In April 2021, 186 students took part in our second round of King’s Insights Projects. The project was a 2-week virtual internship called the Business opportunity Accelerator project, where students researched ways to help businesses prepare for a post-Covid19 market and how the pandemic has altered their industry. Today’s blog is written by Seiara – showcasing her experience and giving invaluable advice in case you are interested to take part in an Insights Project yourself!
My name is Seiara Imanova, and I am a student at King’s College London doing my master’s in Psychology of Neuroscience and Mental Health. My Bachelor’s degree was in Marketing Management, however, my interest in human behaviour was intact from a very young age, hence following my dreams of Psychology and Neuroscience. In the past couple of years, I have also completed a diploma in eating disorders, psychotherapy as well as a 3-day intensive course in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. My interest lays in finding holistic ways of treatment, steering away from the psychiatric model and incorporating social strategies into everyday well being. I have also been working in an incredible educational startup, SchoolApply for 4 years, helping international agencies with sending their students to Universities abroad such as the UK, Canada and the United States.
Why take part in an Insights Project?
To find your true calling, you need to be open and try many things. We live in a time where we are blessed to have access to so many different opportunities thanks to the virtual world, and this internship for two weeks was one of them. Firstly, it is only two weeks, so you do not have to worry about long term commitment if you are also balancing between a full-time job and studying like I was.
Secondly, it’s a great chance to try something new, and receive a certificate at the end of the program which looks great for your CV and credibility. And finally, it can give you a chance to apply your current skills to a different sector than your own, and work with a team with a diverse background from you.
Gaining skills, reflecting and learning within a team
During the two weeks, you are powering through the tasks and research set by the client. However, when the program is done, this is when the reflection comes in. Upon reflection, you realize that although it was just two weeks you really do learn a lot about yourself. I, in fact learnt that taking charge and being the spokesperson was what made me excel the most, and I felt my happiest when delegating, bringing the team together, and planning the next steps. I also realized that keeping an open mind, and trusting your team was another big factor. I was blessed to work with an intellectual, brilliant group of students from who I learnt so much, and which I have no doubt you will too if you take this internship.
Virtual work experience – the verdict
If you are doing your Master’s at King’s through distance learning, then the virtual environment should come easy and naturally to you. The client meetings were through apps like Zoom, Teams, as well as email. Communicating with your team is easy and simple and can be done through Whatsapp, Teams chat etc, although when doing weekly meetings taking the time difference into consideration is crucial to be productive and get things done.
Tips for managing the client and project
Before the project begins, you will have an introductory call set with your chosen client, where they will explain to you what exactly they are looking for, what research they would like you to take as well as the approach/structure of the information that should be presented.
During this time, take the opportunity to ask as many questions as you can, and do not be shy – I learnt that the clients really appreciated you asking questions, it showed your interest and care! Also, it made you feel confident, as you already have a sense of direction from the get-go and are not left in the dark – you will know the tasks that you need to do, and can break it down between team members!
My advice for students – take time to reflect your skills and interests
The skills that you learn, whether from work or university are not limited to your sector only. You would be surprised to see how you can apply your own knowledge, critical thinking, and other skills into a completely new role and excel in it. I also think it’s a great opportunity to learn about yourself.
During the project, while it is fast-paced, ask yourself: which part of the job do I enjoy? Is it delegating? Putting the report together? The research? The more you take on different tasks in the project, the more you can understand where your passion and skills are in the future. It also gives you a chance to develop skills that you are at your weakest in. For example, creativity isn’t’ my strong set – however, I challenged myself to take a part in the challenge which needed more of a creative streak. It is ok not to like every aspect of the program, but you will definitely LOVE and thrive in some.
The toughest challenge I would say is the time constraint. Trying to balance work life, university life and now internship life isn’t easy. However, that being said I would not have done it any other way – the end result is very worth it!
Go into this project with an open mind and heart, and do not take yourself too seriously, this is supposed to be a fun experience and learning curve, so do your best and the outcome will reflect accordingly, it is definitely worth the 2 weeks!
Last but not least, a big thank you to King’s College London Internship’s team for this lovely opportunity, and to Naomi Hewston, the Internship Coordinator for being so supportive and amazing throughout the entire program.
Written by Seiara Imanova