Karina Pareja Looks Back at Her DHG Internship Experience
My name is Karina Pareja, and I currently attend Auburn University. I interned at DHG in the Atlanta office during the spring 2018 semester and focused mainly on the dealership industry. I have a Sheepadoodle puppy, am a certified yoga instructor, have been vegan/vegetarian since I was 5 years old, and am very devoted to my faith.
What is something that happened during my internship that I didn’t expect?
TRAVEL. I traveled to New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Augusta during my three months at DHG. Most weeks I would head to the airport for a 7:00am flight Monday morning and would be back in Atlanta by late Thursday evening. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this schedule. We would get the majority of our work completed by Thursday, allowing for a more relaxed day of clearing review notes and catching up with people in the office on Friday.
What did I learn overall?
My greatest takeaway from the internship is less technical-based and more people-oriented. I learned how different the senior associates’ coaching styles can be and how to effectively acclimate between the various styles. Senior associates (Seniors as we refer to them!) typically assign work to interns but the manner in which they assign work will differ with each person you meet. Some will walk you through each step of the assigned work, some will just ask you to do a section of the audit and want you to make the effort of discerning what that means. In both instances, the seniors are well-intentioned. They either remember how foreign everything was as an intern and are patient when giving instructions, or they see the potential in you and thus, want to push you to challenge yourself. What I learned through these experiences is that, as an intern, you need to be flexible in working with other people.
What are some tips you have for incoming interns?
Give all of your focus to the internship. It’s easy to think of an internship as a fast-pass into a full-time job, however you have to put in the effort for that to happen. As an intern, you are constantly being judged, as this is essentially a three-month long interview. This is critical to keep in mind when you are out of work. The decision between spending time on the internet or asking around the office for assignments says a lot about your work ethic.
Can you speak on your experience interacting with other professionals?
Since I worked primarily on dealerships, I happened to work on the same client for about five weeks of my internship. To my surprise, I was invited to the end-of-fieldwork dinner with this client. This dinner included the CFO of the dealership, the manager of the dealership, the partner on the job, the senior manager, manager, senior, associates, about 11 other people from the dealership, and myself. I was shocked when I found out I was invited. Luckily, both the dealership client and the dealership team at DHG had the best sense of humor, so it ended up being one of the most memorable moments of my internship. It was nice to be able to converse with people at those tiers in such a casual setting. If you have the opportunity to talk to people in positions above you, definitely make the most of it!