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Given the increased need to work from home, I was wondering what sort of factors should I keep in mind while finding/working in an online/virtual internship?

I'm specifically interested in finance, consulting, and non profit work

#internship #finance #consulting #nonprofit #covid-19


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Sherri’s Answer

As a professional working from home for over 20+ years, here's some tips to on managing your day effectively:

1) Keep a routine, it's easy to get distracted and off course without a set guideline.

2) Turn your ringer and alerts off on your mobile devices, otherwise it's too easy to be distracted.

3) Make a "to-do" list of things that must get done done by the end of the day to keep yourself focused.

4) Keep your desk organized!

5) Take 30 minutes to walk away and exercise or get some fresh air.

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mary’s Answer

Hi there,

First off, I would consider time management and giving yourself a workspace that you'll be able to be engaged in. As for finding an online/virtual internship, you should be aware that not many people will get back to you as quickly. By all means, you should continue to apply and network during this time. Remind yourself to not be discouraged!

In between internship hunting, take the opportunity to brush over your resume, CV, portfolio, etc., - make sure it's updated and is a current reflection of the experience you have. Good luck!

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Syed’s Answer

Hi Christie,

In the consulting space, you'd want to consider the following things:

1. The pre-COVID 19 stance or attitude around WFH: The more the company has engaged with WFH in the past, the more likely they are to sustain it now (IBM has a great WFH culture and infrastructure, for example)

2. Digital tools used by the company to stay in touch - Think Slack, Zoom, Whatsapp, etc. - You don't want to be out of sight and out of mind

3. Level of online training available: You won't have an in-person training to rely on, so online training is critical. At IBM for example, we had a YourLearning portal with 1000s of hours of content in very broad and also very niche subjects

4. "Online" Hours: Depending on what type of work/life balance you're looking for, you have to know the expectations around when to be online. Typically, consultants are online all the time anyway. However, some firms are more conscious of family/personal time than others.

5. Level of client exposure: In consulting, the client is king. The more you can create value for a client and flex your skills, the more likely you are to get a return offer. Unfortunately, you won't be able to do this in person. Make sure the consulting company has a plan for how to get you in front of clients and working on client-facing activities while remote.

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Anne’s Answer

Christie, this is a great question. Regardless of whether you are working remotely or in person, stay engaged and complete your assignments in a professional and timely manner. If you have the opportunity to meet your managers or co-workers in person, take the opportunity to connect with them remotely via chat or a phone call to continue the relationship. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions. Your manager will appreciate your desire to learn more about the job and your interest in being a proactive employee. Also, understand the value of saying thank you or congratulating someone else for their work or accomplishments. People will remember that you are a gracious participant and collaborative co-worker. Finally, I suggest connecting with your colleagues on LinkedIn so you can maintain an on-going relationship with them once the internship is over.

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Phillip’s Answer

Hi Christie,

Here are a few things to consider when working in a remote environment:

- Continue developing your work relationships/network. Communicate in ways other than email. Develop personal touch points.
- When comfortable/available, use video chat. This adds a personal touch in a remote environment.
- Reach out and talk through issues or questions when possible. This saves plenty of time for everyone involved. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
- Find ways to remain focused and balance work and home life. Communicate any flexibility you may need in your schedule to hold yourself accountable.
- Make time to take care of yourself. This environment can be draining, so take time to exercise, eat, meditate, etc. Protect your "you time" in any way you can.
- Set an end time to the day. Try not to lose control of your schedule.
- Create a comfortable workspace. Items like an office chair, desk, and desktop monitor are worth the investment if it makes you more comfortable and focused on the job.

Hope this helps!

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Dianna’s Answer

Hello Christie,

Regarding working from home, I think a good gauge would be if you are able to successfully complete classes on line, then a virtual job may work for you. It requires self -discipline and working autonomously. In most large organizations, new employees often have to work at a physical location until they have proven their abilities and then have opportunities to work from home. Regarding non profit work, I agree with the above post, most non-profit organizations are not remote positions. I would first identify the nonprofits you may be interested in and see if you can set up time with someone in their HR department to find out what type of intern opportunities they have .

Hope that helps.

