Written by Takudzwa Chawota, Graduate Assistant with the Career Center and psychology/Industrial Organizational graduate student.
This past summer I completed a 12-week internship program at Express Scripts Inc., headquartered in St Louis, MO. I came across this internship position on Glassdoor in February 2018. From the time I completed the online application, the interview process went pretty quickly and consisted of two interview rounds. The first one was through Hirevue, an online recruiting tool that enables recorded live video interviews. I then proceeded to the next and final interview round where I met with two hiring managers on site at Express Scripts in St Louis. An offer was extended a week after the onsite
HR Continuous Improvement Internship provides challenging and meaningful experience
As the HR Continuous Improvement intern, I provided HR support to the Workflow Excellence team. The Workflow Excellence team is tasked with identifying and implementing HR process improvements through knowledge management, using HR Systems, and overseeing the HR Service Center. Specifically, my role over the summer was to conduct research in an effort to identify some key volume drivers for the HR Service Center and not only make recommendations for areas of improvement but also see through their implementation. The research I conducted involved data analysis and consulting with various subject matter experts on the underlying concerns and issues their departments were facing. Once I began formulating a hypothesis on what recommendations I was going to make, my team guided me through the process of attaining buy-in from several other stakeholders whom I was going to partner with for the implementation phase. By the time I left in mid-August, two of three recommendations I made were already in the implementation, which was pretty fulfilling on my part.
In addition to my core project in HR Continuous Improvement, I was very fortunate to work on two other projects with the Organizational Effectiveness team. I partnered with the Organizational Development Specialist and another HR intern to develop action planning training for leaders on how to interpret and enact engagement survey results. Furthermore, we developed a best-practices guide for departments on conducting surveys within the organization. This was to help standardize the way different business units within the organization go about surveying and, above all, direct them to the necessary teams with experts in organizational surveys in case they need help.
This internship at Express Scripts provided me an opportunity to work on some challenging and meaningful projects and overall contribute to the organization in ways I did not expect going in. They were particularly impactful because I managed to directly apply the concepts I learned in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program here at Missouri State University in a real-world work setting. Furthermore, I developed skills in project planning and implementation and found more appreciation for data-driven decision making. Lastly, presenting recommendations to get senior HR leadership’s buy-in was an invaluable experience.
Advice for students seeking internships
To those who will be looking for internships, my biggest piece of advice is starting the search process early. Internship searching can be a taxing endeavor, and the earlier you start, the more likely you are to land the most lucrative positions. Visit the Career Center, and the staff there can share with you tips and resources to help you locate great opportunities.
While at the internship, first and foremost make sure your hiring manager and you are on the same page about your job duties, expectations, and what you hope to get out of the internship experience. This open line of communication will enable you not only to complete your tasks effectively but also to identify other interesting projects that you may want to be a part of. In addition, do not be afraid to ask questions whenever you are not clear about something. No one will expect interns to have all the answers and know everything. Be curious, ask about how processes work, and get clarification whenever possible. Internships are also a great way to build your network. Connect with your peers (fellow interns), team members, and business leaders. Invite managers leading teams you might be interested in for coffee and talk to them about their work, how they got where they are, and how they contribute to overall organizational effectiveness. People like to talk about their jobs and appreciate when interns/ students show genuine interest in what they do.
Internships are a great way to gain real-world experience and enhance one’s professional development. Not only do they provide exposure to what people in the career fields you might be interested in actually do, but they also allow you to identify jobs, work environments, and industries you might want to pursue and/or work in. Overall, I had a positive internship experience, and I hope fellow students take advantage of such opportunities.