Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

How to survive an unfamiliar industry internship

National Grid is a utility company focused on bringing energy to life in America and the United Kingdom. As a Babson student, we are so focused on the learning of business concepts that we can be not exposed to a variety of industries. Certainly, I for one had no idea how the concept of utilities and energy worked in the United States. Coming into my internship, even though I did my research prior, but there were still major loopholes. During your internship, ask questions about how the industry is changing and read the current news to inform yourself about what is happening. Specific industries such as utilities can be challenging if you are going into the internship with no clue.

Thankfully, National Grid did not expect interns to have a big understanding of the utility industry, however, other companies may expect so. Be willing to ask questions, because you are there to learn. For large corporations, your work may not seem to impact the overall business much, but the opportunity to learn is more valuable that the impact you may want to see occur. For the utility industry, I would suggest trying reading the bills that your house gets and learn how companies charge. Besides, there are amazing online reading materials that can make your awareness of the industry even better. For example, recently my manager wanted me to research how consulting companies view on the disruptive innovation happening in the utility sector. This research tasks not only helped my company learn to foresee the potential new markets but also can be great talking points when talking to your colleagues about the industry at work.