" />

Professional Confessional

A blog providing tips and resources for life after college

2013 May

TIP: The World of Work: Understanding Company Culture

You’ve landed the internship, set a budget, and created 2-3 SMART goals.  Soon, you’ll be entering the world of work.  The world of work has a different culture than your college campus.  How do you navigate the world of work and understand its culture?

Here is what a few of our employers say:

Julie Armstrong, Talent Management

Have you ever heard someone say that you learn organizational culture when you bump up against it (for example, violate an unwritten rule or norm)?  Company culture can be a hard thing to learn – you often begin to understand it as you experience it – and the more you experience, the more you understand.  However, there are ways to help you better understand, earlier on, and make your transition as a new employee smooth.  You can ask your manager about aspects of the company culture that he or she thinks you should know.  Also ask your manager about the team culture – How does the team tend to work together?  What are their preferred ways of communicating?  Are there any team norms you should know about?  A particularly valuable way to understand company culture is having a mentor or “buddy” that is not your manager, and perhaps closer in level to you, but still a bit more experienced.  If your organization offers this to new employees, take advantage!  If they do not formally offer such a program, ask your manager if there is someone who would be particularly helpful for you to seek out as an informal mentor for the summer.  A person like this can be a great resource as you attempt to understand the company and integrate yourself as a member of the team.  Finally, be a keen observer of what goes on around you – you will learn things that will help you successfully navigate the organization.


Lauren Dealexandris, Director of Intermodal Finance

Observe others’ behaviors, talk to supervisors and peers what the cultural norms are, and ask questions when something doesn’t make sense. It is better to ask a trusted source about culture than accidentally make a mistake or wrong impression!


Ashton Longest, Recruiter

The best way to understand our company culture is by looking to our experienced employees. This is particularly important as company culture varies greatly among our clients and the engagement teams assigned to those clients. As a rule of thumb, always try to emulate the dress and conduct of the senior professionals on your engagement teams. Follow their discretion and let them lead by example when it comes to the appropriate level of conservatism within a specific environment. All of our experienced employees are here as a resource for interns and new hires, so if you ever question whether or not certain actions are suitable, just ask.



Diary of an Intern – Introducing Our Student Contributors

Welcome to our Diary of an Intern’s student contributors!  Our Diary of an Intern series will feature student interns sharing their internship experiences this summer.  They will be working and developing skills in a variety of industries.  Follow them on their journey of discovering the world of work, skill development, and the lessons learned in the process.

Let’s discover who they are, where they will be interning, why, and what they hope to gain from the experience.

Zach GarbisoHello!  My name is Zach Garbiso and I am a rising Senior from Colorado majoring in Psychology and double minoring in English and Spanish.  This summer, I have a fantastic opportunity interning for Condé Nast in New York City.  I will be placed in the Editorial department for Details magazine and therefore will be working with an Editorial Assistant, completing whatever task he asks me to.  As an Editorial Intern, I am excited to expand my knowledge of the production aspects that go into creating a magazine.  I am currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Howler, Wake’s yearbook, and ever since I became the Editor-in-Chief, I’ve dreamt of going into the magazine industry.  I am very excited to work with the Office of Personal and Career Development and to share my experiences with everyone who reads the blog.  Thank you!

~ Zach Garbiso, ‘14 – Psychology major and English and Spanish minors

Editorial Intern at Details magazine in NYC


Hello, Lauramy name is Laura Jurotich, and I am a rising Junior from Birmingham, Alabama double majoring in History and Art History.  I am so excited to be an intern in the Marketing and Public Relations department this summer at the High Museum of Art this summer in Atlanta, Georgia!  I am thrilled to have this opportunity because I am hoping to have a career working in Public Relations in the arts field.  I loved my internship last summer in the Marketing and Communications department at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama, so I am interested to see how this experience will compare.  I will be assisting with creating, promoting, and evaluating HMA marketing initiatives, as well as assisting the marketing department in promoting Museum events and programs and other duties.  I cannot wait to share my experiences with you on this blog!

~Laura Jurotich, ‘15 – History and Art History major

Marketing and Public Relations Intern at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta