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5 Minute Read

Top Tips For Landing An Internship in Data and Analytics

Find out how Steph, one of our Junior Analysts on a 12-month placement, secured an internship in data and analytics, and his tip tips for getting started with your search, the key skills you need to brush up on, and how to ace the interview process.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do; I just wanted to explore something that I found interest in doing…”

That was my thought process when I was applying for internships and placements. As a 2nd year chemistry student at the University of Warwick, and an analytics enthusiast, I was looking to find a career that matched my interests and skills. I continued fumbling around, exploring different roles until I found the data industry – or maybe the data industry found me.

I was drawn to how data and analytics were used to tell stories and help businesses make better decisions. Without any prior experience in the field, I decided a year-long placement in the industry was the perfect opportunity to fully immerse myself in the world of data and analytics. So, that’s what led me to Ipsos Jarmany, where I’m now partway through my internship year, supporting one of their key clients with offer management in the consumer tech space. So far, it’s been an enjoyable and eye-opening experience learning about skills in a field that I didn’t even think was possible 18 months ago.

 

Getting started on my search for an Internship

My journey was not linear, and the “application season” took a toll on me at times but also taught me a lot along the way. I had to be resilient and patient, learning hard and fast to adapt from rejection. At times, it felt like walking through the foggiest of forests, not knowing if and where you would come out. But I guess any career journey is not always linear; and until December of last year, I wasn’t even applying to data-related roles.

What helped me was knowing where to start. The first place I turned to was Bright Network; a platform which connects students with employers and opportunities. I had previously enjoyed their Network Festival events, as well as courses, advice, and job recommendations, which helped me to discover new roles and sectors. Bright Network was a great way to learn about my interests and build upon my skills.

But where Bright Network helped me become interested in the data industry, it was Gradcracker that directed me to my current role at Ipsos Jarmany. In my eyes, Gradcracker is the holy grail of placement platforms for STEM students; it had a plethora of opportunities, most of which were tailored to me. Although, I’ll admit, it took months of sifting through tons of ads and applying to many positions hoping for a response, whilst simultaneously upskilling myself and improving my application in the process.

The last tool in my arsenal was networking. Although this was not immediately clear to me, and it involved speaking to friends and family about the process, and understanding things they had learnt about networking and the job application process in general. For me, attending networking and corporate events helped me to learn more about data, tech and working life. I began trying to simply enjoy the interview process, and I found that it really helped having friends review my application and answers.

Another tool that stood out was LinkedIn; the ultimate networking site. I followed companies and groups, set up alerts and filters, and connected with people in my field. LinkedIn helped me become more aware of roles and increase my visibility, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a placement or an internship.

 

Acing the interview process

Getting to the point where you’ve established what kind of role, and field, you’re looking for in your internship search is a pivotal moment. Finding a company, you want to work for is great too, but then you have to ask yourself, ‘why should they hire you?’

This is something you need to demonstrate in the interview process, and, given how popular internships are, this is something you need to ace if you want to stand out amongst the crowd.

I would be lying if I said I was confident when it comes to interviews. I still remember mine like the back of my hand. I was wearing a black suit and debating whether to wear a tie or not to this online interview.

What I will say is that you should expect to be asked a mix of situational, behavioural and competency questions. For me, it helped by writing down my ideal answers for many questions, and reading them aloud to try and strike a balance between actually answering the question, not sounding too rehearsed, and not talking too much. Although this did help in the early stages, I later learnt that the interview process is just about them as it is about me; a Q&A conversation rather than the stress I had built it up to be. For that I would have to credit the Motivez ‘application season’ and Global Progress Enterprise mentorship program.

 

To ace an interview, I’d say there are two fundamental elements you need to think through prior to the interview; ‘You’ and ‘The company’.

  • ‘You’ – You will tackle the majority of the interview and it’s important to use the famous STAR technique; Situation, Task, Action, and Result. It is also important to make sure that you are excited and enthusiastic about the job, and can demonstrate your skills and talents. But also, don’t forget to bring your hobbies and interest, where appropriate, as this shows a lot more that you think and helps the interview to get to know you. These are things I constantly doodle now before an interview just to remind myself of key points I want to mention.
  • ‘The Company’ – This involves researching the company, so you understand as much as possible about the business, the work they do, the role, the company values and their ethos. At the end of the day the interview is not only to see whether you are a good fit for the company, but also if they are a good fit for you; after all an interview works both ways. Don’t forget to bring a question or two with you too!

This point may sound obvious, but you should know your CV inside out. You would be astonished how many times you will be asked about your CV, and if you believe that the recruiter will not check and ask about your CV, you’re wrong. Most importantly, always be prepared to not just talk about what is on your CV, but to expand on each point, especially your interests, hobbies and accomplishments.

 

Skills you need

So, whether you’re looking to be a data analyst at Ipsos Jarmany, or another similar company, here are the 4 skills you need to demonstrate:

  • Microsoft Excel – Take it from some who does not have Maths or Computer Science degree, proficiency with excel is important! I had to demonstrate being able to manipulate and summarise data in different ways, using various functions and formulas in Excel, such as VLOOKUP, SUMIF, COUNTIF, and Pivot Tables. If, like me, this is something you haven’t done much of before, then definitely get practicing.
  • SQL – During my internship so far, I have run a couple of SQL queries, so having a little bit of prior knowledge is certainly an advantage. If SQL is new to you, it’s still worth doing your research so you can demonstrate an awareness of it.
  • Microsoft Power BI – Power BI is a key tool that we use at Ipsos Jarmany. So far, I’ve used it many times as the main bases of our dashboards, and often it has been my Excel fundamental skills that have helped with this.
  • Communication – A skill that is just as important (and often harder to learn) is the ability to communicate effectively with teammates, colleagues’, clients, and stakeholders. It’s important to understand the importance of listening to their needs, expectations, and feedback, and providing clear and concise explanations of your analysis and findings. I have learnt how important good notetaking is, and planning the day effectively. I have had to learn the balance between being too technical and not technical enough, adapting my approach to different situations, because simply not one person is the same and not everything will be understood the way you expect it to be. It is great to use data visualisation techniques, such as charts, graphs, and dashboards, to present the results of analysis in a compelling and understandable way, but it is equally important to be to communicate this so you can clearly and concisely answer questions, address issues, and provide recommendations based on the data.

 

Don’t forget, all these skills can be learned over the course of your internship, and there are many resources to help you pick up and sharpen these skills. I was fortunate enough for Ipsos Jarmany to provide many of these resources and support along the way. Although, having a passion to learn and ability to apply skills learned in the work environment is just as important as the skill itself.

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