24 Aug The Benefits of an Internship Program featuring our Class of 2023 Interns
In this episode of Shoot the Moon we sit down with our class of 2023 interns! It’s been a great summer full of new ideas, increased productivity, and a kick-ass culture! Tune in to hear from three of our four summer interns on their experience at Revenue Rocket + why an internship program makes sense for your IT Services firm.
The Benefits of an Internship Program and episode summary:
- What is an intern program and why is it important for IT service leaders to consider one
- Benefits of having an intern program, such as increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction, and potentially positive brand reputation
- Steps for establishing an effective internship program, such as identifying goals and objectives, recruiting interns, developing job descriptions, setting expectations for the intern experience, and providing feedback
- Tips on how to create a successful internship program that will help IT service leaders attract top talent
- Ways to measure the success of the program in order to ensure it is meeting its goals
- Examples of successful internship programs in the industry today
Mike Harvath 00:02
Hello and welcome to this week’s Shoot the Moon podcast broadcasting live in direct from revenue rocket world headquarters in Bloomington, Minnesota. As you know, revenue rocket is the world’s premier growth strategy and M&A Advisor to tech enabled services companies. Today I have my partners, Matt Lockhart and Ryan Barnett, joining me, as well as three esteemed special guests, Christian, Zack, and Alex, from our class of 2023 internship program. Welcome, everyone. Wow,
Matt Lockhart 00:37
Well, what are the highlights? We get this week in being able to chat with and and learn from our 2023 class. And it’s sort of an indication that summer is unfortunately dwindling down to a very quick end here. It’s amazing how fast time flies. What’s going on Ryan?
Ryan Barnett 01:06
I agree with you. It’s been a very fast summer. And we were lucky enough to have Zack Eccher, Christian Gaston, and Alex Walker join us in early June this year. And the it really taken a great view into marketing, they looked at sales, we’ve looked at process, we’ve looked at consulting, finance, and really has had a great team and a great class of interns embedded in our work. Today, we wanted to ask them a few questions about what it means to be an intern in a company that helps IT services companies and what that matters to them. And we also want to really walk into the value of an internship program. So with that, Mike, I’d love for you to get us started. We have seen a lot of companies embrace an internship program and and what are some benefits that you’ve seen within this? And and what advice do you give it services leaders when considering in an internship type of program?
Mike Harvath 02:06
Yeah, great question. Ryan. You know, we have over the years, in really since the inception of Rocket Rocket, you know, 23 years ago, advised our clients to utilize an intern ship program. We had a great class this year. And I certainly embodied many of the reasons why people should do it. I think in the world of human capital, and IT services, tech enabled services, having that perspective of, you know, rising seniors and college, on your team for a summer, we’ll help you, we’ll change you will help you have perspective of the perspective of youth the perspective of sort of new, maybe approaches and process that the intern class has learned as part of their very recent schooling efforts. And, in the end, helps the firm with its growth mindset, and helps everyone sort of focus on, you know, the future, because, frankly, without the next generation of leaders, like these guys, that our guest today, you know, I worry about our industry, we certainly need to cultivate and fanned the flames of leadership and innovation. And building your own intern program and leveraging it every year, year after year will certainly help to do that.
Ryan Barnett 03:45
Yes, I think it’s a great, great starting point, if we can help the people that are entering the workforce soon, and understand what real world scenarios look like, and help them find the passions that they’re in tune with, it helps the growth path for their careers. On the flip side, great recruiting tool, a way to find talent that can be really solid for the organization. And what we’ve learned on the other side, it’s been a very valuable relationship for productivity. If I look at every step that we have throughout the company, we had a big boost in productivity, or we’re going to be a little sore going into the, into the fall when you have such success of the zinter. And so I think they’re, well, there’s a long term play here that short term play is also just as valuable. Great setup here. I’d love to turn it over to our guests here a little bit and just so we get the net cast of characters here. Let’s just start with Zack and Zack, what was your What was your role in revenue rocket? Thank you, Ryan.
