Thank you to Alicia Manson, final year MA Sociology, for this post explaining how skills developed in her non-technical degree course have contributed to her success as a Digital Transformation Intern within the University’s Information Services Group.
My name is Alicia and I’m a final year Sociology student working as a Digital Transformation Intern within ISG. I began my internship in June of 2021 and spend most of my time working from home which, at first, was slightly daunting as I wasn’t too sure what to expect. However, I was able to quite quickly adapt and I have now never felt more confident navigating Microsoft Teams and all of its (many!) features. Since starting my role, I have had a handful of opportunities to head into the office which was a nice change of pace and a chance to familiarise myself with an office working environment.
My work is mainly focused on the university’s Digital Strategy. At the beginning of my internship, I spent a lot of time collaborating with stakeholders within the strategy to identify their needs and to undertake research, analysis and write-ups for particular areas of the strategy. This took many forms: workshop facilitation, surveys and even conducting 1:1 interviews. Within my degree subject, Sociology, I’ve liked working with data, particularly of a qualitative nature, so I thoroughly enjoyed this portion of work. My work tends to vary from one week to another and has more recently focussed on building our SharePoint site, gathering feedback, collating data and examining case studies. The changing nature of my work is something that I thoroughly enjoy!
From my very first Teams meeting on the Digital Strategy, my input was welcomed and I quickly felt like a valued member of the team. In meetings with stakeholders, I was encouraged from the beginning to share my ideas and this has allowed me to grow in confidence tremendously since I began the position last June. At the beginning of my internship, I was a little daunted at the idea of running meetings and facilitating workshops, however, with practice and encouragement, these became almost routine. Although I work within a small team, I have had many opportunities throughout the internship to work with others outside of my team which in turn has allowed me to learn from people both within and external to ISG. Additionally, I often collaborate with other interns on various aspects of the strategy and we’ve been able to learn a lot from one another which is always rewarding.
With previous experience on the committee of a creative-focussed society, I enjoy approaching ideas with a creative-thinking approach and the internship has given me plenty of opportunities to do so. With my society experience being largely administration-focussed, I began my internship with largely written-based communication experience. However, I have been able to develop my skillset throughout my time as an intern and feel confident liaising with people of all levels of seniority, running meetings and managing all manners of communication (just to name a few!). During my time as an intern, I have developed many transferable skills and when thinking forward to my life post-graduation this year, I am very grateful for the experience I have been able to acquire and the many opportunities for development I have had over these past eight months.
The advice that I would give to anyone thinking of undertaking an ISG internship would be to go in with an open mind, expect to learn a lot from those around you and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Within my first few weeks as an intern, I made sure to take lots of notes in meetings and to take some time to read over everything. This allowed me to figure out where my knowledge gaps were and ask lots of questions in those areas – in my experience people are always very happy to help whenever they can! When applying for an ISG internship, definitely don’t underestimate the value that you bring as a student at the University of Edinburgh. Your lived experiences as a student mean that can provide invaluable insight so make sure not to overlook this! One of the things that drew me to apply for an internship with ISG was their demonstrated appreciation of student input and I have certainly felt very valued throughout my time as a student intern.
If you missed last week’s post by Martin Lewis about his internship you can find it here: post by Martin Lewis
During February and March we’re focusing on Careers in Tech & Data. There are opportunities for all – no matter what you study. Attend panels with recruiters and graduates on 9th March and search MyCareerHub for #EdTechDataCareers for vacancies and events.
The ISG internships will be live 7th Feb – 11th March, and Employ.Ed internships will be advertised 7th Feb – 9th March.