Dianna recommends the following next steps:

Identify nonprofits that interest you

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Michele’s Answer

This is a great and timely question. I think there are two parts: 1) the personal work from home experience and 2) the industry/business experience. On a personal front, when working from home it's important to do the following to manage a work from how experience:
- Keep a dedicated workspace
- Maintain a comparable schedule
- Use a combination of audio and video conferencing
- Don't just work virtually - socialize virtually as well like you would at the office (coffee breaks, lunches, virtual networking - all are critical)
In choosing an internship or opportunity, the industry you consider and the specific assignment may be affected by other considerations and policies, but the biggest might be privacy concerns. Companies have a responsibility to carefully control and protect personally identifiable and private information of their customers. For that reason, working remotely outside of a company's brick and mortar space or outside of their computing firewall is fraught with risk and has to be carefully managed by a company. Some assignments and roles may not be able to be performed remotely, and that should be a big consideration in pursuing assignments.

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Amanda’s Answer

I have to agree with the great answers published above. Until this pandemic, I always questioned whether I would be successful working from home or not for various reasons. Here's what I've learned.

1. Routines are incredibly important. Stick to one and don't sway from it.
2. Have a dedicated space to work. Without a dedicated space, it may feel like you can't separate work life from home life. It's important to have a good balance.
3. Be involved, be present. I think one thing that most people may be struggling with is how to network when you're working from home. We don't see each other on a regular basis right now, so how do you get your "face" out there? Find groups or projects that allow you to cross over to other groups.
4. Connect with your coworkers and boss regularly. I can't stress how important it is to have time with your work family regularly. It keeps our working relationships strong, and that is so important!!
5. Lastly, move around! Even in the office, many of us tend to sit in our chairs and not move much. Why? I've found that sometimes breaking up the day with a little movement, such as a 5 minute stretch or even investing in a stand up desk has made a huge difference in my productivity. Set an alarm during your day and test it out. On an hour long conference call? Why not walk and talk, even if it's just pacing around the house? Believe it or not, I've found that some of the most productive conference calls I've been on that didn't require presentations have been ones where we've "walked and talked".

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Rodney’s Answer

Good question,

Working remotely is definitely a different pace than going into the office everyday. I have found it both challenging and rewarding. You will lose the face to face contact with your colleagues but video conference calls will make up for that. It is important to speak up and let your voice be heard during video calls so you maintain that connection with your team. A few general best practices I've found useful are:

1) Dedicated downtime: Make sure to unplug and disconnect from your work. Go outside or connect with a close friend.
2) Dedicated time: Set office hours. Determine daily priorities.
3) Communicate Needs: Manager knows what I need to do my best work. Family/Friends/Housemates know what I need to do my best work.
4) Working Technology: Make sure software is updated. Audio/Visual muted when appropriate.

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West’s Answer

Hi Christie!

Great question.

Working from home definitely has it challenges. As someone who is currently working from home, I can tell you first hand, that it is not always easy. A couple of things that I think will benefit you in the long run.

1) Find a quiet place that you can focus. Distractions are numerous and can add up when WFH. Finding a place with a good wifi that is quiet can go a long way to improving your productivity.

2) Remain positive. WFH and only seeing your coworkers through a screen can take its toll on a person. I would encourage you to set aside breaks to relax. One thing I have found beneficial is that I have been taking daily walks when it's nice outside. Doing so can help you hit the 'reset' button so to speak.

3) Remain flexible. For most people, WFH is not their normal routine. We are figuring it out on the fly. As such, it is important to keep an open mind. As someone seeking an internship I encourage you to remain flexible. Most interviews and connections points will be online. I encourage you to be deliberate with these interviews and ask the important questions. Most people whom you will connect with will be very excited to do so, take advantage of them.

I hope these tips help you in the future!

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Sara’s Answer

As someone who has worked extensively with non-profits there is limited work from
home opportunities simply because the work most often involves working directly with providing services to people. If you want to go that route you’d probably be looking more at data analytics for larger non-profits that operate internationally.

Also, consultants usually are folks who have extensive experience in a specific industry so I am not sure what kind of internships are available. A better option than searching for internships would be to find someone who is a consultant in a field of interest to you and see if they would be willing to mentor you and help guide you so that you develop the skills necessary to becoming a consultant.