Zackary Eccher 05:00
And so I was the strategy consultant intern. And my main role was sort of to assist the consultant, Chelsey Nord and make her life easier, whether that be creating presentations, doing research, organizing information. And then I also sort of played the role of giving a fresh perspective on current practices, and then trying to improve them as best I can.
Ryan Barnett 05:23
Great, great. And how about you, Christian? What was your summer? What would you do in the summer and rocket?
Christian Gaston 05:32
Yeah, of course, thanks for having me here today. My role here at Revenue Rocket over the summer was a marketing intern, I worked with all types of marketing material from digital ad platforms to website content and multiple little projects all around. I also conducted some research, which took up a bulk of the time as well, I learned how to find prospects for all different types of clients within the IT services industry. And this just touches on just a little bit of what I’ve been working on, but a whole lot more for sure.
Ryan Barnett 06:07
Great, and Alex how about you?
Alex Walker 06:10
Hi, thanks for having me. I was kind of Christians partner in crime. This summer, I also conducted marketing research as one of those fellow interns. And so similar to Christian, I worked with digital ad platforms, generated briefs, monitor those results, had to do a little bit of agile thinking and edit and fix those up as well as working on website revamp. And it’s rare to research. Like Christian, I was looking for new targets, new prospects, new accounts, anyone who would think it would be good to have a conversation with?
Ryan Barnett 06:44
Yeah, that’s great. And I’d be remiss if we didn’t make it, we had a fourth intern will Mark Smith, who was really on the finance team had the opportunity to look at eight different deals throughout the summer. So whether it was financial consolidation of numbers, or if it was the analysis for evaluation, he really got to see the process. So I think part of what you heard and in all of our up from Zack Christian and Alex is the importance of a hands on internship in which you’re, you’re working on the work that needs to get done. And that helps to not only get productiveness out of your team, but also gets real world scenarios into each into each person. So I’d love to turn this a little bit is Zack, if you’re thinking about your experience, when you are considering revenue rocket? And what was the what? What was your thought process? And what did it take for you to actually start looking for an internship and consideration of companies tend to work with? Yeah, of course.
Zackary Eccher 07:51
So my main sort of criteria for picking an internship would have to be just I wanted to find a place where I could learn and develop the most. And while it’s nice to have a good sort of prestigious company on your resume, it’s even better to have like, the better improved toolkit from, you know, having a greater impact on operations, kind of having a more holistic kind of view on things. And so, you know, in the interview process and kind of reaching out to different people at the company, I found that this was going to be the best experience that I was going to get. And, you know, I was very interested in what the summer was to hold for me.
Ryan Barnett 08:30
Awesome. It’s great. And Christian, you. You had a great internship last year and you had one this year. What could you tell people that are considering internships, to look for in perhaps multi year evaluation of authentic internships? Of course, yeah,
Christian Gaston 08:48
I can answer that I was lucky enough to have an internship last summer as well. And it definitely impacted the way I looked for one this year, in terms of trying not to get cut up. And what I mean by that is, I was trying to find an insert internship this year that didn’t necessarily have to pay more than others or at the biggest company. I think that there’s a lot of value in every internship and the most important takeaway is can be found just about anywhere and I learned that last summer I worked for a medium sized to large sized company and this year working for a smaller size company, it brings a whole different kind of value to my professional career. And also I tried to make sure it aligns with my goals. When it comes down to it I wanted to choose an internship that resonated with my passions and professional interests. And lastly, I wanted to focus on what offer the most learning opportunities I think that’s what I valued last summer and I definitely valued this summer as well.
