Tri Duc Le '15
Business Management and International Relations
International Data Group
An Internship Q&A
I am Tri Duc Le, an international student from Vietnam. This is my fourth year at Goucher College, and I will be graduating with degrees in business management and international relations this May. I spent a large part of my childhood living in Boston with my parents, and thus, I have always considered myself to be a Boston native. I love everything about the city — the Citgo sign at Fenway Park, the beautiful Charles River, the free concerts at the Hatch Shell, the Paul Revere statue - and I can't wait to go back there sometime in the future. At Goucher, I'm actively involved with the Academic Honor Board, Baseball Club, and intramural sports.
Describe your internship. Where was it? How long was it? What were your responsibilities?
My summer internship was at International Data Group in Boston. At IDG, I was an editorial intern in the corporate communication branch. For three months, I was responsible for using a proprietary database to copyedit submissions for the annual IDG media kit, fact-checking corporate information, contributing written and visual content for the media kit, and keeping the IDG.com newsroom up-to-date by writing and uploading press releases daily and working with IDG's employees worldwide to turn their stories into compelling content for IDG.com.
What were the most rewarding aspects of your experience?
The most rewarding aspect of my experience was the opportunity to work with professional colleagues who have years and years of experience in the field that I am very interested in. The closer I worked with them, the more motivated I was to become a part of the company.
Why did you choose your internship? What factored into your search and applying?
In the summer of 2013, I had the opportunity to work at IDG Vietnam. The professionalism, the high-stressed responsibilities, and the fast-paced environment were exactly what I was looking for, and thus, I wanted to go through the same experience, but in a different setting. Fortunately, I had good recommendations from my Vietnamese supervisor, which helped me to apply for this position in Boston.
What resources did you use in your internship search (i.e., LinkedIn, social media, networking, faculty, CDO)?
I found out about this internship thanks to my boss at IDG Vietnam. He recommended that I should apply, and he helped me with the process.
How did your internship experience complement your academic experience at Goucher?
Part of the reason why internships are so important is because they are supposed to complement students' academic experience at their school. Fortunately, three months at IDG provided me exactly that. In the class Organizational Behavior, my friends and I are taught about topics like working in teams, finding motivation at work, or resolving intra-office conflicts that are prone to happen on a daily basis. Even with case studies and role-playing exercises as class material, however, students can only go as far as imagining what they would do if they were put in the same situations. But in the real workplace environment, it is more than just roleplaying. Even as interns, students have to work with real people with real feelings and real personalities, and more often than not, personalities clash despite people's best efforts to compromise. The ways to handle these types of situations may be taught in textbooks (be a good listener, don't try to win the argument, be a part of the solution and not the problem, etc.), yet it is always easier said than done. In order to truly comprehend the magnitude of these frequent challenges, nothing can help students more than their own real-life experiences.
Did your internship influence your career interests, goals, or plans?
Fortunately, my internship at IDG helped to reassure that I have chosen the right path to follow by majoring in business management. Being able to work in an environment like IDG helped me to understand that my passion to become an executive or an entrepreneur is not just a heat-of-the-moment dream. It is not only something I want to do, but it is also a goal that I will try my very best to achieve.
Do you feel your internship gave you real-world experience? If so, how?
Three months at IDG played a big role in giving me a closer look at real-world experience. Internships like this allow students to encounter real problems that go beyond what textbooks can demonstrate, and the only way to overcome these challenges is through trial and error. Mistakes and miscommunications happen on a daily basis; what matters is how you can learn from those missteps and avoid repeating them in the future. Textbooks give you the definition of teamwork and how to collaborate with other people, but internships show you that working with other people requires patience, respect, endurance, and willingness to compromise.
Do you feel your internship will give you an advantage as a job or graduate school applicant? If so, how?
I believe my internship will give me a significant advantage as a job applicant. For instance, a good academic track record and a sparkling GPA may land you an interview at your dream position; nonetheless, how you represent yourself at that interview is more often than not affected by the experiences you have accumulated throughout the years. Furthermore, my summer at IDG allowed me to learn HTML and Photoshop, skills that I did not have the opportunity to learn in the classroom.
What advice would you give to students to help them make the most of their internship experience?
If there is one thing I have learned from my internship at IDG (and others that I did throughout my years as a high school student and as an undergrad) is that you should try to be productive even when you are having a slow day at the office or when you are given nothing to work on. For instance, not only can you use that downtime to learn more about the company where you are working (or even go further by brainstorming how a certain aspect of the company can be improved), but you can also use it to improve other skills (HTML, Photoshop) that may be useful in your future career.