Athina, a fourth-year Bachelor in Communications and Digital Media student, takes us through her internship experience and how the program helped prepare her for the big leagues.
As graduation draws closer, most students start making preparations for life after university. For many, this means identifying what they want to specialize in as they begin pursuing their professional careers.
Athina Rickmers, from Germany, faced just that as she entered her fourth and last year at IE University. This is what Athina had to say about her recent internship at the Jebsen Group, and how the Bachelor in Communications and Digital Media program helped prepare her both for the internship and for working life beyond.
Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do now.
My name is Athina Roberta Carla Rickmers, and I’m a fourth-year student studying for my Bachelor in Communication and Digital Media at IE University. For the International Mobility semester, I decided to apply for internship opportunities abroad. This way, I’d be able to gain work experience while enjoying the international experience.
I interned for the Jebsen Group and its subsidiary, Jebsen Capital, as an investment analyst and corporate communication intern. I was based in Hong Kong for five months, from August to December 2021.
How did you find out about this opportunity?
I got an opportunity to complete my internship there and interviewed for the position. I jumped at the chance, as I felt it would be the best way to get more knowledge about the particular industry I want to enter after I graduate.
Over the years, I’ve found I’m becoming more and more interested in business. I knew that interning there would allow me to learn more about different industries and experience business from a new perspective. I also found out that I would be able to work in various departments across the group, which was a huge incentive to apply.
What were your expectations prior to starting the internship?
Before starting my internship, I felt very uncertain about my abilities. I knew that I’d never worked so far away from home, or with people from a completely different culture. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to perform well.
International travel was another major fear at the time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I had to be quarantined for 21 days before being allowed to enter Hong Kong. I remember being allowed to leave quarantine on August 2 and starting my internship on August 3! It was a stressful and emotional period, but it taught me a lot about perseverance and discipline. During this time, the Jebsen Group kindly sent a quarantine kit to my hotel room. The caring gesture made me feel welcome and included, even before physically joining the team.
Can you take us through your tasks there?
My internship was conducted in two departments: the Group’s Corporate Communication Team and the Private Equity Department at Jebsen Capital. As the Group is a very large organization with multiple business lines, communication is a vital area. The Corporate Communication team is responsible for effective correspondence with key internal and external audiences to achieve strategic goals.
My tasks with the team were very diverse, which was great because work never got repetitive. These tasks included preparing press releases and writing news articles for their intranet. However, my main focus was on relocating communication activities to the new headquarters. This was an exciting time as the office transitioned to a more agile and modern workspace. I supported my supervisor in communicating new office rules and assisted in creating graphics. I also oversaw the company’s vaccination program, creating a campaign to drive vaccination rates above 75%. The editing, graphics and animation skills I learned in my video production class in my fourth semester were vital in this process.
At Jebsen Capital, I worked as an Investment Analyst intern. I did a lot of research work on different companies and markets. My coursework in research methods gave me the skills I needed to accomplish these tasks. It helped me conduct detailed research, collect qualitative and quantitative data, and analyze it properly. I also oversaw their LinkedIn account in an effort to drive engagement and rebrand the company as youthful and approachable. My Digital Marketing and Social Media class came in handy here as it showed me how to conduct data analysis and measure the efficacy of posts or campaigns across the channel. Furthermore, I was in charge of redesigning the Jebsen Capital website. This project was truly inspiring as it allowed me to take on more responsibility. The Apps and Webs Design class in my fourth semester gave me the skills I needed to do a good job.
What was the highlight of your internship experience?
I would say that my internship experience was generally exciting and insightful, as it shaped my perceptions of business. It improved my professional skills and taught me how to work in a corporate environment. It also made me a better team player. I loved working with such a diverse group of people from all over the world. They all have amazing personalities and impressive technical skills. I appreciated how the team was so willing to help me learn. It was such a friendly and positive work environment.
What advice do you have for others who may be interested in applying for this internship?
My internship at the Jebsen Group has been very inspiring. I received key insights that will positively impact my professional career. What I have learned is that you must demonstrate determination, enthusiasm, and respect for the specific communication culture to succeed in any work environment. I would say that you don’t have to know everything at first, but showing a willingness to learn and improve will take you a long way.