Intern Project Design
We are thrilled to share the following insights on how to design successful internship projects for international interns based on our extensive experience in setting up and overseeing professional immersion programs for talented undergraduate students and young professionals.
MEANINGFUL WORK WITH IMPACT
Our objective is to have the internship be a win-win experience so that the intern comes away with new professional insights and skills and the internship site benefits from intern's contributions. So that the experience is beneficial for you, the intern's project should be directly related to your key objectives or mission. Please do not invent work for the intern that is not actually useful for your organization. Likewise, the intern should not be doing exclusively administrative tasks like filing, database entry, or coffee fetching. The intern should become immersed in your company or organization as a junior team member. The ideal project is one that is beneficial to both you and your intern. Think of the important projects that are piling up on the side of your desk that you simply don't have the time or bandwidth to tackle; those are the projects for our interns.
We find that a successful internship is built on project-based work so that the intern has his or her own project with clear guidelines. In this way, the intern will not simply be forced to ask you upon arrival to the office each day "What can I do today?" but will instead be able to carry out his or her project work with certain autonomy. To maximize the internship time, do not dedicate more than two to three days to training and on-boarding; instead, assign projects that require very little setup and orientation so that the intern can dive right in and hit the ground running in the first week.
CHALLENGING YET DOABLE
Our interns come from top universities and are incredibly eager to contribute and work hard. While the interns have diverse academic and professional backgrounds and vary in their Spanish level, what unites their profiles is that the interns are very bright and talented, they learn quickly, and they can tackle big projects. The intern's project should be designed so that it is big enough to fill the internship's time and provide challenges, yet doable enough that it can be completed within the duration of the internship and within the intern's capacities. While you might think that eight weeks, for example, is a short time, a very driven intern working forty hours a week can actually achieve a great deal in that timeframe.
WELl-designed project CONCEPTs
To help spark ideas, the following are types of projects that have been successful for past interns. These are generalized project concepts that should of course be adapted to your specific company or organization and expanded on to further explain project expectations and anticipated outcomes. The concepts are listed according to potential roles that interns can have for the internship. Other roles not listed here are also possible; this is not an exhaustive list.
Research new client leads, conduct personalized outreach to leads, and help to create proposals for potential clients.
Conduct a market analysis for the company's expansion to a new country or market.
Communications & Social Media
Develop and implement the social media plan for one of the company's key products or services.
Craft communication materials and identify contacts for outreach to key stakeholders.
Coordination & Service
Develop a customer loyalty program and do outreach to potential partners that would provide value to the customers.
Plan and coordinate a new social program to increase the organization's impact.
Research and identify possible grants available from international funding sources and then prepare and write grant proposals in collaboration with the organization’s program directors.
Graphic & Web Design
Conceptualize and develop new features for the company's online platform.
Build a new mobile application to support the company's products and services.
Create a brand manual for the company or organization.
Marketing & Writing
Develop the strategy and content for a specific marketing campaign, implement the campaign, and measure its success based on key indicators.
Conceptualize and create blog posts and website content to help increase awareness of the company's or organization's brand.
Monitoring & Evaluation
Develop indicators and corresponding surveys to measure a product's or program's success, implement the surveys, analyze survey response data, and make recommendations for how to improve the product or the program impact.
Research & Analysis
Research best practices from different regions and prepare a report with recommendations based on the best practices for how to improve the product or program.
Analyze the company's financial processes and their implementation, identifying key areas for improvement.
Interpret existing product or program data through statistical analysis, organize learnings, and create dashboards and graphics to show results and findings.