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Maddie’s Answer

Although there are many answers to this question, I thought I'd give a little input! This summer I had an in-person internship that was switched to a virtual internship due to COVID. These are my tips:

1. Have a morning routine! Don't just roll out of bed and start working. I've found that working out and even going for a short walk before work help me be more productive and focused.
2. Get ready in the morning. I know its easy to stay in your pajamas, but I highly suggested getting dressed and doing your hair or makeup. This really helps me feel more professional and productive during the day!
3. Keep your work life and home life separate. Have set hours that you will work and hours that you don't. If you need to deal with something outside of your work hours than that's okay, but I think it's important to have "me" time as well!

I hope this helps and good luck! :)

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Timothy’s Answer

Hi Christie,

Even with these changing times, i think the key considerations on whether or not to take a particular internship are still the same whether you do your internship on-site or from home/virtually.

Some questions to ask yourself first before you think about the virtual arrangement:

1. What is it you're looking to gain from this internship?/what is the knowledge, exposure or skills you'd like to achieve at the end of your internship
2. Is the internship opportunity in line with what you're interested in, what you want to explore in a future career, or gives your avenues to develop technical, functional or soft skills that you currently are lacking
3. How is your hiring manager and team that you're going to be joining? What is your impression of them, would your manager micro-manage you or empower you to take ownership of your work and allow you to contribute meaningfully? - This is especially important to determine the quality of your internship experience.


Once you are able to answer these questions, you can start thinking of whether doing your internship virtually will affect your answers to the above questions. I believe if you can find an internship opportunity that can allow you achieve the above, that would be a great internship opportunity

Cheers and all the best!

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Morgan’s Answer

Hi -

A couple of tips for working from home:

1. Have a routine. Treat this internship/job as you would an on-site position.
2. Make sure you have a designated workplace, whether this is an office or not.
3. To-do list will become even more vital as you work from home. Use them.
4. Take time out of the day to exercise. Stand up. Get out of your seat.
5. Network. Schedule 1:1's to learn more about the industry, your profession and ask questions. These can be voice or video calls.

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Barbara’s Answer

Hi Christie,
I work virtually.
1) Let people see your face and eyes on whatever online meeting tool you use, so they connect with you.
2) Set up your lighting so that when you are online people can see your eyes and connect with you.
3) As an intern, set up meetings with your boss at a pace (weekly?) where you can communicate what you've accomplished, get feedback, and set the next set of goals.
4) Track all you're accomplishing to add to your LinkedIn profile and resumes.

Good luck!

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Carlie’s Answer

I live in a small home with another person who also works from home, and it can be very distracting! The best trick I've learned is to dedicate a work space for yourself -- meaning don't work in bed or on the couch, use a desk or the kitchen table. I also find it helpful to get ready for the day, even if it's just getting out of my pajamas. Another suggestions is to set up a quick daily touch point with your team in the morning to make sure you are all aligned on what needs to get done for the day. Given that you will be new to the workforce as an intern, I would also suggest to ask someone for help if you are ever unsure of something and get stuck trying to do it on your own. It's easier to ask for help when they are sitting right next to you in person, but a quick call might clear things up and save you time in the long run.

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Michele’s Answer

This is a great and timely question. I think there are two parts: 1) the personal work from home experience and 2) the industry/business experience. On a personal front, when working from home it's important to do the following to manage a work from how experience:
- Keep a dedicated workspace
- Maintain a comparable schedule
- Use a combination of audio and video conferencing
- Don't just work virtually - socialize virtually as well like you would at the office (coffee breaks, lunches, virtual networking - all are critical)
In choosing an internship or opportunity, the industry you consider and the specific assignment may be affected by other considerations and policies, but the biggest might be privacy concerns. Companies have a responsibility to carefully control and protect personally identifiable and private information of their customers. For that reason, working remotely outside of a company's brick and mortar space or outside of their computing firewall is fraught with risk and has to be carefully managed by a company. Some assignments and roles may not be able to be performed remotely, and that should be a big consideration in pursuing assignments.

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Anne’s Answer

Hi Christie,

I love this question- mainly because I actually design an internship for the company I work for. I would just say, with any internship, be open minded. COVID has changed the dynamic of many people's jobs, and internships are not immune to this.

Some internships are almost impossible without that onsite experience, while other can be fairly limiting. The other component is you. Self-managing yourself is important. If you're working from home, are you going to pay attention, do your work and be a model employee, or is having your couch/bed nearby going to cause you to sneak off and relax instead of learning?

