Building Real-World Skills Through A Virtual Internship
2020 was a year full of challenges and uncertainty but also one of growth and learning. Like so many other businesses, we had to reimagine our operations and adapt to a world of working from home and being remote. We worked hard and fast to make that transition seamless while still maintaining what was important to us.
Our internship program has always been something we’ve prided ourselves on. It provides unique learning opportunities for both students and employees alike. With hundreds of companies canceling their internships, we wanted to keep our program going in the face of so much change.
We took the opportunity to sit down with students in our 2020 Internship Program to get their perspective on what it was like to intern with us during a global pandemic.
Meet the lineup, our Fall 2020 Interns:
AUSTIN — I'm Austin Poon and I'm an aspiring product designer from Hong Kong. I spent the majority of my childhood in Shanghai and studied at an international high school there. I'm currently a senior studying New Media & Digital Design at Fordham University. After graduating, I hope to continue my studies in product design at Parsons School of Design. When I'm not studying or designing, you will most likely find me outside taking photographs. I love street photography and I enjoy the process of documenting fleeting moments around me. I'm also a huge ramen lover. I'm continually trying to find the best bowl of ramen!
MICHELLE — Hello, my name is Michelle and I am a Sophomore at the University of Southern California majoring in Design and minoring in Web Technologies and Applications. As a designer, I believe that I can improve peoples' daily lives through visual interaction. I'm on the path to pursue a career as a UX/UI designer. Observing how people communicate through technology and conducting case studies to study the user experience further is what I do to achieve this goal. I hope to gain more insight and direction through this internship program at Majestyk and I look forward to meeting all my mentors!
SUMMER — I live in Brooklyn and I major in Business and Technology Management at NYU Tandon. I love horror and zombie movies/shows and I enjoy cold weather. Lately, as the temperature has dropped, I went hiking upstate and also learned how to bike finally!
MIGUEL —I live in the Bronx, I go to Baruch College for Corporate Communications, and a fun fact is I am such a techie I love anything tech-related and I hope to learn programming.
How did you find Majestyk?
AUSTIN — I was looking for internships in UX/UI and saw a job posting online for Majestyk's Internship. Coming from a visual graphic design background, I was still relatively new to the world of user experience. I was mainly working on independent case studies and projects at the time. I wanted to find an internship experience that would accommodate newer UX/UI designers with fewer years of experience. Majestyk seemed really open to teaching the fundamentals of UX through their program. It was very different from many other internship listings that required a lot more former experience. The range of capabilities at Majestyk from design to development fascinated me because I wanted to learn more about digital products beyond the scope of design.
MICHELLE — I found Majestyk through Indeed, when I was looking for UX/UI Internship opportunities. Like Austin, I was very new to UX/UI and was hoping to secure an internship to get hands-on experience in a real-world work setting. Majestyk's portfolio offered me a good sense of their work ethic that matched what I was envisioning to learn from as an intern. In my interview, I got a better grip on the company culture and the influential role designers play in executing the projects.
SUMMER — I was searching for a fall internship when I found Majestyk's posting online. The role sounded exciting to me and I thought there was a great potential for me to learn after looking through Majestyk's diverse portfolio of past projects. I was also looking for a smaller-scale organization to have more freedom to allocate my time and choose what I wanted to work on.
MIGUEL — I found Majestyk through Indeed! There was a Strategy Intern position available that it aligned with my studies. Learning about Majestyk and their work drew me to apply and pursuing an opportunity with the team!
What was your first day like entering an internship during the pandemic?
AUSTIN — Everyone is always a little nervous when starting a new internship. I had the opportunity to speak with the creative team a few times on the phone during the interview process and learn more about the internship structure. Onboarding was super straight forward. Before I knew it, I was already working on the Discovery Phase and preparing questions for my first client meeting. The entire team was super responsive (on Slack) and I had no issues asking questions, setting up meetings and getting to know everyone! As much as I wish we could have done the internship in person, I'm happy to say that the virtual experience was just as good!
MICHELLE — My first day at Majestyk as an intern, I was super nervous. Since the program was entirely remote, I didn't know what to expect in terms of efficiency in communication, getting assigned tasks, what working with the team would be like, etc. I promised myself that I would make the most out of this internship program. I wanted to learn as much as possible from the team and the project assigned to me. To my surprise, communication was never an issue and it was effortless to reach out to the team members for calls, help, and more. Utilizing communicative spaces like Slack and Asana helped me stay organized and feel more connected to the company.
SUMMER — I was a bit nervous from the interview to the onboarding process about a remote internship. But everyone I spoke to at Majestyk was welcoming. Even though the program had to be remote, communication with the team was never an issue. Everyone was easily reachable. After the first day, my impression was that I could explore a lot of things on my own and ask anyone questions for pointers and guidance. The flexibility also helped me work it into my schedule, which I appreciated!
What was it like for you getting to know your colleagues and working with the team but never actually meeting them?
AUSTIN — While it really sucks that the internship had to take place virtually, I could still form relationships with my colleagues through Majestyk Donut. It was an excellent way to go around and learn about everyone's background and interests. I didn't find it weird or awkward to do everything through Zoom or Google Meet because everyone had their cameras on and was really friendly!
MICHELLE — Getting to meet the team through one-on-one calls helped me experience the company culture even though this internship program was entirely remote. Chatting about my colleagues' backgrounds and their timeline leading up to working at Majestyk was interesting to learn about since everyone had a unique story to tell! Although I've never met the team in real life, everyone was super friendly and was always willing to help. I hope that someday I can meet everyone in person if I ever go to New York after the pandemic :)
SUMMER — It was awkward to meet everyone through Zoom during the summer. It didn't feel as exciting as it would have been if it were in person, but getting to know my fellow intern Miguel more through our first Donut call was reassuring. It didn't take long for me to adjust to the virtual work mode. I met the rest of my colleagues individually through video calls and it made me feel more part of the team. I got a lot of advice and everyone made sure that I would reach out if I needed anything, so I'm grateful for that as well!