Ryan Barnett 09:49
Thank you great answer Great answer. And Alex the other day I think he said you know I applied to revenue rocket because had consulting in the name I’d love to, you know, you had a thoughts and practice of where you were looking to expand your knowledge and expertise within, within consulting. And I think when you landed, you found out a little bit more m&a. And I’d love to hear kind of your expectation coming in, and perhaps how that may have pivoted throughout the year as you’ve learned, what we do and how you can best apply your expertise to revenue rocket.
Alex Walker 10:26
Well, yeah, I definitely apply here because consulting was in the name. But finding out that it was m&a was actually a really pleasant surprise. I’ve had some consulting experience working on consulting projects in the past. And I never really touched m&a. But it had always been an interest for me. And so it happened to just sort of be a happy coincidence that I went for consulting and got a lot of experience in m&a. And so the big takeaways that I’ve gotten from m&a is that it’s a process. Consulting is a process in some way. But m&a is like a monster of a process. I didn’t realize quite how many steps there were within this. And so being able to get here and get that experience, just in m&a and knowing how the process works. A general timeline, it was all super useful, and it can definitely be applied to consulting and I believe also investment banking. So yeah.
Ryan Barnett 11:21
That’s helpful. I think you’re exactly right. There’s, there’s a lot of tasks, I wouldn’t, I don’t think these are menial tasks, but I think they’re, they’re real tasks in that in order to get a successful transaction done, or even have a successful consultant agreement, it helps to have a bit more research and a bit more data and a bit more insight into to the possibilities are out there. And again, I commend all of you for doing a great job of stepping up and, and helping with that. I’d love to also do a little bit of a round robin, so feel free to jump in here too. But I want let’s start with Christian this time. Do you have any advice for a company who is looking to start an internship program? You know, you had some experience here with your past hockey last year, and you’ve got a different one this year? So love the different angle of what, what advice would you give for people starting to hire?
Christian Gaston 12:21
Yeah, of course, looking back to last year, really quickly, I worked for a larger sized company. And with that came a lot more structured, I had a lot more projects that were assigned to me with specific deadlines and ways that they should be run and completed. Versus this year. At a smaller company, I had a lot more freedom. And what I took away from both these experiences is that I think there exists a perfect balance between structure and freedom, and then internship and for those running an internship program. For example, here at revenue rocket, we had lunch and learns and check ins as well as the opportunities to sit on a variety of meetings which provided structure. But also I had the freedom to jump on a bunch of projects that I would not have been able to jump on last year. And it also piqued my interest in what I’m studying in school. And then exposure to as many new things as possible is another one. I think learning how a business runs and how each department and channel fits into the overall flow of business processes is what I value most. And I think what leaders that are running an internship program should take into account. And then finally here, I think there’s a lot of value in having a completely in person or hybrid internship. The best way I can sum this up is there’s more to work than just work. And most of those added benefits are lost, I believe when working remotely as an intern.
Ryan Barnett 13:47
So thank you. It’s a fantastic point. It’s been it’s been great seeing everyone in the office. We’re lucky enough. In general revenue rocket, we are a complete hybrid organization. We built it about being away from a desk because we we understand that business can be conducted anywhere that said that to have what was really needs and I would give this advice to other people continue to consider your internships. A cohort of multiple internships helped greatly, in which you learned a lot from each other. And throughout this process, and a lot of that learning was physically next to each other. Whether it’s a lunch break in which you’re trying to figure out a puzzle or whether the conversation we tackle this problem having a physical awareness of being there was was important. Alex, I’ll turn the same question over to you is what advice would you give to a to an IT services leader considering a internship?
Alex Walker 14:54
Yeah, so I definitely agree with all of Christians points. I think freedom is definitely A key, especially for a small or midsize business, if it’s a larger business, having that list of tasks makes a little bit more sense is there’s a lot more structure there. But having that freedom this summer was really, really important for me. And it made this experience really valuable. Because it gave me the flexibility to really happened where I saw, I felt like there was room for improvement. And if I was given like a daily laundry list of tasks to get done, I definitely wouldn’t have gotten into some of the areas that I’d found myself in and actually enjoyed doing, such as more of the website revamp. So I think if you’re planning an internship experience, I think it’s important to have multiple people assigned to multiple different categories, versus just giving them a list of things to do everyday because they may find ways to improve your company that you’ve never even thought of. And the value of fresh eyes, I think is really where the really where the intern ship value comes to light for the organization.
