Work Experience Makes a Huge Difference

What to consider when looking for an internship

Start applying early. Many larger ­companies feature an HR portal on their webpage, which allows you to upload your application and your résumé. However, to get a reaction you need to call them and refer to the application you have submitted. Be prepared to spend a whole day on the phone, as you are transferred from one person to the next, before you reach the right person.

You can also apply for an internship by becoming the host for a company at DSE’s job fair. Here, you’ll get to
talk to lots of people who are more than happy to help you get in touch with the right department. You may also attend the fair as a guest, curious to scope out the different companies.
All booths are attended by employees, who are there specifically to talk to you.

Use your network, internship coordinators, and advisors, and also friends and lecturers, to brainstorm ideas for internships – and, again: connections at and email addresses for companies are worth their weight in gold.

How to make the most of your internship

  • In the workplace, you should be both humble and assertive.
  • Be outgoing and smile at your coworkers and business partners. Take active part in activities at the workplace.
  • Find and seek out assignments from your colleagues by showing a personal interest.
  • Remember that people want to help. All you have to do is ask.
  • Make yourself invaluable and become part of the team. This will make it easier to get a student job after the internship. During your internship, you may also have ideas for your final project or future cases handed to you.
  • Take part in the social life of the department/company – for instance, chit-chat in the open office or during lunch in the canteen.
  • View your internship as a relevant opportunity to try out a workplace. Would you like to work here as a recent graduate?

After having talked to Siemens at DSE’s job fair, Emma Murel Vilstrup got an internship at the company.

Emma Murel Vilstrup hadn’t really planned to attend DSE’s job fair last year, but a classmate convinced her to go. “At the fair, I saw Siemens’s booth, with the windmills, and I actually thought to myself that I wouldn’t go to Brande to work there.” However, the booth was tended by Siemens’s female intern (of the time), who approached Emma to find out what her interests might be. At the end of the day, Emma went home and wrote a determined email to the service department for turbines in Ballerup.

“I wouldn’t necessarily call it an application, but I had gone to Siemens’s webpage, where I found the direct email address for the boss of the department in Ballerup, where I wanted to do my internship,” explains Emma Murel Vilstrup, who added that she had only applied for this specific internship and really wanted to become an intern at the department for gas and steam turbines. It just so happened that the representative at the fair had also noticed Emma, and therefore it did not take long before she was invited to an interview.

“I was super nervous and brought two changes of clothing with me in my bag. During the interview, I sweated profusely. I was over- prepared and had seen all of their swaggy videos on YouTube, and then I was greeted by these three really relaxed engineers, who just wanted to scope me out, before hiring me. So, compared to what some of my fellow students have experienced, it’s been really easy for me,” says Emma Murel Vilstrup. She recommends starting the process of looking for an internship early. At Siemens, making yourself known and calling attention to yourself pays off. On the other hand, she also believes you should view an internship as an unsolicited application and not get too stressed out because of it. “After all, we’re just students, who are here to learn.”

Internships Open the Doors to Further Opportunities

The phone interview is briefly interrupted by Emma, who has to process some information from a man concerning the temperature at an oil-fired power station. The call is from the heat and power station in Svendborg. Emma is working on a report on this particular station. “Work experience makes a huge difference. My job is versatile and I have many different deadlines. But you also find out that it’s okay to turn down an assignment. Before I began my internship, I was pretty sure that I was going to get my Master’s degree, too, but right now I believe that work experience is at least as important as a degree. I have discovered how rarely I draw directly on knowledge I have acquired from the courses I have taken. That knowledge has value, but in practice I only utilize perhaps half of the knowledge I have obtained. However, you never know in advance, which aspects of the course prove to be valuable, when you are about to get a job. Also, I may need some of them later on or in a different job.”

Her work experience has also made Emma Murel Vilstrup change her priorities. When she was in school, she would often take a few hours off during the afternoon and go riding. She would then go back to reading at night. Now, through her job, she has gotten used to an 8-6 rhythm. “Being an engineer is awesome, because there are so many possibilities. Right now, I focus on turbines, and I am starting to understand the mechanics and dynamics and learning a lot about heat and power stations. Perhaps, in a few years, I’ll be really into windmills or something else entirely – that’s really up to me. I like all the technical aspects – acquiring thorough knowledge about why and how things are put together.”