An Unforgettable Summer Internship with Samsung
After a year and a half of online classes, livestreamed events, and video chatting friends, I was not sure what to expect as I entered a new company virtually. Ten weeks ago, I sat at my desk, opened my laptop, and prepared for my most anticipated video conference in a while, as I was about to begin my first ever internship. Samsung Electronics America is a global powerhouse in technology innovation, and the opportunity to learn from such industry leaders seemed surreal.
As introductions were made and conversations in the chatbox flowed, it was clear that my peers felt the same. Being the largest summer intern class in Samsung history, the eager group of 100 interns listened to an overview of the journey to come. With networking events, executive lunches and a wide range of projects, in addition to game nights and volunteer opportunities, it was evident the program would advance both our professional and personal lives.
The University Relations team worked to ensure that our expectations were exceeded, regardless of the remote-work barrier. In talking with Vanessa Thurston, Head of Talent Management, she explained her work overseeing the University Relations team in developing this internship curriculum. She said, “2021 was a pivotal year for SEA and our pursuit to create meaningful experiences and ultimately full-time job opportunities for Emerging talent. With our largest intern cohort in the history of the program, and our continued investment in leadership development rotations, we are fostering greater interest in having careers at Samsung as well as talent innovation! Our eight and 10-week programs provided interns the ability to play an active role in current business challenges, exposure to our diverse communities as well as our mentoring offerings. We believe this hands-on experience will increase visibility around our culture and great interest in joining Samsung as they begin their professional careers!”
Samsung’s people undoubtedly played a significant role in making this internship experience unforgettable. As a member of the Internal Communications team working under the broader Corporate Marketing and Communications division, I was encouraged to engage in discussions, ask questions and offer my opinion, regardless if we were meeting with ten employees or upwards of 100. As an individual who profoundly values meaningful relationships, I found this team embodied this remarkable quality and many more. Despite the busyness of each workday, individuals found time to share exciting life updates and congratulate each other on milestones.
As young professionals looking to enter the workforce upon graduation, many interns searched for more insight into Samsung employees’ extensive roles and responsibilities. Alaina Gregory, Networks Intern supporting the Verizon team, explained her experience, “A lot of people have wanted to talk to me and give me advice, which I think is pretty unique in the amount of people who are really passionate about this at Samsung. Especially with how busy everyone is and how many meetings people have, it can sometimes be a challenge to take 30 minutes out of your day, but everyone has been very happy to do it. This has really contributed to my success.”
These 20-to-30 minute conversations were helpful in not only exploring the world of job possibilities, but proved incredibly beneficial when preparing for our final presentations. The internship program included a CEO Problem Solver Challenge, an ongoing assignment throughout the summer, which encouraged new and creative solutions to real-world challenges the company is looking to tackle. Each prompt consisted of several questions to be answered, subject matter experts for guidance and the remarkable opportunity to potentially present to SEA’s President and CEO, KS Choi.
As the teams comprised interns from all departments and varying education levels, it was clear that we would learn as much from each other as we did from the subject matter experts. MBA Intern supporting the Strategic Planning team, Annie Fernandez, expressed this learning within her team, “I can honestly say I learned a lot from the undergrads. I think one of the things that made my group stand out was that we were one of the only groups to use a non-traditional presentation platform. Someone suggested we use an online software I had never heard of that. I thought it was cool that we all had something to learn from each other.”
The Intern Day of Service and Intern 5K further demonstrated Samsung’s emphasis on its people and the company’s commitment to giving back. The weekly executive Lunch ‘n Learn series and Leadership and Personal Development workshops allowed for learning about various departments, team building, and professional growth These events were conducted virtually and we were encouraged to connect or partner with other interns. In addition to social events like an Intern Movie Night or some friendly online competitions, these activities allowed the Summer 2021 Intern Class to mimic the Samsung company culture and embody a sense of togetherness.
As someone who enjoys a fast-paced and collaborative work environment, I am proud to look back on the challenges and successes of this past summer. Samsung’s internship program has developed into one that gives you the guidance and independence to make a fulfilling experience unique to your personal journey. It is fascinating to see the new passions, skills and connections developed as the 100 members of the Summer 2021 Intern cohort reflect on our visionary experiences. Samsung and its people provided us with an abundance of opportunities to begin our venture into the future. I am beyond excited to see all that my peers accomplish in the years to come, and am thankful for the chance to gain such a vast amount of knowledge during my time at Samsung Electronics America so far.