Making the Most of Your Analytics Internship

Making the Most of Your Analytics Internship

Are you an analytics student anxiously awaiting the start of your first analytics internship? You are not alone! Thousands of students have worked hard all year and are preparing for what could be the summer of a lifetime. The internship opportunity means even more when you know what it took to land that job. All the applications, interviews, rejections and doubt finally led to an offer and acceptance. Now you can focus on finishing up the quarter or semester and get on to some “real work”, right?

I get the privilege of working closely with students in the Master of Applied Data Science program at the University of Chicago as well as other graduate students in Iowa to advance in their analytics career and land that dream job. Many of my coaching clients have asked for advice and talked about their plans for the summer.

Here are some themes to make the most of an analytics internship.

Stand Out
Whether you are working for a large company with a sizable analytics team or a small but mighty group in a start-up company, you want to make the most of this opportunity to learn, to make a good impression, and to stand out. So be intentional about what you want to learn and what skills you want to gain. It should go beyond just learning in the classroom to utilizing your skills to solve problems.

  1. Tools – what software and tools do you want to gain more expertise in or get exposure to?
  2. Skills – what specific skills do you want to gain? What do you want to be able to add to your resume based on what you’ve actually done by the end of the summer?
  3. Speak Up – it can be very intimidating as an intern to share your thoughts. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas when asked or even to ask for more work if you feel you have more capacity.

Make Connections
You have the opportunity to strengthen your network and really connect with analytics professionals and leaders at your new company. Start with your working team and ask for one-on-one time to get to know them – whether you can do that in-person or through a video chat. Be respectful of their busy schedules (keep it to 30 minutes or less). Once you have a good read on the political scene, reach out to others outside of your group. Have some questions ready that are relevant to the work you are doing and to their personal life.

Here are a few that I recommend:
• Tell me how you got into analytics / data science
• What do you like most about your job?
• What recommendations do you have for me as I start my internship/time with this company?

Utilize social media such as LinkedIn and invite those that you work with or meet to connect with you (after you’ve already actually worked with them or met them). Make sure you also update your profile once you start so others in your network can see the experience you are gaining. As appropriate post about your experiences to keep your network informed.

Create Leverage
Your goal may be to land a full-time job or to just gain experience in an industry or role. Either way, make sure you leverage your time to reach that goal.

  • Gaining business acumen is a big part of your experience so maximize it by learning as much as you can. It starts by understanding as much as you can about the company, your analytics team, other teams, and the industry. I continually hear from analytics leaders that understanding the business is crucial to success.
  • If the company isn’t able to offer you a full-time job at the end of the summer, ask if your hiring manager would be a reference or if they have a referral of someone in their network that might be a good fit
  • Every experience you have is an opportunity to shape your brand. Are your strengths in a tool like Python? Model development/coding? Dashboards or drawing insights? Take the summer to really hone in on what makes you unique and use that to shape your own image and the image you portray to others


This is going to be the best summer ever! By following these steps you will be on track to get that full-time offer and continue the professional career you’ve been dreaming of. If you would like to create a more specific game plan for your situation so you can maximize your summer, reach out and find out more about our coaching services for students.

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