How to Prepare for a Procurement Internship
Like many students this time of year, you're probably getting ready to start your summer internship. If you're headed into a role within Procurement, chances are this is an entirely new experience for you. Let's face it, Procurement is a very niche function. It's not exactly glamorized like positions within Marketing or Information Technology, but Supply Management is a unique business function that collaborates with a variety of business units in a wide range of categories, and has the potential to make a major impact within their organizations.  

As a Procurement Consulting firm, our analysts and consultants are constantly solving interesting supply base challenges for our clients- from sourcing unique products and services, supporting companies in their reaching sustainability goals, to re-shoring entire supply chain operations. Everyday can be something entirely different. So, how does one prepare for an internship experience in a field that's both broad and specific like Procurement? As with any internship experience, come to the role ready to learn and absorb as much as possible. An open mind will be helpful in hitting the ground running and getting the most value from your experience. 

As you're gearing up for your Procurement internship, here are a couple of ways to prepare: 

1. Ask the right questions during the interview: 

Just as the interview is a way for the employer to vet candidates and their skillsets, it's also an opportunity for you to learn more about your potential internship experience. Be sure to treat the interview process as such by asking the right questions to gauge whether this experience will ultimately help you grow. Consider asking: 
  • What does the day-to-day look like? 
  • What projects will you be supporting? 
  • What skillsets does your potential employer recommend for success?
Use this conversation as a way of learning if the experience is going to support your goal of landing your ideal job when you graduate. 

2. Check out Industry Publications: 

Mitigating supply chain risks, managing supplier negotiations, enabling supplier-introduced innovation, there's no shortage of responsibilities for supply management professionals. Luckily, there's also plenty of knowledge sharing happening within the space. Understand different categories and learn procurement best practices by reviewing industry publications: 

3. Familiarize Yourself with Industry Associations: 

Whether you're looking to secure a certification, network with other professionals in your field, or pursue continuous learning opportunities, professional associations are fantastic career development opportunities. While there are costs associated with joining, many of these groups host networking happy hours which are a great way to learn more about their programs and meet other professionals in the space. Procurement and supply chain professionals have a number to choose from, here are a few: 
Check out their calendar of events to see free and/or low cost ways to get involved. Often, they offer discounts to students. Take advantage of these associations to get a better understanding of the profession and the career opportunities. 

Internships are a great way to test the waters of a potential career path, but they're not the only outlet for learning the profession. Take advantage of this time to really immerse yourself in the field, learn more about the career options, and absorb the information necessary to set you up for success. 

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Carole Boyle

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