Here at HEC Paris, around two-thirds of students in the Master in Management (MiM) find roles in consulting and financial services. As a two-year program with a potential gap year, however, the MiM gives you the opportunity to try on a variety of gloves and hats before you pick the one that fits you best. Ranging from social enterprises in Africa to government agencies in Asia, you’ll find that there are plenty of novel opportunities to gain experience and explore radically different sectors during your internships. While some may help unlock a hidden passion, others can give you a valuable and unique perspective that employers certainly value.
This past September, I was passively on the lookout for such an opportunity when I stumbled on a Forbes article that introduced me to an organization called the Good Food Institute. The Good Food Institute is a non-profit organisation that serves as a mission-driven think tank and accelerator that works with scientists, entrepreneurs, companies, investors, and government officials from all over the world to develop the global plant based and clean meat markets in order to combat one of the single largest emitters of greenhouse gases globally – animal agriculture.
As someone who’s interested in the confluence of food and climate change issues, I clicked through to the jobs page, more out of habit than conscious thought. One internship looked perfect but for one seemingly harmless 6 letter word – remote.
View from my desk on HEC campus
Having done a bit of remote work before, I knew that this kind of work arrangement could be tough on both sides. The time difference, possible feelings of disconnection from the larger organization and a lack of fixed working hours often don’t sit well with some people. Despite these challenges, I decided to apply and in October 2017, I began to intern remotely with the Good Food Institute.
At GFI, I had the opportunity to take on a wide range of projects from finding accelerators to house startups coming out of the institute, to authoring reports for government agencies and even investors interested in the space. Through the experience, I felt like I was not only able to gain valuable skills and knowledge in areas like venture capital, market research etc but I was also fortunate to be able to meet, interact and listen to thought leaders in the industry which has proved to be invaluable for my own entrepreneurial ambitions.
So if you ever find that your dream internship happens to be a remote job, I want to leave you with my top 4 tips to make the best of the opportunity:
- Mark off your calendar for work time: yes, I missed the odd social event because my calendar was marked for work but I was far more productive this way when compared to scrambling to finish reports/research late at night.
- Set mini weekly objectives: since you no longer have the possibility of someone looking over your shoulder and testing how quick your fingers can hit Alt+Tab (we’ve all been there), it’s important to drive your own work with mini objectives that you can commit to, even if your manager doesn’t insist on weekly progress reports.
- Connecting with your colleagues regularly is important: whether it’s through Slack, Skype or any other platform, it’s important to stay connected with your colleagues frequently. You don’t want to become the ghost in someone’s email inbox. Scheduled calls/interactions certainly help and don’t be afraid to talk about topics that aren’t related to work. It’s always nice to know the person behind the voice on the line.
- Find an organization that you really believe in: easier said than done but finding an organization whose products/services you really believe in helps you connect with your colleagues on a deeper level since everyone’s rowing in the same direction towards a common destination.
And a final bonus tip, whatever you do, don’t start watching Netflix before your work time. #BingeRisk is real and it’s coming for everyone.