The UPMC Summer Associates program is great because it challenges interns with a very real set of responsibilities and competing priorities. From day-to-day projects, to tours, meetings, group activities and more, it is important to keep it all straight. So what can be done? UPMC has tools in place that associates should use to make the most of their internship experience.
One of the most essential tools in today’s workplace is Microsoft Outlook. On my first day, I was bombarded with Outlook meeting requests for events that were the next day and others that were more than a month away! In the days and weeks ahead, I quickly learned that coordination with my manager, mentor, and other team members would be set up through Outlook meetings. Here are some quick tips on managing your time with Outlook:
1. Don’t be afraid to set up your own meetings in Outlook
2. Use the scheduling assistant to find the best time for you and those you’re meeting with
3. Send requests as opposed to simply emailing to find a meeting time
4. Put all appointments on the calendar, not just meetings with contacts
Of course, accepting and creating meetings does no good if you don’t watch the calendar. Outlook is always open on my computer. Leaving the program open is especially good with a second monitor that can run Outlook while you’re working elsewhere.
Use the Phone
Managers are busy. Mentors are busy. Coworkers are busy. You are busy. Emails can easily go unanswered. If you have a quick question or comment, it is easy to send an email, but is even easier to pick up the phone. My supervisor and mentor made it absolutely clear that their lines were always open to me. I would be highly surprised if it were different in other teams.
Write it Down
Documentation is key. “If you don’t have record of doing it, you didn’t do it,” my mentor has told me as he learned from my manager. Any steps you take, however small, should be documented. It helps when you have to repeat a process, not to mention when you have to explain it during the report-out presentation given to top managers and executives.
Again, everyone’s busy; the Summer Associates program makes certain of that. As one would expect of an internship program though, the coordinators, managers, mentors and group members provide the tools to make it go smoothly. It’s up to us associates to use those tools in a successful summer.
Chad Limbruner, IT Summer Associate