VW Atmosphere in everyday work
- Any day and any task from; German lessons to lunch to meetings, showed the values VW represents and how employees are benefitted working for the company. This friendly atmosphere and display of investments in employees has made for an enjoyable internship and shows VW PR as a great team to work for.
Wide variety of jobs
- The constantly changing tasks and complete overview of the PR department was a huge value to the internship. Being fully immersed in the day to day workings of a PR member allowed for a greater understanding of the profession/company along with the best possible learning experience. Personal favorite tasks included:
- Assisting with set up and attending of media events
-To me, this was the most exciting and beneficial part of the internship. Playing a role in the planning, executing and tracking phase of an event provided an invaluable learning experience.
- 2014 product shots
- Assisting with the photography of VW’s 2014 product was another great hands-on, out-of-office work week. Shows a unique aspect of departmental work.
- Integration with Internal PR
- Working alongside Shaun and Chandra during the all employee meeting was awesome! Definitely a great addition in furthering the internship assisting with an internal PR event.
- In addition to the workload being dynamic there was always something to be done. This made for fun, task filled days that ended very fast. With my past internships this has always been the hardest barrier to overcome. Leigh Anne was always very responsive to my workload by providing new projects. For example, if a day was light she would suggest a research project that would assist with a press release. Not only did this provide me with a task, it allowed me to stay up to speed with what was happening in the department/company.
- One of the best management aspects of VW’s PR internship was the ability to continuously keep me involved and working steadily while changing the tasks that needed to be completed.
Shadowing Leigh Anne Sessions (sitting in on meetings and media calls)
- Very valuable to see the interactions between departments and get an understanding for the role PR plays with VW. The more meetings the better. Very informative and great to see interworking’s of how a company functions.
Management of the internship
- The way this PR team managed the internship was spectacular! Specific projects with basic guidelines were given which allowed for personal discretion and control. This forced applied knowledge which resulted in understanding the business, corporate culture and problem solving. Feedback was always constructive and everyone in the department did a great job of explaining mistakes.
- It was always easy to ask questions and receive answers from anyone on the PR team. This alone shaped the friendly atmosphere and allowed for a relaxed and somewhat ‘stress-free’ environment.
Really tough to pin point. Would have to say overall there were very few negatives if any. That being said there may be a couple areas in which the internship could expand:
Another Press event!
- The PR team wanted to bring me on another event but unfortunately I have to go back to school before the next one.
- Experiencing two or more press events would be very beneficial. This way the skills learned from the previous event can be furthered applied along with the chance to correct mistakes made from the first event.
- Might be a cool idea if once every 2 weeks the interns from various departments meet (maybe for lunch) and discuss how their programs are coming along – run by someone in HR?
- A combined project to develop an intern handbook outlining interworking’s of company processes and contacts
- Example: How to do an expense report, log Kronos hours, scan documents to the computer, employee/department contact info, etc
More integration with internal PR
- Understanding that one direct supervisor is always better for an intern. Being brought in on some event set-up for internal PR would be another great addition to the program. Allowing the intern to assist in this aspect of PR will further enhance skills and training. As an end result it provides more flexibility for fitting the intern into a full time job position.
- Initially understanding acronyms are tough to get accustom to. In order to speed up the intern’s understanding, explain what these abbreviations mean when coming up in conversation.
Not sure if this will be done*
Closing interview (Intern feedback)
- Could be beneficial to both the intern and the team in evaluating the intern’s term within PR.
- One on one where the supervisor discuss what was done well, not so well, what could be improved and what the intern should continue to do (whether that be work on weaknesses improve strengths). This way the intern receives feedback on his or her work experience and has the opportunity to grow from supervisor's observations.
- Example of intern review questions:
Was the intern a self-starter, and did he/she take initiative?
Did the intern complete tasks of high quality?
Was the intern able to prioritize and organize tasks?
Did the intern demonstrate teamwork and adequate interaction among others?
How would you rate the intern’s overall performance?
Would you recommend this intern for another internship, or a position after graduation (within the business)?
Advice to Potential Interns
Talking face to face with another intern I would say the following:
Be and stay proactive!
- If workload is light, ask for something to do. There is always something to be done.
If possible, be first in and leave when your supervisor heads out. You never know when something may spontaniously arise and your assistance is required on a project. This allows to further develop a relationship with your mentor/supervisor while providing valuable job experience.
Be yourself! Show your personality and enjoy every moment with the team. They are very easy going, fun loving and hard working people. Do not be afraid to joke in the office but know when it is time to work.
You are going to make mistakes so do not worry about it. Mistakes happen. Take ownership of them and correct them. No one is going to fault you if you make a mistake. Just don't make the same one twice!
Write everything down! Everything. In meetings, when asked to carry out a project, when learning something new about the company, etc. This ensures that mistakes will not be made twice, you will not have to ask your supervisor how to do something you have already done, you'll know what tasks you have to complete and it will assist in retaining knowledge.
Do not be afraid to ask questions.
Advice to Management
Touched on a few points in the "Cons" tab. Personally my experience with the PR team was outstanding! The mentoring aspect of this internship was astonishing! Leigh Anne Sessions was always alongside myself and made available. She was not only able to answer any questions I had but willingly provided insights on; managing, handling office scenarios and other VW business or PR related affairs. This along with providing constructive feedback on a regular basis made Leigh Anne Sessions an outstanding role model and mentor.
If all my supervisors and coworkers were as kind and as brilliant at handling people as Leigh Anne Sessions, Scott Vazin, Amelia Fine-Morrison, Mark Gillies and Victoria Gagliardi, I would consider myself very fortunate. My advice would be to continue exactly what they are doing. Everyday was not only a valuable learning experience but entertaining and fun as well. It was fantastic being immersed with such an amazing team filled with people who are not only great at but love their job.
As my fourth internship, I can without a doubt say this team has made for the best possible internship experience. My only regret is that it was not longer!