Hi! It’s your friendly Nigerian neighbor studying in Estonia - Nkajima. I hope you have been keeping safe, wearing your masks, washing your hands and using sanitizers? Remember, it’s important to keep to safety regulations wherever you are.
So, let's talk about internships. If you’re like me, you may be thinking of ways to have a professional learning experience. If so, an internship is the best bet for this, especially if you have no prior experience. Internships are a great way to get practical work related to your study field or career. It allows you to develop new skills and an opportunity for career exploration.
Meeting. Photo: Unsplash
I have always been on the lookout for internship opportunities ever since I got to Estonia - mostly because I figured it was a great start into the Estonian work culture and environment. I did an internship this past summer as it was a part of my curriculum requirement. Unfortunately, the current situation meant doing the internship remotely. It was fun, educative and gave me the chance to learn to work remotely (that I believe is a skill).
I had the chance to talk to a friend who interned this past summer at CreditStar. His name is Ibrahim Sherriff Tolulope - a Nigerian second year Quantitative Economics Master’s Student at the University of Tartu. I’ll be sharing some insight about his time at CreditStar as an intern.
Photo of Ibrahim by Ibrahim
CreditStar is an international consumer finance company that uses technology and automated processes to make their credit products easily accessible to their customers. Currently, CreditStar operates in 8 different countries. Ibrahim was happy to share a few words with me on his time:
- What kind of internship was it and what were your duties?
It was a compulsory internship as it is a requirement for the completion of my Master’s programme. I worked in the data science department as a data analyst. My duties included creating and updating reports in Power BI, extracting data from Snowflake data warehouse.
- How did the application process go?
The application process was straightforward as there was an advert for interns and I was required to do some home tasks after which I was selected for the position.
- How is/was it connected to your study programme?
It was much connected to my study as I was able to put to practicality my programming skills which were learnt in school - Python, SQL and R.
- How would you describe CreditStar?
As far as the experience I have in Estonia, it is one of the best private organizations to work with. My internship time there was fun and productive.
- What did you learn about work culture in Estonia?
I will summarize what I learnt about work culture in Estonia as "work hard play hard". Always strive hard to add to your knowledge no matter where you get it.
My experience in a nutshell...
Let's talk a bit about my own experience. It seemed quite hard getting an internship because, well, corona! Most of the companies I really wanted to work for had to cancel their internship programmes for the summer and others I simply didn’t get in (it’s normal, guys, that not every company will offer you a position). Thankfully, my programme director came to the rescue with a list of places previous students did their internships and also offers from lecturers at UT. I was able to do an internship with the Senior Researcher who is also an Assistant Professor of Learning Analytics at the Computer Science Institute at UT. It was pretty fun and I finally got to put my research skills to use. Doing that internship taught me to always open up and ask questions when you are not sure of what to do (that’s a real lesson, guys :)). It was remote and I got a taste of how to manage my time, communicate effectively (via Slack, email and Skype) and complete my tasks without going to an office and with my supervisor in a completely different country.
Tips on finding the perfect internship
Ibrahim and I are both students of the School of Economics and Business Administration at UT. We had to basically search for our internships ourselves. But, the good thing is University of Tartu held an internship fair where we had access to different companies in Estonia who were looking for interns. So, how do you find the perfect internship? Let’s get right into it:
- Tip #1: Google different companies in Estonia and focus on those that align with your career path
- Tip #2: Always go on the company’s website and check for the different openings (I always checked TransferWise and Bolt)
- Tip #3: Attend internship fairs
- Tip #4: Do not limit yourself to just Estonia - my roommate got an internship with the Bank of Lithuania, where she was able to also put her skills to use
- Tip #5: Update your CV and cover letter
- Tip #6: Apply! Apply! Apply!
Besides these tips there are other places to check for internships, such as workinestonia.com. Work in Estonia doesn't just post job opportunities, but also internship opportunities. If you're also one for international internships then an Erasmus internship is your best bet - you get to travel to a different country, explore a different culture, and generally have an international work experience.
"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run."
- Babe Ruth
Remember, an internship may be a compulsory part of your curriculum requirement. If it is then it’s never too early to start planning and applying for a position. Also, if you don’t get accepted, don’t give up! Keep applying, and remember these words: "Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth
I hope you find this helpful!
Have a Merry Christmas!
Text by: Nkajima