Alexandra Brown

Who are you?

Alexandra Brown, Junior in Business Administration

Who did you work for, when, and where?

I worked for Makeitapp over the Summer of 2016. Makeitapp is an app development startup based out of Milan, Italy. My role was an international marketing and PR intern for English-speaking markets.

How did you find your internship?

In the spring semester prior to my internship, I participated in the Bocconi Exchange Program. During this program, I knew that I wanted to extend my stay in Italy and work, so I tried to make use of all the resources that Bocconi had to offer. I met with the career center to create a CV (international resume) and learn more about the job process within Italy. After learning more, I began attending professional events and networking. From there, I was connected to my future boss and set up an interview.

What accomplishment are you most proud of during your internship?

I am most proud of the extent to which I let myself be vulnerable to the situation. Prior to this internship, I had never been in an environment that was so completely foreign. From daily interactions to differing communication styles, everything was completely new and felt somewhat unnatural for me. I learned in time; however, that it’s okay to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and let that empower you to constantly learn and grow.

How did this internship benefit you (professionally, personally, or academically)?

It’s safe to say that this internship was one of the most impactful experiences I have ever had the pleasure of participating in. I firmly believe that the lessons I learned will carry with me through every facet of life. Professionally, I learned the importance of teamwork, work/life balance, and communication (especially in a startup environment). In terms of personal growth, I learned to constantly question. Working in a foreign environment forced me to gain perspective about myself, where I come from, and the way I do things.

What was the best part of your global internship?

The best part of my internship was not only getting to work on an international team but also, constantly learning about new cultures and ideas. I had the pleasure of collaborating on projects with colleagues working for the German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish markets as well as coordinating events and PR campaigns with representatives from German and Polish companies. Since this was such an international environment, and I was the only one with my background, I became a makeshift English language and American culture expert for our office. It was really cool to answer questions and see what other people found interesting about the United States.

What was the most challenging part of your global internship?

I found the most challenging part of the internship to be the role itself. Working in a communications position while in an Italian company proved to be a greater challenge than I had anticipated. Even though I had already been living in Italy for a few months, I had a difficult time working through language and cultural barriers to understand what my boss really needed from me. I had to learn how to adapt the vision for Italian communications to an English-speaking market.

Why should business students consider interning abroad? What advice do you have for other business students who are thinking about interning abroad?

I would highly recommend interning abroad especially if you see yourself one-day working in an international environment. I have studied abroad twice, participated in a few internships, and taken many classes on working in global environments; however, I learned far more by fully immersing myself in a culture. Experiencing an environment in which you are completely outside of your comfort zone is the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself.

If you are at all considering an international internship and have the opportunity to do so, DO IT! It may be scary at first, but those are the kind of experiences that change your life. Once you decide you want to do this, you should start talking and reaching out to people. Whether it be reaching out to any international connections for job opportunities, or students who have previously worked abroad, everything you are about to embark on is totally new, so don’t be shy about learning more.