Doing an internship? Try 10
A former MRU business student’s ambitious project
Todd Colin Vaughan
Maeghan Smulders wants to get it right.
To avoid falling into just any old job, she’s decided to take a road less traveled. Smulders, a recent Mount Royal University graduate, will be working a series of ten internships spread over 112 days, which she’s dubbed Project One12.
“So many people after graduating just were taking the first job available and I didn’t want that,” said Smulders, who earned a business degree with a major in general management. “I’m interning at companies that I’m interested in.
“This way I can learn more about the company and even influential people who work there.”
Smulders added that rather than doing only one internship and having a potentially negative experience, the project can help her gain scope over multiple opportunities.
Before setting out on this venture, Smulders had to leave her job at Calvert Home Mortgage Investment Corporation.
“I had a really comfortable life. They paid me well. I did all my work,” she said. “I was still challenged by the job. Then I said ‘I’m quitting and going to do something crazy.’”
Former friend and mentor at Calvert, Dean Koeller, said he was not offended by Smulders’ choice and was very impressed with the project.
“The project tells me Maeghan is innovative, willing to work and understands how to get there by finding the resources she needs to be successful,” Koeller said.
Koeller feels short-term internships could be a great opportunity, “as long as they create a win-win relationship for both parties.” He added he’d be inclined to work for a month-long free internship in order to have time to prove to the company they can’t live without him.
Smulders initially applied the project to companies who she had already been in contact with, but upon seeing the positive response from those companies she decided to apply it to what she would call her dream jobs.
“I’m going to Facebook. I hung out with people from Twitter and Google and I’m working at a big ad agency in Canada,” she said. “These are the things that I’m so grateful for.”
However, she mentioned there are some drawbacks to having short internships.
“It’s difficult to learn everything you would like to know about a company in a week,” she said.
Smulders added that the project has more value as an educational and marketing tool then it does as portfolio builder.
Smulders said she has considered going back to some of the companies she’s worked for during the project once it is completed, although Koeller said he would hire her back.
“Every company I’ve worked for and even some I haven’t have sent me emails saying ‘we want to hire you’ and I have to tell them that I want to finish,” she said.
Smulders wants to find her dream job and her advice to other students is to not stress about finding a job the day after graduation.
“Take that time to figure out what area you want to be in and start asking people,” she said. “You will be really surprised by the generosity of people who will help you out.”