Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Why taking an unpaid internship was worth it

Many people steer away from opportunities that are unpaid. It becomes a tough decision when you must choose between financials and career experience. I was lucky enough to be able to choose career experience this summer by interning at a retail company based here in Boston.

When I was offered my dream internship for the summer, I was told that I was going to be unpaid. Knowing that I was going to London next semester to study abroad, this became a hard challenge to pick taking a store job and making money or furthering my career with this internship. I began to think about what would I benefit from in the future. This internship was everything I could have asked for and I realized that I was in a financial state where I could choose my internship over pocket money. I accepted the offer and it was the best decision I made.

I began to look for ways that I could cover my minimum costs. Through a previous recipient, I found out about the Babson Internship Scholarship Award. As soon as I was told about this program, I immediately applied with the hope that I would be able to finance my expensive commute and food expenditures. I was grateful enough to have this opportunity so I recommend this to any unpaid intern at Babson out there.

This internship has taught me more than I could have ever thought of. I mentioned previously to find a firm that believes in the same values you do. I told my manager and the recruiter while interviewing that I just wanted to learn and be pushed on my two feet. This is exactly what they did (the value of honesty). I learned how to use new software, how to analyze data from a marketing perspective, branding techniques and how to solve PR catastrophes. I was told to help with presentations and sit next to the VP of Marketing to talk about my ideas. I was pushed to pick up the phone and set up meetings with important people.

I also learned how to communicate in a professional setting. This was a lesson I learned that was very valuable. I am very grateful that this company let me make mistakes that taught me soft skills like communication. I also got to find a home at the company. My managers have not only become my mentors but also people that I can laugh with or share stories with. I began to hear about what they learned and wished they knew at my age.

If you can, I would recommend anyone to take their dream internship, even if it is unpaid. The learnings are worth more than any amount of dollars. You meet people who care about you and want you to succeed. You are pushed to reach your maximum potential with projects and leadership opportunities. I also got to go to a Red Sox game which was pretty awesome as well. This internship was a huge milestone and learning opportunity for me so I hope you take this advice and take one as well.