food provided. Recognition from the management is far more important than the number of Instagram likes. This goes for conversations with the management too. A minute listening to their insights will take you farther than superficial congratulatory comments on your social sites.
4) Do not ever, ever, educate the management
Especially on their business strategies. It can be very tempting to bounce off innovative ideas and dream of being the agent of change that they have been waiting for but providing your opinion is only fine if they ask you for it. Otherwise, be clear about your role and purpose there – you’re there for the learning opportunity so absorb as much as you can.
5) Do not hog the CEO
This may be a once in a lifetime experience to meet some really outstanding industrial leaders but your admiration does not give you the ticket to possess someone. Remember, the management is very busy and they want to get down to business. They hold meetings to invite new investors to come on board, update current shareholders or to network. So asking one or two questions is more than sufficient. Learn to respect their time.
A great start is half a battle won but every mistake made is more than half a battle lost. The corporate place is not a fan of mistakes. So think twice before saying anything and remember these tips!