Ryan Barnett 15:55
As a really interesting point in it does that show if you structure it right, you can get great ideas from from the team. I love the concept of beautiful naivety, you’re not ingrained within the processes that we see every day. And if we’ve been working at this company for 23 years, like bank, as you see, start to see things, we’re always evolving, but it’s nothing like a fresh set of eyes that helps you bring on new view into the company. And for you to be able to go and tackle tasks that you see fit, and not necessarily something so prescriptive, can help them grow with both the company and the intern. In fact, I think it was a great question I keep running into all at the same thing to you is, um, what advice do you have for leaders running an internship program? Of course.
Zackary Eccher 16:48
So I mean, Christian and Alex both had some great points. So I’ll kind of just lead by one piece of advice here. And that’s really just to stay involved in the process throughout. You know, from an interns perspective, feedback is really helpful and appreciated whenever it’s given. And it’s always good to sort of meet up with your intern to refocus objectives, kind of like, learn what’s going on. And then another point, I guess, would be to have an open line of communication, it’s always appreciated when you know, your higher up is able to be reached whenever you need them when they’re at work, obviously, doesn’t have to be like a minute delay to a response. But just being able to communicate and, you know, voice or issues or concerns is always great for logistics reasons and relationship reasons as well.
Ryan Barnett 17:38
Yeah, I will say having an intern, you can’t let them just free reign roam? Well, it helps to grab those things, you do have to have that ongoing relationship, and, and coaching. So it is an investment of time for for leaders of companies. But the investment helps you do a lot more. And so it’s well worth the time and effort. And then I switch the order a little bit here, Alex, if you’re to talk to appear in your scene and taking a look at internship options, perhaps another student or someone just looking for for next year, what advice would you give them for evaluating the types of companies they can go and work with?
Alex Walker 18:26
My biggest piece of advice is definitely to weigh the benefits of a large versus a small company, we’ve already been talked about the real structure that larger companies are going to give you in that general list of tasks. And that small companies, you know, you have a lot more flexibility to really get involved where you feel like you should be able to get involved or you feel like you can improve a process. But another thing to consider is just the quality of the connections you’re going to make. If I was at a large company, I definitely would have had probably a lot more connections, some at the small company, but they would have been a lot more shallow. And so being able to be here and get an in depth and really get to know Mike Ryan, everybody else on the team was really invaluable, because I was able to learn a lot more about them what they do, and use that information or to just kind of tailor what I want to do in my own future.
Ryan Barnett 19:18
Great, great advice. Zack, how about you?
Zackary Eccher 19:21
Yeah, so the large versus small company debate is always very, it’s very important to sort of consider, but what I kind of focused on mostly was just to try to find a company culture that kind of aligns with your goals. So what I mean by that is like, my goal this summer was to sort of learn as much as I can from this experience and kind of use it to propel my career into the future. And just kind of learning different sorts of tools that every sort of step of the way. And working here at a smaller size firm. It’s given me the opportunity to do that because as I mentioned before, I play a bigger role than I would at some extremely low Which company. And then another example would be, you know, try to find a firm where it has a similar work culture, or just a work culture that you want to experience, if not one that you’re planning on going into, like, if you’re trying to go into investment banking or something like that, you probably want to find an internship that would suck the life out of you to be honest, and then get out something like that just be consistent. Yeah.
Ryan Barnett 20:26
And Christian, you got a good experience here, too, and see that a little bit of both. But, you know, if you’re someone who’s evaluating an internship, what advice would you give them when considering a few options?