Obviously, since you're here and proactively asking, I'm confident you are among the group that would be great at self-managing. I listed out some steps to help.

Anne recommends the following next steps:

If you're interviewing for internships, show that you're able to communicate in a virtual setting. Communication that is not done in person can be a little difficult. Do your best to show your personality and your best traits without the use of body languge.
Have a dedicated work space and don't stray
Make sure you give yourself a routine to follow

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Shruti’s Answer

I am going to give a short answer here - If you are going to work remote, the employer is going to want to able to trust you when selecting you. So be prepared with your content and be CONFIDENT during your interviews. And to win trust just be yourself, express yourself clearly and do not bluff about something you don't have knowledge of.

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Mireya’s Answer

I worked virtually before COVID. Factors to keep in mind would be communication. Ensure you are entering or working for a company/team that communicates frequently with multiple methods of communication. Open communication will help you grow and learn as a professional entering the workforce. Time management is also a key factor when working from home, try to figure out a routine and method to organize your daily responsibilities.

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Daisy’s Answer

Hi! You have received awesome suggestions that I totally agree with. I do recommend that when working from home you need to deliberately fined ways of networking and creating community with your team members, peers, supervisor and organization so you feel sense of belonging and engagement. Also, you will need to plan more your career development by actively seeking out sponsorship and mentorships to ensure that others - beyond your immediate supervisor - know your career aspirations and value and will be key stakeholders of your career development.
Good luck!

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David’s Answer

The most important thing will be time management. This can be done by setting yourself a strict schedule that you must follow. Another important thing is to make sure you have a camera for any online meetings so you can show your co-workers/interviewers that you are engaged in what they are saying.

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Zoe’s Answer

Hi - I think for anyone who is looking in finance and consulting roles, any experience you can add to your resume with coding and visualization technology will definitely benefit you. Specific to your question - this will also be even more important as we work remotely and learn to rely more on technology. If you can take any additional classes in technology, it will definitely pay off and boost your resume tremendously!

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Alexandra’s Answer

Hi! One additional thought is to brush up on techniques that create impact during virtual meetings. Being virtual isn't the same as being in person in many respects. Understanding the differences and knowing tips and tricks can really make you stand out in a virtual interview. For example, if you are sharing materials, make sure the text and visuals are simple and easy to read on a small laptop screen. Also, have a plan B if your wifi goes out so that you can continue the interview without too much interruption. I typically have my phone's hotspot ready as a backup when leading a virtual meeting. Hope this helps!

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Tammy’s Answer

To add to the multiple comments above, I would like to add that you have to set a schedule because there are days when the day can run into the evening and you can tend to work more hours. It is important to always maintain a good work/life balance. I am more productive when I can take a pause.

And lastly, my moto, if you will, is your year end performance review is based on what you produced or completed through the year, not how many hours you sat at your computer. I recommend you remain flexible and find how you can be most productive.

Good luck.

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Betsey’s Answer

As a new grad who recently transitioned to virtual work for the foreseeable future, I find it helpful to almost "over-communicate" in this environment. My manager and I message back and forth on Microsoft Teams several times per day. By building a relationship of open (virtual) communication it not only makes me more comfortable asking for help, but also shows my manager she can quickly and easily ask me for help or bring me on to new projects when needed.

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Molly’s Answer

It is key to understand your manager or supervisors expectations from the start. Try to proactively set time with them to understand what they need from you.
Have a daily and weekly to-do list that has concrete actions and goals. The daily list should be confined to those things that you can control and can be accomplished in the day. Consider that the day is not over until these are done. The weekly goals are larger milestones that you will work toward throughout the week.
Finally, as appropriate try to express your personality. Turn on your video on a Teams call, ask how the weekend was, etc. It's easy to ignore this part of office culture when we work remote.

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Lu’s Answer

Hi Christie,

There has been many good answers already so only want to add one point. During working from home, everyone is isolated physically, so it is important to keep connected with people around you. This includes your co-workers, managers, as well as clients. It helps make sure everyone knows what each other is doing and to maintain relationships. Teamwork is as important virtually as with physical presence.

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Jodi’s Answer

Hi Christie!

Many people have already answered this question but my short advice would be to:

1. Have a morning routine- similar to how you would have one if you left your house or apartment for work each day. Get dressed, make your coffee, watch or read the news, go for a walk etc. It is important to keep your routines, even at home!

