As a student finishing my first year studying International Business in Glasgow, I was very excited when I saw the opportunity to work with a small business in my hometown of Leiden on an internship basis. I was keen to get out the house, use my extended summer productively and hoped that I could learn some new skills doing so, and I certainly have! Gaining experience in a work environment whilst studying is such a valuable activity and participating in meetings, drafting documents and learning new skills with Blue Ninja has given me great insight into the world of running your own business.
In almost everything in life there is some sort of plan and procedure that should be followed to gain the best outcome, this internship was no different. Blue Ninja specialises in process management and therefore it came as no surprise that there was a clear expectation of the work that I produced and what it would consist of. Although there was an initial brief, there was flexibility through every stage of my experience, the Blue Ninjas listened to what I enjoyed and what I needed to work on more and coached me in those areas. I really enjoy the marketing aspect of business and that was my primary focus throughout my time with Blue Ninja. I tried my best to come up with fresh and new ideas that perhaps my colleagues had not of thought of. In addition to marketing I investigated other parts of the internal workings of the business such as on and off boarding clients and employees and assisting in developing the refreshed Blue Ninja business vision.
As a student studying business, I truly believe that gaining experience through internships is one of the most valuable things to do when not attending university. The value of working with entrepreneurs is immeasurable and there is no better way to learn about the inner workings of a business. Running a company requires more than knowledge alone, it requires common sense and understanding of logistics; skills that are learnt through experience rather than reading a textbook. Not only does working as an intern open the minds of those taking part to the reality of running a business, it puts theories that are taught in academia into context. Throughout my time at Blue Ninja I have been coached excellently on how to produce marketing plans, implement business plans and what to expect from meetings, all of which are skills that will benefit me in my studies and later in my professional career. A key insight that I believe will be of great value to me is that occasionally in business not everything goes to plan and after spending time with Blue Ninja I have learnt that having a contingency plan is key, whatever sector your business operates in.
Working in a team
Another aspect of business that cannot always been learnt through teaching alone is how to operate effectively in a team, luckily this is one of the main skills that is learnt through an internship. Entering as a new member of a team, that could possibly only be there for a matter of months, interns are expected to adapt easily and understand their role in order to have a positive effect. This means that when joining a team in a more professional setting, those who have taken part in an internship are more likely to be able to integrate more effectively into a team. Learning the different dynamics within a team firsthand is incredibly valuable and will mean that one will be able to integrate into teams that they later join in a professional capacity.
I would like to take time on this blog to say a huge thank you to Louisa and Julie from Blue Ninja for coaching me through this fantastic experience. I have learnt so much and I could not recommend taking part in an internship enough.
Marina is currently studying a bachelor’s degree in International Business at Caledonian University and takes great interest in exploring how companies manage the logistics of working across borders.
She has worked since she was 16 and is used to operating efficiently in fast paced environments. She has a keen eye for detail and is well organised with experience of managing events