Christian Gaston 20:42
Yeah, I can definitely touch on this and maybe add my own twist. I think that one thing that is important to know is location, something that I took into account, for example, my internship last summer, I can be added 30 minutes every day versus 10 minutes this year. And I think that does have a big impact, something that maybe is not touched on as much. But finding something local, while it’s not always important, can provide a lot of benefits as well. And I said earlier that just about anywhere you go, you can find value, and whether that be big company or small company. And with small companies, you do have the opportunity to talk with more decision makers, and you have more exposure to every part of the business. But with big companies, you might have the opportunity to focus more on your niche passions and abilities of what you’re studying in school and what you’re interested in. So that’s the advice I would offer.
Ryan Barnett 21:38
That’s great. Mike, it was just a Ponte question over to you. What’s the financial structure of an internship typically look like? Mike, what’s the financial impact? And what are some considerations that an owner should have when considering hiring interns?
Mike Harvath 21:58
Well, we’re strong believers in paid internships, we have been since our inception of our internship program, which I guess was probably three or four years ago. You know, this year, we wade into a little bit of a new model, which also included bringing in Zach, and Will from out of town, which I think added a lot of perspective, to come in and provide some help to get these guys here and be able to help them, you know, be here for the summer. I think that was an important aspect. And I certainly would encourage business owners and leaders that are looking at interns and internship programs to, you know, both consider, you know, a paid internship, but also to look for and broaden the net, to look at applicants from, you know, a broad geography, particularly those that are interested in sort of coming to your city, in your office. For the summer, the experience that we had here, with that diverse base of, of interns from different areas of the country, different education institutions, certainly helped us add perspective and experience and help with our key learning. I think that it’s not just about the financial aspect, I mean, certainly interns, paid internships, for the expertise they bring in perspective they bring is a great investment. So very high return on investment time, both for productivity and, and relatively low cost. I think it’s a it’s a great way to boost your summer productivity versus have maybe summer productivity go down, which oftentimes happens in small firm, but it’s also one where you can attract the best candidates. And I think certainly for us, that was proven out this year.
Ryan Barnett 24:04
Yeah, I think you nailed it in some of the things we did around structure, I think really helped so that the lunch and learns, helps having a person and we dedicated a, it might have been a quarter FTE, to to finding interns. We used to handshake with all the tools that we use that was very helpful. But Sahil, our team spent a tremendous amount of time finding, recruiting, interviewing. So I would say that there is an aspect here that you want to factor in on finding the talent that’s going to be a good cultural fit for you. Is, is an endeavor, but again, again worth it for for not all that summer. But what’s beyond. Mata I’d love to hear your perspective here. A little bit of time and your insights
Matt Lockhart 25:00
These guys are such superstars. And and I think that they shared what has been, you know, reality for us. And I think that that that couple of the things that all mention or or sort of highlight is that our team this year taught us a number of things. And so your comment, when I’ve never heard the term before Ryan, beautiful naivete, I would sort of maybe opine that it’s yeah, it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. And these guys have come in and taught us things that we wouldn’t have have learned before. And it’s no surprise, right, the future is in, in the youth in all aspects of life, but certainly, in the development of a business. So for example, think about artificial intelligence, and the use of artificial intelligence, and our ability, and when I say our us older guys ability to grasp it, versus these guys ability to grasp it is like light years apart, right. And so I think that if you go into an internship program with the thought that, you know, we’re gonna give these guys a whole bunch of stuff, right, and we’re gonna get a little productivity game, and we’re gonna do a little recruiting, and etc, etc. Sure, all good, all of those things come out of it. But if you go in with an open mind that you can actually improve your firm through the talent that you’re bringing on board in a short period of time, man, and explosive program. And I think that we’ve seen that. And, and I’ll just highlight kind of what Mike said that it can be hard for medium sized services businesses to think about bringing in an internship program, because everybody’s running hard, the summer is the summer, etc, etc. And so I hope what you gain from this discussion, is that it doesn’t need to be so mapped out and so structured, right? That, that the talent and the ingenuity of your interns allows you to have some freedom in the program. And that actually lines up with, I think, sort of the cultural, develop development of not just the firm, but of the interns themselves by enabling them some freedom. So what a highlight and I’ll just say, you know, best podcast ever. And no surprise that, that we beam, as partners talked a little bit less, and we let the future shine.
