Question 1 – Professional and ethical behaviour
At the start-up that I worked at, there were only 6 employees and we all worked long hours to cover the ends of the job. I was once asked to stand in for my colleague for a role while she was out of the office for a while but when a customer called and pressed for something that was not within my job scope or understanding, I struggled about whether I should access my colleague’s files to help me understand the client’s demands better, or to wait for her to return before answering the customer’s queries. I did the right thing not to invade my colleague’s privacy and waited for her to return and duly informed her of what the customer had asked for.
The value in question in this case would thus be professionalism and ethics – it would not have been ethical for me to look through my colleagues files, even if it were in the customer’s or company’s interest to give him an answer immediately. I determined that this was a good line of conduct as I wouldn’t like my personal documents to be looked through by a third party.
If I were to occur a similar situation in the future, I would likely do the same thing again, with the principle that it is rude to intrude into other people’s privacy and belongings, and to do to others only what I would like to be done on myself. To improve on the situation, if the customer’s inquiry was very urgent, I would have texted or dialled my colleague immediately to give the customer a quicker, more expedient response.
Question 2 – Resolution of problems and decision-making
My biggest achievement during this internship was initiating a dissolution. This start-up had two shareholder companies, of which was one was no longer necessary to the business’s overall structure. A lot of paper work had to be done and this process was a bit complex and even sometimes tedious but I collected, verified and took in the relevant information to make the proper analysis. An example of this is that legal codes and regulations were needed to be scrutinized and followed precisely. It was important to clearly and concisely communicate the documentation as well. Thus, I integrated and joined the information to present the dissolution I had come up with to my superior and they were pleased with the methodical and well-researched approach I took. Additionally, I had to think outside of the box to come around a bind that the company was in, which attests to my use of creativity and innovation to resolve the problem.
The recommended solution or conclusion that the organization cleared was that the dissolution was well prepared and meticulously put together and would lead to the start-up being able to make headway as it tied to get more investors.
This experience taught me the value of meticulous behaviour and being thorough with work, as it means presenting a complete and comprehensive set of solutions to the supervisors or management who needs it. Oftentimes slipshod or work made absent-mindedly will lead to frustration due to lapses in work, and often have to be redone. I believe in doing work once well and correctly.
Question 3 – Communication
Listening is a very important skill as a professional. This is something that I quickly picked up after my first day interning at the company, as things are often moving very quickly, especially in a start-up where we are expected to be spontaneous and quick thinkers. Hence it is important to listen and absorb as much information from other people who may have more information than you at the current moment, or people who are more experienced and know a lot more about the trade. I obtained exact and relevant information to what the company head wanted to see in the monthly report and followed up through the listening and discussion.
This taught me that working in an accounts department can be very fast-paced, with a lot of information being thrown at me at the same time, and having to make sense of and sieve out what is relevant to the task at hand. This is the same for bigger companies that I may work with in the future.
In the future, this skill of learning will definitely be applicable, as it is in the present. I learned the importance of note-taking during this apprenticeship experience. This would mean bringing a pen and paper, though it may seem as an old school method to some, I find is crucial to catch pieces of information when they come by, as well as to capture my train of thought or a good idea before it slips off my mind. This internship experience provide to be one of a lifetime and very unique. I will build upon it not only for educational advancement but also for my future and career, since I was able to explore my achievements, strengths and weaknesses.
3.2 Write and express himself so as to emphasize the made work
A) As I previously mentioned in one of the questions above, during the internship, I had to initiate a dissolution between two shareholder companies. This start-up had two shareholder companies, of which was one was no longer necessary to the business’s overall structure. A lot of paper work had to be done and this process was a bit complex and even sometimes tedious. An example of this is that legal codes and regulations were needed to be scrutinized and followed precisely. It was important to clearly and concisely communicate the documentation well in order for it to be well understood at all levels.
B) With regards to the dissolution that I initiated, the paperwork and documentation was clearly and concisely communicated, and I believe that it was well received by my boss, who does not have a full accounting background, but he said that the work was thorough and meticulously done, yet was not difficult to understand, which he found useful and commended.
C) I learnt that it is important to communicate one’s thoughts, ideas and work clearly and concisely, in order for people of all backgrounds to be able to understand. In school we write to impress our teachers, but in the working world, I have learnt that it is more important to be understood than to sound impressive but not get anywhere with my writing.
A) I was criticised by a client who had more experience on the subject matter than I did. Admittedly I was initially hurt or not receptive to change, since the work I put in involved considerable effort and time. However, I understood that my job was to satisfy the client’s needs and I got past the uneasiness in taking criticism, and did the necessary changes as per the client’s request. This was more a mind over matter issue.
B) One of my weaknesses is taking in criticism. I have never been good at taking criticism, be it from my family or in school. However, as to be expected, my internship presented various situations where my work either during or after the fact was critiqued by a client for my lack of proper communication and presentation of the briefs.
C) I have always tried to tell myself to be more receptive to criticism and that it is part of the learning process and that oftentimes, there are no right or wrong answers. This will help assuage the mind-set that there are certain ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers which makes me fearful of criticism.
