I’ve always been an Intern
I’ve always been an Intern
Since junior year of high school, I have always had at least one internship. I have gotten used to juggling coffees, sweeping the floors — doing the things that no one else wants to do. Although it may not always be the most glamorous position in a company, being an intern really does have value. I have experienced powerful personal and professional growth, discovered my strengths and weaknesses, and connected with amazing people. I’ve learned to never take a coffee for granted.
To me, what makes an internship unique is that you are given a glimpse into what could be your potential job, your life path. Whether it is a summer internship or a winter winternship, you have the opportunity of giving a possible life path a test drive. The great thing about a test drive is the fact that it’s just a test. During some internships, you fall in love with the company and end up staying forever, while for others, you can see what you don’t want in a job and move onto the next one after it ends. I’ve been lucky enough this summer to experience something I want to pursue further.
The Excel Experience
This summer I have the immense privilege of being part of Birthright Excel’s summer business internship program. I say immense privilege because this internship is so much more than any internship I’ve had before.
For one, this internship is actually a fellowship. Although the internship has an expiration date, the cohort, and alumni community last far beyond the end of summer. It has been humbling to become a part of a group of young professionals with whom I really respect and get along, and I look forward to discussing shared experiences with accomplished Excel alum.
Second, this network is set in an incredible professional ecosystem in Israel. One word: chutzpah.
Working In Israel
Starting any new job or internship comes with a range of emotions. You are excited to begin working, nervous because you aren’t quite sure what your job will look like, and (in my case) scared that everything you work on will be in Hebrew. Luckily, I felt at home the moment I walked through Deloitte Israel’s door.
This summer, I am working at Deloitte’s Innovation Tech Terminal. Deloitte ITT is the only department at Deloitte which focuses on working with startups, and I have found incredible opportunities within this space. ITT works to bridge the gap between Deloitte’s multinational clients and the Israeli startup ecosystem.
This placement was perfect for me. I love working with startups and solving problems, so this job allows me to solve problems with startups and work with the unique challenges startups might encounter. ITT is also different than other areas of Deloitte because ITT embodies both Israeli culture and startup culture in its ethos.
From the start, responsibility is given to employees at all levels and failing fast is expected. It is empowering to be assigned projects with weight and value, projects that could go directly to the client. When people talk about sports, many say that you should play against those better than you so that you can improve; work is the same. By working on projects that stretch your abilities, you grow. I don’t think there are many jobs that during the second week an intern like me would be planning meetings with one of the largest social media companies in the world or creating a presentation for the director of the department.
From the start, I was empowered to do meaningful work, and by doing meaningful work, I became motivated intrinsically. I wanted to work hard; I wanted to stay late.
A critical force in my experience has been my mentor, Hadar Pode. Hadar, who was an Excel peer herself, is now the Head of Startups Business Development at Deloitte Israel ITT, a position which itself carries great responsibility and power. For me, having a mentor who went through the process has been a fantastic resource by itself.
Beyond being an Exeler, Hadar is a huge force within Deloitte and the Israel tech ecosystem. In addition to being a keynote speaker, lawyer, and advisor for startups, Hadar is exceptionally well connected in the Israeli tech community and in the tech community globally.
Some of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from my mentor is in regards to building a robust network and connecting as many dots within your network as possible. There have been many times when I have come to Hadar with a problem or idea, and she has been able to effortlessly pull names out of the blue of experts she knows in the field or other connections who could help. Besides, just helping me connect dots, I see her doing this with startups and clients all the time.
When people talk about the startup community in Israel, many people refer to it as a community with zero degrees of separation. Israel is such a small place; everyone is connected in some way and open for collaboration. Whether they were in the same army unit or started a company together five years ago, Israel is a place where an introduction is just a table away. As I continue on my path, I hope to continue to build my community and grow through collaboration.
With five weeks of the program left, I hope to utilize all the resources I have available to me, make as many meaningful connections as possible, and learn as much as I can. I won’t be juggling coffees or sweeping the floors at Deloitte ITT, but I will still push myself to take no task for granted.
And, if I try hard enough, maybe I’ll be able to embody a piece of what makes Israel the startup nation.