Adrian Horning's Blog

What I Learned from My Internships

August 17, 2016

I did 3 internships. Why did I do 3? I wanted to get a lot of experience to look more appealing to employers when I graduated.

Turns out that it also changed my career trajectory as well.

I wanted to go into HR because I think everyone should enjoy their job. I wanted to create good work environments for people. And I still am passionate about that. But I was sure that as soon as I graduated I would go to Cornell, get my MILR, then go to work at a huge company like Pepsi or BP.

But then, I got introduced to these “tech startups” and immediately fell in love with the cultures that have been made famous by companies like Google and Airbnb. And then I realized that I was passionate about beautifully designed and easy to use software.

So one thing I learned was that when people say the best thing you can do in school is get real world experience, it is SO true.

Here are some other things I learned:

I like updated software/hardware

I am a productivity freak and it kills me when I’m not as productive as I could be. At one of my internships, I literally waited hours for my computer to stop lagging. Yes the equipment might be expensive, but it is an investment. It will save you money in the long run to invest in better equipment.

I love to create something out of nothing

For one of my internships I created a Manager’s Training Program all on my own, with (basically) nothing to start from, and I LOVED it! It was so much fun to create something from nothing. I think that is a lot more satisfying than having to revise something someone else has done. So, where possible, I would love to have an opportunity to create something new.

I enjoy being on a smaller team/company

Being on a small team forces people to do things they have never done before and I love learning new things and being involved, so this is a perfect fit for me. And I love the underdog mentality. The idea that we are competing with the big dogs, that we aren’t afraid, and we’re gonna take ’em down! I love that challenge.

I really enjoy autonomy

I can make you look really good if you give me a task, and then let me have the freedom to work independently. I am not someone who waits for people to tell me what to do. I see what needs to be done and I take initiative to get it done. Of course I need to consult with my boss, but I don’t perform well when I’m micromanaged. My best work comes when I have autonomy.

My strengths are projects

Because of a RIF at one of the companies I interned for, I had to fill the shoes of our HR coordinator. At my previous 2 internships, they were focused on a couple of projects that needed to be completed during the internship.

And after those experiences I learned that my strengths are working on projects.