2. Set boundaries between work and personal life. I do this by blocking time in my calendar during the day, where I can workout. This is protected time for yourself!

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Emma’s Answer

Hi Christie,

I would look for companies that have existing technological capabilities. Through the interview process ask questions around how the business has managed the transition to WFH with their staff. Also, after speaking with people at different companies reflect on how easy it was to develop a rapport with them and your level of interest in the company post the discussion.

Most importantly, focus on companies that you are passionate about and excited about.

Good luck!

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Tina’s Answer

WFH or taking classes and internships online is the new normal now. However its good to keep few points in mind to keep the productivity going and getting best results.

Keep networking in the form of talking to to your fellow colleagues, attending meeting and talking to your seniors.
Always keep a to-do list for the day and prioritize your work.
Keep a schedule ready for the day. Always keep sometime as break for lunch hours and coffee.
Take regular feedback to keep your productivity high
and above all stay motivated.

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Nicolas’s Answer

Hi Christie!

Great question - I think it's super important to realize that this virtual lifestyle is going to be a "thing" for a very long time. With that being said, I noticed your career interests and just validates that you may be remote for a little while until this whole pandemic situation gets settled.

However, being someone who had to transition into the "virtual" world I could say the following tips apply for both finance and consulting roles (I'm an engineer)

1) Practice voice inflections and changing your tonality: you probably HATE getting those calls on your phone from telemarketers, but you sure would entertain them if they weren't so bland. There is a human instinct in turning your head/ears to someone saying - "Look at the savings costs from implementation" *deadpan, monotone voice* vs "Looking at the numbers (pause) these were our TOTAL SAVINGS from Project X implementation." Practice this in your day to day - when you're talking with people, try to change the way you talk to your parents, friends, etc. by trying to sound more convincing and secure.

2) Data/Slide Presentations: I know what you're thinking - I didn't go to college to make PowerPoints. Trust me, neither did I. However, in the grand scheme of project execution + project management, findings and collected data can be sent to team members because they are immersed in project details. HOWEVER, when you are presenting (which you will) to clients, key stakeholders, or senior leadership, who are aware of the project, but not at the level of detail you do, this requires a clean + elegant presentation of data/processes in a deck. I could go on for days here, but really the biggest ones that have saved me are not having more than 6 words per bullet point and avoid LONG, lines of text like the corona virus.

3) Lastly, keep your public profile clean: LinkedIn is your friend here. Definitely take advantage of the fact that EVERYONE is online and on the lookout for possible hires + interns + co-ops = your LI profile could be the difference between landing an interview or just falling on the long waitlist of CVs.

Keep your head up high and do NOT STOP searching!

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Carlie’s Answer

I live in a small home with another person who also works from home, and it can be very distracting! The best trick I've learned is to dedicate a work space for yourself -- meaning don't work in bed or on the couch, use a desk or the kitchen table. I also find it helpful to get ready for the day, even if it's just getting out of my pajamas. Another suggestions is to set up a quick daily touch point with your team in the morning to make sure you are all aligned on what needs to get done for the day. Given that you will be new to the workforce as an intern, I would also suggest to ask someone for help if you are ever unsure of something and get stuck trying to do it on your own. It's easier to ask for help when they are sitting right next to you in person, but a quick call might clear things up and save you time in the long run.

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Daisy’s Answer

Hi! You have received awesome suggestions that I totally agree with. I do recommend that when working from home you need to deliberately fined ways of networking and creating community with your team members, peers, supervisor and organization so you feel sense of belonging and engagement. Also, you will need to plan more your career development by actively seeking out sponsorship and mentorships to ensure that others - beyond your immediate supervisor - know your career aspirations and value and will be key stakeholders of your career development.
Good luck!

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John’s Answer

A few things to keep in mind when teleworking is making sure you have exactly what you need to be successful, as well as an environment that are conducive to the work you need to accomplish. In my case, I was under the impression that I was fully capable of completing my responsibilities but them realized I needed more than a TV dinner tray and a laptop to be successful. I was lucky enough to have a spare bedroom that has since been converted into an office space that is spacious enough and quiet enough to provide me with the minimized distractions needed to do my job. Critically think through what materials you need, what requirements you have, and the feasibility to acquire them in order to be successful.

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