A Personal Internship Experience: Why an Organization’s Culture Might Be More Important Than You Think

Picture of By Marie Gaebel

By Marie Gaebel

To all those who don’t know which internship may suit them best, who may not have a clue as to what they want to be after university, but also to those who do know. Because if I have learned one thing, then it’s that the right organizational culture can make even a miserable internship fun, and a great internship an inspiring one. 

What Culture Do You Want?

I indeed struggled to make a choice on my internship. On the one hand, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in my future, and on the other, I felt the pressure of being left behind as other students seemed to be hunting for big well-known companies to jumpstart their career with the best resume possible. Because of the latter, I had almost found myself in the headquarters of a big international tech company. But then I stumbled across an internship position at bloomon, an online flower subscription company, that above all cares about its culture. The thought of an environment which is hard working, but can make space for fun, which is supportive of each other and loves the product they work for, subsequently led me to accept the position as a ‘brand and communications intern’ at bloomon. 

Why Culture Matters

While this role made me fall in love with the field of project management and production, it was the organization’s culture that turned my internship into an inspiring one.

Looking back, my time at bloomon not only met but exceeded my expectations. As the project manager and producers’ right hand of bloomons’ marketing campaigns, I was given much responsibility from day one. My tasks included, but weren’t limited to, producing marketing shoots supporting the creative team during those very shoots, and also managing the production of the essential marketing assets through asana – a project tracking tool used by organizations. While this role made me fall in love with the field of project management and production, it was the organization’s culture that turned my internship into an inspiring one. Why culture matters? Answer this to get your reply. 

Would you rather spend 6 months in your dream role but a culture that holds you back from learning new skills and from having fun along the way? OR spend 6 months in a role that you don’t necessarily love but in a culture that enables you to grow with an amazing team that makes your working hours fun.

What is Organizational Culture

According to Schein’s Model, organizational culture is the result of how an organization’s values are communicated through norms (expected behavior held by members of the organization) and artifacts (the observable characteristics of an organization). Based on bloomons’ values, I expected an environment in which I’d be encouraged to work hard and do my best, but in which I’d also be reminded to have fun. Indeed, I quickly found myself in a team which gifted me much trust and responsibility from the start. Which welcomed me like family, making lunch breaks fun and working hours especially memorable. Which continuously encouraged me in voicing my opinion to any matter, and which supported me in further developing any (career) interests of mine. 

One Culture Doesn’t Fit All

The culture an organization claims to stand for may not always be the one it really has. But with bloomon I was lucky enough to find an organization whose values truly align with the way employees work (together), and the way the organization seems from the outside. So, if I can pass on one piece of advice, it’d be to choose your internship or job in accordance with a culture that fits you, that allows you to excel, and may perhaps even inspire you.

Enjoy the ride (of Your life).

Edited by: Pritha Ray

Image: Ana Municio

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