My Strand internship - Nick De Jonghe
Who is Nick?
Nick is a student event and project management at KdG college in Antwerp. He joined our marketing team in March and is helping us with our events. After 2 months of working with us, his internship has come to an end. He wrote us a short article about his experience at Strand.
My Strand experience
30-03-20 was my first day as event intern of Strand Associates Consulting. It was everything but a normal day at the office… Mid-March, the Belgian government was compelled to implement a series of measures to contain the swiftly spreading Coronavirus. Several companies were forced to make their staff technically unemployed or had to close their doors for an indefinite period of time. Teleworking has become the standard both in Belgium and the rest of the world. So, I started my internship, slightly more nervous but still very excited.
Remembering the first days, there was no need for stress and nervousness at all. I was introduced to team marketing and it was a very pleasant acquaintance. Even though these are bizarre times, they made me feel welcome and I had the feeling I fitted in perfectly. Jana was my mentor. Both for her and for me it was the first time to be doing an internship through Microsoft teams. However, she gave me the feeling like she'd already done that before. The communication ran like clockwork, she was always available to respond to my questions. In fact, there were days when we were for four hours in one call. In my opinion, it requires a particular skill to guide and support an intern so well, despite not being together in the same room. Jana certainly has that skill!
To be completely honest, the days were flying by. The first time I really felt connected to Strand was during designing the bingo cards. It was at this moment I realized that Strand intends to go the extra mile. Although the entire nation was depressed, Strand was in the process of creating added value for their employees and consultants. I created the bingo cards and it truly gave me a sense of gratification to see the enthusiastic reaction afterwards.
Before I started my internship, I faced a lot of questions. Will my internship be cancelled? Will there be enough work for me? Will my traineeship be postponed? How am I going to organize events in these desperate times? Fortunately, Strand was determined. No virus slowed them down, they kept going. My internship wasn't cancelled at all! There was plenty of educational work for me! And organizing events during a lockdown? I believe Jana and I gave that another dimension. The climax of my traineeship: StrandFm. It was a terribly fun project to work on but I also learned a lot. Nothing is ever impossible, it will just be difficult. I remember a couple of days before the broadcast Jana and I were joking about the fact that the show would at least have 60 unique listeners. Furthermore, we were imagining a second edition. On the day of the broadcast, I was secretly a teeny bit jittery. Imagine no one listening to the program... So the release was enormous considering how many people had been listening and how many splendid compliments the radio show received. I felt so proud.
Throughout my internship, they also added small projects, such as the celebration videos of La Cité Joyeuse and employee of the month. Personally, I loved those assignments. In my spare time, I am strongly interested in the editing of videos. I'm not very good at that yet, but I do hope to develop that skill further in the course of the future. By editing a video, you can turn raw footage into your own personal story.
At college you learn a lot of theory. The practice is in reality completely different. Every company culture is different, for example, the monthly Performance Review. A document that guides you to your goals and KPI’s. You know exactly what's expected of you that month. I loved that. I'm more of a diesel myself, I'm a bit slow to get things started and from time to time I dare to postpone certain things. The MPR put additional positive pressure on me. You know what to do and when to be finished. If you do that properly, you will be rewarded and vice versa.
To conclude, I would like to thank everyone at Strand, especially Jana, for giving me this opportunity. I've laid a solid foundation for my future career. Stay bold, stay humane!
Nick de Jonghe