Internships are one of the best ways to gain experience, explore industries and companies, and discover what career might best suit you.
Sophie spent her summer interning for Christie’s in New York City where she was able to hone her research, improve her writing skills and build relationships with art professionals across a wide spectrum of the art world. Through her internship Sophie was given guided tours of art museums across the city. She lunched with diverse people working at Christie’s (including the CFO) and participated in events hosted by the esteemed auction house.
Working for a company that does more than $7 billion in art sales a year, Sophie learned extensively about organizational and project management methodologies that she “will surely apply to any future projects.”
A bit of advice? “Abu Dhabi and Dubai offer plenty of internship opportunities in galleries and art institutions which is a great stepping stone for more internationally coveted positions.”
An internship in an auction house is one of the best training there is for aspiring art world professionals. The range of skills to be learned is impressive.
After some late-night browsing for potential summer internships, Willem came across a position for a grant manager with the Youth Crime Watch of Liberia (YCWL) in Paynesville, Monrovia. As an aspiring political science and history major, Willem’s interests lay in foreign policy and international development. Despite some reservations about regulations, restrictions, and safety, he decided to apply. Through extensive research on the history of Liberia, watching documentaries, email, and Skype conversations with people who have lived and worked in Liberia, Willem decided this was the opportunity for him.
His primary responsibility was to develop strategic partnerships with businesses, educational institutions, and economic development and community-based agencies whilst writing and editing grant proposals, researching grant opportunities, and evaluating requests for funding opportunities. Not to mention helping out across YCWL whenever he could.
“This internship has given me tremendous exposure and it really allowed me to reflect on my place in this world and on how I want to contribute to make our world a better one.”
Remember that it is OK to not know what you want to do later in life. Pursuing something that seems different or out of the ordinary could be a very enriching experience and provide new avenues for personal development.
Filmmaking is a team effort. I loved my work experience precisely because of this spirit of collaboration. I felt like I was a part of the team, which was incredibly rewarding.
Julia Saubier spent one summer interning with the associate producers and continuity departments of a stop-motion animation by Wes Anderson. She used this opportunity to help her decide if she wants to pursue a career in the film industry after graduation.
Under the excellent tutelage of her two supervisors, Julia learned a lot about the motion-picture industry and filmmaking. Being resourceful, open to possibility, and meeting as many people as she could on set helped her make the most of her internship. This experience has helped her “feel more confident about [her] impending entry into the ‘real world’.
Daniel spent his summer interning for entrepreneur Elon Musk’s private aerospace manufacturer and space transport company, SpaceX, in Los Angeles, US.
“I have always wanted to be a part of the projects that push humanity’s intellectual capabilities beyond what was previously thought possible. In the 60s, it was NASA. Today, it's Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).” There, Daniel designed and released hardware that directly contributed to SpaceX’s mission launches, which has the ultimate goal of sending a manned mission to Mars. Orientation was short and “interns are thrown into the deep end and expected to learn on the go. We are given design tasks almost immediately.” Through his experience, Daniel was able to work with pioneering engineers and technicians to solve problems with whatever resources were at hand.
Nicolaj spent his summer interning for Whiteshield Partners in Dubai, where he was able to apply his past experience from interning with Deloitte to support the government and public sector in the UAE.
He would start his days by following up with partners on different projects and responding to questions from clients, advisors, and colleagues. From there, the work varied on a daily basis; from meetings to quantitative analyses and research to drafting presentations.
I have always had an interest in strategy consulting and public policy. Working as an associate at Whiteshield Partners gave me the opportunity to apply consulting techniques and knowledge to urgent public policy challenges.
It was energizing for Nicolaj to work with small teams and think critically to solve problems that would have a direct impact on society and the economy. “This experience greatly inspired and empowered me to design and lead projects on my own...I now feel more ready to take on my own initiatives and create innovative products.”
Since high school, Paula has been studying computer science and has been interested in the dynamics of being a female in a traditionally male-dominated field. Knowing the emphasis Google places on workplace equality, she explored summer internship opportunities with them during her first year at NYUAD. After a fantastic experience that first summer, she was able to land a second summer position with them in their Munich office where she “worked as a software engineer on the Chrome privacy team, adding several features to the Chrome application for Android.”
Paula wants to change the way women are perceived in STEM fields based on her experience with the women in the weSTEM student group at NYUAD. Interning for Google “has made me even more confident in my skills and potential as a female in tech. I believe that this is due to the emphasis that Google places on inclusivity.”
Her biggest piece of advice for those pursuing careers in technology? “Get involved in as many tech-related activities and events as you can, such as hackathons or student groups. These will give you the chance to improve your skills, as well as network with people in the industry.”
Summer internships are a great way to gain knowledge about a specific industry. Rene Kukk had two goals for his final summer as an undergraduate student: “Firstly I wanted to work in the financial sector in the UAE to get an idea of what working and living here might look like after graduation. Secondly, I wanted an internship where I could apply and extend the knowledge I had acquired in the classroom.” And that’s exactly what he did.
While studying away in New York, Rene applied, interviewed, and landed a spot with Citi in Dubai, analyzing large data sets and developing presentations. He learned to be “proactive in seeking new knowledge,” and to be outgoing—he connected with colleagues as much as possible to learn from their experiences. "I had thought about networking as a vaguely defined skill that had very little benefits...now I understand how networking can make a real difference. It helps you gain a lot of insight into the business, as well as to display a strong interest in pursuing a career."
Research as much as possible about the organization you are applying to but more importantly, also about the specific position and department.
Krishna met the CEO of Careem during an event on campus. Wanting to gain experience in data science, he decided to email the CEO to see if he could get a summer internship with them in Dubai. While he didn’t get an immediate response, he didn’t give up either. After two more follow-up emails reiterating his interest, he got a response from their data science team. A few more emails and a couple of interviews later, he landed a spot!
While helping Careem to develop their own mapping system, Krishna was processing billions of data points to improve their machine learning programs. His work “increased their efficiency by 40 times ... decreasing their run time from 10 hours to 15 minutes.”
Despite the constant challenges he faced, Krishna learned a lot and enjoyed getting to know his colleagues, going out to dinners, and playing indoor football.