Written by Spencer Park, B2B Enterprise Intern, Summer 2017
Hailing from UVA’s public policy school, I had interned at few public sector organizations before my summer at Hanover. Once I had worked for South Korea’s national legislature and wrote several policy briefs; another time I had worked for a think tank and carefully analyzed archive materials from the Kennedy administration. My summer at Hanover as a B2B Enterprise research intern, however, has been totally different from these previous experiences. While there are many ways to describe how it was like, two things instantly come into mind: learning and autonomy.
First, learning. From the very first day, my internship was littered with opportunities to learn and grow. For the first week, my intern class went through extensive training for skills sets including but not limited to Excel, Qualtrics, Hanover-style writing, and research methods. When I was put to work on actual client projects after that training week ended, I quickly realized that these projects were basically separate learning materials for me. Every project was different and unique in their own ways, which required me to approach and tackle them with different strategies. The client pool was also highly diverse, and I was able to build my knowledge on all sorts of industries ranging from hardware manufacturing to for-profit education. I even got to cold call individuals and companies for the first time in my life, and although it was a particularly challenging task, I gained valuable insights from it. By the fifth week, I found myself knowing what to do as soon as I read the company and project description, skillfully juggling with multiple excel spreadsheets and source materials. It was especially rewarding when my supervisors complimented my work and I could track my steep learning curve.
Second, autonomy. This characteristic of Hanover was absolutely my cup of tea. Micro-managing was non-existent during my time at the company and I was amazed at how much trust and responsibility I was given. For every project, once I had a conversation with my supervisor regarding the project’s general information, I had full control over it until I submitted the draft. Of course, I was not alone entirely, as my supervisors and colleagues constantly provided me with helpful advice and suggestions along the way.
There were so many other things as well besides these two, including weekly intern lunches, monthly intern activity nights and so on. They all enriched my short ten weeks on Wilson Boulevard and I feel I’ve grown, ascertaining not only how to apply what I had learned from school to market research, but also how to be a member of a team that needs to deliver high quality work and meet fast paced schedule and deadlines at the same time. I was grateful to be given this opportunity, and I hope that future interns enjoy their experience as much as I did.