Student Internship Stories: Alyssa Yeh (COM’20), Honda

By Alyssa Yeh (COM’22)

During Summer 2019, I was a Corporate Affairs and Communications Intern at American Honda Motor Company Headquarters in Torrance, California.

CCD: Tell us about your experience. What were your responsibilities?

While at Honda, I worked closely with both the Internal and External Communications Teams. Some of my responsibilities included creating media lists and press releases, writing articles for Honda’s internal associate portal, and collecting photo and video assets for various projects. Also, I got to sit in on various meetings and learn from associates across the company and world!

One of my favorite parts of the internship was learning about Honda’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives and seeing the ways the company is working to give back to the community. Overall, I learned more about the inner workings of a big corporation and Corporate Communications’ role in creating and maintaining consumer relationships and company morale.

CCD: How did you get the opportunity? What resources at BU or elsewhere did you use?

I found my internship through researching communications internships in the Los Angeles area on Google. When I decided to apply to Honda, I reached out to a family friend who worked there for general advice on my application. Throughout the interview process, I made sure I was knowledgeable about the position I was applying for as well as the company values and philosophy. It can often seem overwhelming or impossible to find internship opportunities, but sometimes it starts with a simple Google/Glassdoor/LinkedIn/Handshake search!

CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the worst?

The best thing about the experience was getting real-life experience in an industry and company I am passionate about. Honda is a very philosophy-driven company–all of the associates are treated with respect and equality, whether you are an intern or vice president. By the end of my internship, I had formed many meaningful relationships and truly felt like a part of the team.

However, it took me a while to get there. As one of the youngest people in a building filled with mostly middle-aged, experienced professionals, I often felt anxious about taking initiative or asking for help. Over time, this anxiety lessened, and I gained more confidence in my skills and relationships with my coworkers. I realized that my age did not really matter if I could bring valuable insight and new perspectives to the table.

CCD: What was the most memorable moment of your experience?

At the end of my internship, I pitched, wrote, directed, and produced an Intern Video Project that featured six other Honda interns. The final product was a “5 Things You Should Know” Video that was to be shown at future New Hire and Intern Orientations. This was probably the most memorable experience I had at Honda, because it required me to get out of my comfort zone in so many different ways. I had never written a script or edited a video before, but I had a very supportive team who responded to my initiative and helped me achieve my goals. I also got to befriend my fellow interns who were placed throughout the company and learn about their unique experiences.

CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of an internship, job, or other career-related experience?

The advice I would give to another student is to not waste any moment you have at an internship! Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t supposed to ask questions or try new things because I was “just an intern.” But, I realized that that is exactly what an intern should do! Never again will you have so much room to experiment and learn as much as you can with the benefit of still being a student. Grab lunch/set up an informational interview with a coworker, ask if you can take on an extra project, send that follow-up email if you can! But also remember to give yourself breathing room–allow yourself to process what you are learning and be okay with the inevitable failures you will experience.

One specific piece of advice I have is to create a timeline of your intern experience. Write down every single task you complete and every person you meet. You never know when you might need to reference it in the future–I just used my Intern Timeline to write this post!

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