The Intern’s Dilemma

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Internships, from my perspective, means that students are encouraged by a university to experience working for an in their particular field of study specialising company.  


In my case, it is a five-month stretch, and I work for a sports marketing agency focussed on PR and branding for golf clients in particular.


Getting an internship position is often experienced by students as a rather stressful undertaking. They are talking to companies, basically selling yourself as a brand, providing reasons for them to hire you instead of someone else. 


What I always liked about it is that students are encouraged to find ways that distinguish them from others. Besides, it is necessary given that many students aspire the same few positions in the beginning, ‘dream internships’ I call those. 


Anyway, now that I sold myself as a brand and got the internship I wanted; a dilemma has appeared.

Both the company as well as my university require, expect, and want me to do different things


The company I am interning for wants me to create as much value for them as I can, especially since I am a low-cost employee. If I would not be here to work on administrative reports, then a more expensive employee would have to commit valuable time to the work I now cover. 


Dissimilarly, the university requires me not just to comply with the responsibilities and task the company gave me. They expect me to delve deeper into platform/market analysis so that I, ultimately, present more relevant, data related, academic, and professional advice.


In my opinion, both the company and the university’s views on the internship are comprehensible. Nevertheless, it puts me daily in a position of choice, which I sometimes experience as a dilemma. On the one hand, I want to make the company happy, that is one of the primary purposes of being an intern. 


On the other hand, I also understand that it is essential as a student to analyse the marketing and particular situations first before taking actions. Also reflecting on your choices, behaviour and sticking to facts to keep it academically seems logically of importance for interns.


Finding the right balance between contributing value and learning can be difficult. Most of the time, I am prioritising the company over the university as I am learning tonnes while executing my tasks.

I am curious about how other students confront this dilemma, especially in this time of crisis. Would you prioritize, the university or the company?

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