Ryan Barnett 28:09
I agree. And I’m really thankful for all of Zack, Christian, Alex, and well for for being here this summer. I’d love to turn it over in just a sec, or someone Alex there on just open thoughts, you know, I would do anything you’d like to talk about and address, and we’ll go from there. Zack, what do you think?
Zach Eccher 28:34
Yeah, I just want to start off by saying thank you, again, for having me on here and having me for the summer, it’s been a great experience. And if I could choose to do it again, I 100% would. And I guess just some advice for interns coming in for any company anywhere. The big thing would be to don’t stress too much, you know, over my employment here, my perception. My perception coming in here was that it was I felt a little bit intimidated. You know, I’m coming in as a college student, I felt a little under qualified to say the least, all I had under my belt was like education, and a little bit of consulting experience. But, you know, through proper guidance, I kind of overcame that. And I feel like in the end, I had a really significant contribution to the company. So overall, even though it’s a big change, I feel like in most cases, you’ll adapt to it. And then just don’t worry too much about the details. That’s about it.
Ryan Barnett 29:30
And where is that kind of work? We’re just afraid of you as you are afraid of us. So that’s a Christian, how about you open open floor? Yeah, thank you.
Christian Gaston 29:44
I’ll just reiterate kind of what Zach said. I’d like to thank revenue rocket, providing me with the skills necessary to embark on not just professional life but adult life being around people who are older than me exposes me to a lot more than just what professional businesses are like. And one thing I will say to those seeking internships is that technical skills only go so far what you learn in school only goes so far. And internships, provide an expose you to the soft skills that become really I think what I’ve learned is the heart of a business and business processes.
Ryan Barnett 30:29
Great, and Alex, I’ll alternate to you. But I’m guessing you’d like to mention a water bottle first.
Alex Walker 30:38
Yes, I would like to mention a water bottle first. So as a thank you for all of you for getting through the this podcast this episode of Shoot the Moon we would like to reward you with a free water bottle. So if you go to our website and find the domain, contact us page, fill out that form and we will send you your very own to Didomi water bottle with the revenue rocket logo. So shifting to my final thoughts, I want to reiterate, thank you very much to everyone I’ve worked with at the company, it’s been a truly invaluable experience. Being able to learn sort of the cogs in the ins and outs is one of my that was one of my main goals for the summer. And really being able to do that made this an invaluable experience. And then a piggyback off of what Matt was saying about you know how you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, new dogs take a little bit more time to adjust. So I would say go in with the expectation that you won’t be on it immediately. It’s going to take a little bit of time, and that bit of waiting might stress you out. But don’t stress about it. Because once you’re two weeks in and you’ve found your flow, it starts to go a whole lot more smoothly.
Ryan Barnett 31:48
It’s great advice from all and again, thank you so much. With that, Mike, we’ll turn it back over to you.
Mike Harvath 31:56
Thanks, guys appreciate the time and the insights. And of course your time with us this summer was fantastic all the way around. From my perspective, you guys were quite quick studies, in may at times felt like you’re drinking from a firehose, but you certainly were very fast. Coming up to speed on the business and the process and everything that we do here at revenue rocket. So with that we wish you the best in the future. And please do stay in touch. For the rest of us. I guess it’s time to tie a ribbon on it for this week, Shoot the Moon podcast here and the weaning summer in Minnesota. We encourage you to tune in next week. We’ll have more interesting and exciting topics around m&a and growth strategy for your tech enabled service business. Thanks a lot and make it a great week.