I’m Mikowai, a rising senior in the five-year McCormick/Bienen Dual Degree program! Yeah it’s definitely an unusual combination. I’m studying Industrial Engineering and Piano Performance, with an Integrated Marketing Communications certificate from the Medill School. When I graduate, I’m hoping to combine the technical aspects of engineering with the creativity and storytelling of marketing.
Describe your summer internship.
This summer I’ve had the incredible opportunity to be an intern at General Motors in Detroit, Michigan. I’m working in the Global Customer Experience team, specifically dealing with social media marketing and analytics.
How did you learn about the opportunity? What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?
Last fall quarter I received my first interview with GM. The Northwestern Career Advancement website had many interview tips and tricks that I read through while preparing for this interview. Anticipating specific questions that I assumed would be asked and planning out detailed and comprehensive answers to each of these questions gave me security and calm during the actual interviews. While planning was an essential piece of the interview process, I believe that it is just as important to make a personal connection with the interviewers so that they can see you as an actual person that they would want to work with. For example, finding something that you can both relate to or have a common interest in can help you achieve this.
What did you enjoy most about the experience?
Being in Detroit was a wonderful experience. The beautiful company-provided apartments with close proximity to the Renaissance Center, GM’s world headquarters, gave me access to the exciting regrowth of Detroit’s downtown. There are many fantastic restaurants and museums that I was able to explore, making my foodie heart happy. A week off over July 4th allowed me to travel to Thailand with another intern. It was an incredible chance to travel for an extended period – an opportunity that I haven’t found at any other company.
What is the biggest takeaway from your internship?
Working for a top-notch large company provides learning experiences that cannot be received anywhere else. Seeing how teams interact with each other on projects, understanding how culture shift takes place, and interacting with upper-level management have been invaluable learning opportunities for me. I was thankful to have a fantastic team that I loved working with – coworkers that work hard together, but also enjoy spending time with each other outside of the workplace.
What advice do you have for students pursuing internships that will help them be most successful?
While there are so many internship opportunities, it is also competitive and difficult to land one. One piece of advice: keep an open mind to opportunities. Apply to as many internships as possible, even if you aren’t necessarily thrilled about a certain company. It’s all about the relationships! Once you’ve interviewed somewhere, email them back and thank them for taking the time to interview you.
Most importantly, the GM internship has been FUN. It’s been a blast going to Tigers games with coworkers and working on projects that I really enjoy.