As an undergrad, you have probably taken classes in a virtual environment, but working remotely is a different experience. To help undergrads thrive in their virtual internships, Forté invited Maura Clark, Director of MS Finance Admissions, Vanderbilt University (Owen Graduate School of Management), to moderate a discussion between Katie Huber, Manager, Redwoods Recruiting, DaVita Inc., and Lauren Klikuszowian, Recruiting Manager, L.E.K Consulting. During the May 2021 webinar panel, they shared the following tips: 1. Test Your Tech Ahead of Time. Some companies may send you a laptop to use during your internship that has all the programs you’ll need pre-installed. Others may offer a tech stipend or count on you to provide your own laptop. If you have questions about the company's expectations for your work-from-home setup, ask your hiring manager. Before your first day, make sure you have everything you need to get started. As Maura Clark put it, "If your Wi-Fi doesn't work, you can't be productive." Tech issues may also arise during your internship. If that happens, let your company know right away, because they may be able to help. 2. Manage Your Time (and Time Zones). With a virtual internship, you may be located in a different time zone from your colleagues, and this can present challenges. For example, DaVita is located in Denver (Mountain Time), but some of the company’s virtual interns have been on the East Coast. Katie Huber says, “The interns sometimes found themselves working till late in the evening, and it was a very long day for them.” Lauren Klikuszowian suggests talking to your supervisor about your schedule at the start of your internship to establish boundaries. Be sure to give yourself time away from your computer, too. Maura says, "Think about how you are building in time to take breaks for yourself, so you don't log on for 10 hours and sit there and eat your lunch in front of your laptop. Build in time to take a walk around the block." 3. Communicate with Your Team. In a virtual internship, communication takes more effort — you can't just stop by someone's desk with a question. Check in with your supervisor on a regular basis to keep them updated on your projects and make sure you're on the right track. Katie recommends having work conversations on camera as much as possible, because that allows for nonverbal communication and helps you make a stronger connection. Lauren agrees, and says, “It’s nice to be able to put a face to a name and be able to build those relationships outside of just email and phone calls. Any time that you can be on video to create that relationship, I definitely encourage you to do that.” 4. Build Relationships by Being Yourself. How can you stand out and make real connections in a virtual environment? Katie advises interns to be authentic and curious. She says, "It's important to create a really strong brand for yourself, and that that means showing up with your whole self." 5. Do Great Work. Even if you’re only around for the summer, your efforts matter. DaVita implements more than 85% of their interns’ projects. Katie says, “We want you to have some fun with it, be creative, and deliver a strong recommendation.” 6. Get to Know the Other Interns. This is an opportunity to build your network while also exploring other areas of the company. Ask other interns what they’re working on and what they like about their teams. See what sparks your interest. From there, you can introduce yourself to other people on those teams and ask what they do in their full-time roles. This will help you better position yourself as you think about full-time placements. 7. Ask for Feedback Throughout Your Internship. Wondering how you’re doing? Go ahead and ask. Lauren says, "If you're not getting feedback, be proactive. Ask for it, because you want to make sure that you are doing the best that you can." Katie says, "You never want to be sitting there saying, 'Am I doing okay? I'm not quite sure where I stand.' Get clear on that right away, so you can either ask for what you need or make some adjustments." Remote opportunities have grown, and a successful virtual internship demonstrates your ability to function independently while contributing to a team. It's a great skill to have, even as companies return to the office. DaVita and L.E.K. Consulting both expect to have hybrid options, combining remote and in-person work, available to their employees in the future. Now that more companies understand how to build successful hybrid and virtual teams, these roles could be part of your future, too.