Hello! Wherever you are, I hope you are enjoying the last few weeks of summer vacation before school is back in session. I am excited to announce that this year I am moving in early to begin training as a Resident Assistant. It is my first year as an RA, and I will be living in Bruce Hall with the Pitt Business Living Learning Community. Although this summer has been great, I am super excited to get back to campus to see old friends and start my new job!
All in all, these past two months have been a wonderful learning experience. I feel that I have grown a lot as a business student and am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with a close-knit group of friendly people at La Casita de Inglés.
One of the skills I improved upon during this internship is working outside of my comfort zone. Like I have mentioned in previous blog posts, most of my work at La Casita de Inglés consisted of consulting the HR department on how to manage the school employees, and at the beginning, I felt a little overwhelmed. As an introvert, sometimes I tend to feel more comfortable observing a group discussion rather than leading it, especially when I am not 100% knowledgeable on a topic. However, this consulting job forced me to be more confident in my skills. My supervisors were especially helpful by encouraging me to communicate all and any of my suggestions and then taking them into consideration. Now I feel much more comfortable sharing ideas and voicing questions.
There are also countless examples of ways I developed professionally during my time at La Casita. One of them is when I helped write a clear and effective disciplinary policy for the company handbook. In the original system, employees who did not meet company expectations, such as rules on punctuality, would be given multiple warnings until the Casita manager and/or HR department decided that a meeting would be necessary to discuss the problem. Unfortunately, this was not efficient since the employee’s behavior would often continue to go unchecked for too long and eventually affect the company’s productivity. Under my new system, managers and/or someone from HR are required to record when a warning has been given, the way in which it was delivered (email, face-to-face, text, phone call, etc.), and the specific reasoning behind it. After 2-3 warnings, a meeting will then be scheduled with a member of the HR department to discuss the issue, fill out a Performance Improvement Plan, and plan a follow-up meeting to assess if any improvements have been made. I am most proud of this project because I completed it using my own notes from previous courses in HR and witnessed how my efforts fixed an important issue. When I am in class at Pitt, it’s easy to imagine implementing HR best practices, but projects such as this one made me realize that putting them into practice at a company can be much harder if managers do not have the proper time or expertise. Although I knew going into this internship that HR is a profession I am interested in, this experience confirmed that it is the career path I see myself pursuing after graduation.
One of the ways in which I plan to bring these and other takeaways to Pitt Business is through my on-campus job as a Resident Assistant. If there are new students looking to know more about a career path in human resources, I can share what I have learned about the industry so far and offer advice on the various skills that are necessary to become successful in business. Furthermore, this internship gave me experience in Pitt’s study abroad recruitment process. As a leader in my Pitt Business community, I can help promote this IIP program as well as the many other virtual opportunities that the study abroad office offers. When it comes to building professional experience, the earlier you start, the better, and I hope that I may be able to assist students, if they are interested, in finding the job opportunities that fit them best. Although I am sure there are plenty of virtual internship positions available for freshmen to research on their own, applying for one through the university is a convenient option worth exploring.
Finally, I would just like to thank my supervisors, Joe and Leila, for their guidance throughout this experience as well as my scholarship donor for the financial support they provided which made my internship possible. It has truly been a summer I will not forget, and I look forward to continuing my professional development in school this semester.