Question 4 – Autonomy
A) When I first started the internship, I made a lot of assumptions that I would be micromanaged or have someone essentially looking over my shoulder, so to speak, as I did my work. This turned out to not be the case at all! In order to fulfil my responsibilities, I had to make a lot of decisions on my own using critical thinking, sometimes based on little information. For this reason, my internship was a typical one. I found that I was not fully satisfied with my performance as I had little supervision and guidance. The difficulty I faced during this task was that I feared asking for help, since everyone in the start-up was quite independent and spoke only when necessary.
B) The method to resolve this issue was quite straightforward – I asked around for help when I needed to, albeit in a polite manner so that people would not brush me off, and it would also show my eagerness to learn, since I was an intern. The result was that I was able to get my queries solved by getting over my fear of asking.
C) This experience is very useful as it taught me the value of daring to speak up and ask questions when in doubt. I do believe bosses would rather have employees clarify their doubts rather than commit a mistake and waste everyone’s time with a revision of the work.
4.2 Put a lot into the professional improvement
A) I hope to enrich my skillsets through working opportunities and internships like the one I just concluded, so as to get a better sense of where my professional forte lies; it may not be the case that my academic strengths will equal to my professional passions in the future. I hope to use the next few years to explore my options. Of course, I hope to achieve a stable career.
B) To achieve my goal of achieving a stable career that I can enjoy, I will need to ask myself what drives me and where my interests truly lie. I have considered diverging into my other hobbies and passions like surfing and hiking, but at the end of the day, I think that a professional job is still what suits me more.
C) Other people could help me reach my goals by giving me advice on my career prospects and the pitfalls that some careers have. I will also have to constantly expose myself to more jobs.
A) Similar to the situation above, the difficulty I faced during this task was that I feared asking for help, since everyone in the start-up was quite independent and spoke only when necessary. To execute the task of compiling a list of taxes for that fiscal year, I had to ask around the company for where the documents were available for retrieval. It was not as hard as I thought it would be.
B) My efforts were rewarded when I found the documents in a company archive online, which my colleague, Sally, the head of operations, directed me to. She even gave me a run-through of where some of the other critical documents that I would need for work under my purview were.
C) I do not think that the measures I took would differ in the future, or that it would necessarily become invalid, since asking for help is a skill. However, in a different company and under different circumstances, I may react differently – for instance, if my co-workers are not too friendly I may be inclined to try to find the answer on my own first.
Question 5 – Teamwork and leadership
A) Creating a business plan for the start-up was definitely a challenge. As part of the plan, not only did I have to conduct specific research on a start-up’s business model, but I also had to perform accounting formulas and apply certain complex principles to produce a 3-year financial projection that was in line with the company’s goals for future investment.
B) My duties also included client relations as well as overseeing a positive outlook of the start-ups main objectives. I believe I learnt quite a fair bit about managing the project and teams effectively through this experience and the experience was able to reap the results of my work as well.
C) This experience is definitely applicable to other working situations as well, since leadership and creating plans are common tasks in the workplace.
A) What was great about this internship was the fact that the company is a small start-up. Unlike major corporations, start-ups often are still working out some of the quirks and developing themselves as they grow. The company consisted of only 6 employees. Unlike in bigger companies that my friends went to, where they might have needed help with more complex tasks, as an intern I had to exercise a lot more initiative than I expected initially, such as with the month-end accounts, since I had no supervision.
B) I welcomed these challenges as I viewed it was a great way to learn about my fortes and weaknesses, as well as teaching me how a small start-up handles business administration and accounting matters.
C) The benefit to interning in this sort of environment is that it wound up being a lot more personal than what one would probably experience if they were filling the same role at a major corporation.
Recapitulative Question A
As for the downside of things, this internship showed me my areas for improvement, which is great for me to hone in on my weaknesses and address them before they arise in my future career, with greater consequences. First, I realize how I could better groom myself for the accounting profession. Since I was in a new and unfamiliar environment, where a unique company structure, I saw my weaknesses. My biggest weakness would have to be taking in criticism. I have never been good at taking criticism, be it from my family or in school.
However, as to be expected, my internship presented various situations where my work either during or after the fact was critiqued by someone with more experience. Admittedly I was initially hurt or not receptive to change, since the work I put in involved considerable effort and time. However, as the weeks progressed, accepting criticism became easier. I sometimes think this uneasiness toward taking criticism comes from self-doubt. Self-doubt is another weakness this internship brought to light for analysis.
Recapitulative question B (OPTIONAL)
During this internship, I learnt about my independence as strength: knowing when to take the lead as well as when to let someone else take it is crucial to being an effective leader. Seniority and power doesn’t always relate with what is needed for the good of the company. Furthermore, by being able to exercise my independence and have more of an influence than the average intern, I was afforded the opportunity of implementing some of my own ideas into an already-existing structure. Being able to apply what you learn in school in real-life scenarios and see how they play out proved to be a real learning experience that will benefit me as I progress in my profession.