MIGUEL — My first day was interesting! I was nervous because I didn't know what I would be doing since things had changed so last minute. However, Sean helped me develop a plan and build skills that would help me in the position. I have to admit finally getting to speak with other interns and getting insight made my time here better, especially in my first few weeks.
Because I applied during the pandemic, I expected the internship to be completely virtual. I had the chance to meet the team in person at a socially distant picnic Majestyk had organized. It was great meeting everyone and I got a real sense of what a regular day being with such a great team would be like. The one-on-one sessions with each team member helped me feel comfortable and build working relationships. I got a lot of good advice from everyone and enjoyed my time getting to know the team, even just through video calls.
What was it like to work remote for the first time?
AUSTIN — Working remote was definitely a challenge initially and took a little time to get used to. I'm glad we could use Zoom and Google Meet for face-to-face meetings, both internally and with clients. There are also some perks to working remotely, such as not having to commute and having lunch at home. As a designer, I found that working remote was easy. We're already so digitally focused it wasn't hard to get in sync with the creative team. Using Figma and Sketch helped keep the work flow comfortable and collaborating online was a smooth experience!
MICHELLE — Working remotely was definitely odd but not too challenging. I started learning UX/UI design in quarantine so I was used to conducting design processes (user interviews, getting feedback from others, etc) online. I honestly don't know what the workspace looks like when doing UX/UI in-person with other people! The virtual internship also allowed me to work around my school schedule and jump right in without any commute time, so that was convenient. Weekly sync meetings with my supervisor and utilizing Google Calendar allowed me to stay organized and facilitate the remote working process!
SUMMER — Remote working wasn't too much of a challenge since I had taken remote classes before. Being organized helps keep me motivated so I had my workstation set up, and I kept myself caffeinated every day. I think the key is to be proactive, especially at the beginning since I couldn't meet everyone in person. I used slack a lot to ask for working templates or suggestions on how to move from point to point.
MIGUEL —Working remote is new to me. Slack made this much more manageable. However, I think it was challenging to ask for assistance because it's not as easy as approaching someone in person and asking for help. Showing them what I'm working on isn't the same because it required finding a time to chat, then a zoom meeting and hoping the internet doesn't get slow out of anywhere.
What did you learn from your virtual internship experience with Majestyk?
AUSTIN — This was my first UX/UI internship. Given the considerable latitude, I have gained valuable insights into the design process at a digital agency while simultaneously improving my design, research and communication skills. I've also spent time designing in both Sketch and Figma, which helps improve my overall fluency in both platforms for future projects. This was also my first ever remote internship experience, which was something to get used to at first, but now I feel prepared for any other remote opportunities in the future.
MICHELLE — I learned much more beyond my expectations from this internship program! I was able to define my career goals and ultimately see myself as a designer who can positively impact the community around me. I am so thankful to have been assigned to such a unique project. The project allowed me to develop a passion for designing for social good. As I was learning more about the world of UX/UI, I gained more confidence in utilizing my skills for other projects outside of Majestyk. I am so glad to have had my first internship experience at a studio because of the level of involvement in the project I got throughout this experience!
SUMMER — I learned a lot about managing my time better with this internship, especially working remote. I learned useful tips and tricks for locating potential leads and communicating with them to keep them interested and engaged. The team showed us a few tools I can personally utilize in the future for both myself and work.
MIGUEL — I learned a lot about real-world communication and planning through this internship. There are so many considerations that go into analyzing potential partnerships that I had never considered. The platforms and tools that Majestyk uses were great to learn and they will definitely be part of my tool kit in the future. Working remote was brand new to me. I'm glad I had this experience that challenged me to manage myself and the projects I was working on.
Sharing is caring! What advice do you have for other students who might be looking for internships?
AUSTIN — My main piece of advice to people who are actively looking for internships is to have some kind of portfolio or work to showcase. There's only so much a one-page résumé can say about you. It's important to talk through and explain your process in various case studies, so the company knows more about your background and expertise. I would also recommend beginning your search early as some companies may take a while to get back to you! You should definitely network with friends, family, faculty, advisors and counselors to see if there are any opportunities available. Lastly, don't be discouraged if your application gets rejected. That's part of the process and there are many other great places you can apply to!
MICHELLE — My advice to anyone looking for an internship is to find a company that fits your career goals. For instance, if you have a passion for social impact, try researching nonprofit organizations or other companies that do work that inspire you. If you are interested in human-computer interaction, don't be afraid to break into the tech industry. These are thoughts that I also remind myself of when I'm job searching or looking for opportunities. I feel that resonating with the company's goal/mission is crucial when applying for an internship.
SUMMER — My advice for others is to really know and research any company you are trying to step into before the interview process because that says a lot about your dedication to the role. I would explore current trends and news in the industry of that internship if you haven't already. The last thing I would suggest is knowing your strengths and weaknesses because it's crucial for you to communicate what you can bring to the table and what you wish to get out of any internship opportunity!
MIGUEL — My advice! I think whoever is looking for an internship should look for a position within their career field. Also, ask about work style and plans. This is because it's always good to know what they will learn in this position and what the company will offer them. Look into the company to ensure they align with their goals and that there won't be any conflicting ideals in the future.
What’s the future of work?
Good question, we’ll get back to you on that. But hopefully the resilience of our interns and employees alike helps inspire you to keep learning. If you have questions about our internship program or opportunities Get in Touch. Or sign up for our newsletter to see the projects our interns helped bring to life when they launch this year.