GoAbroad Interview

Lee Carlin - Intern London Director

Lee Carlin - Intern London Director

Lee graduated from UCL in 2006 where he gained a degree in History, traveled extensively. Before co-founding The Intern Group, Lee worked in both finance and marketing, and after three years realized that he wanted to create and build something from scratch. He has used his own experiences of gaining internship experience, travel, and education to provide a platform for other students around the world to gain the necessary skills and education to succeed on their own career path. 

You’re the Director of Intern London, how did you originally get connected to The Intern Group?

I co-founded the company and have been ever-present since the initial days of writing our business plan in a London Starbucks, to today where we have offices in six locations around the world!

Ancient Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka

Exploring ancient Buddhist Temples in Sri Lanka.

What does your role as Director entail on a day-to-day basis?

Ensuring that all processes are running smoothly, making sure our strategy and focus is clear and attainable and working towards growing our organization each day. I predominantly focus my time on managing the London operations, but also work closely with various teams across the world on a weekly basis. It is a team effort and maintaining close lines of communication is vital.

What sets Intern London’s programs apart from other internship options in the UK?

London is the UK’s capital city and is seen as worldwide hub of creativity, fashion, business and finance. Our team is comprised of native Londoners who know the city extremely well and have a variety of professional experiences prior to working here. Our knowledge of London’s different industry sectors mean we have unrivaled professional networks and contacts. Because of this, we have been able to source a variety of fantastic companies and charities who are committed to offering our applicants exceptional internship experiences. Added to the fact that London is a city steeped in history and culture, you can understand why it is such a popular destination for those travelling to the UK.

We are all very proud in what we do and we have continued to maintain our high standards throughout the rapid growth that we have experienced over the last 4 years. We only work with reputable companies who are committed to providing a challenging, yet rewarding experience. As such, we have a great reputation amongst both our past participants and partner companies and are seen as the leader in what we do here.

What are the most common types of internship placements available in London?

We have good diversification across various industries and offer a good selection of great internship opportunities within these. The most popular internship areas that our applicants apply for tend to be within PR, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Fashion, and Finance. We have a good selection of roles within each industry and we are committed to providing young, ambitious and rewarding people with fulfilling and rewarding experiences in the sectors of their choice. Despite the varied client list, we work significantly with London’s creative sector in matching up relevant placements.

Drinking fresh coconut juice in Northern Sri Lanka

Enjoying a local refreshment in a remote village in Northern Sri Lanka.

What are some of the key characteristics or qualifications you look for in applicants?

Enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and a sense of travel and adventure! Of course academics are very important, yet a positive attitude can make all the difference! Those who are flexible with what they do, enthusiastic to learn and want make the most of their time in London tend to get the best feedback from companies. Prior experience in your chosen industry sector can be helpful yet our programme is designed to provide the work experience that young people so need, so it is not always a necessity.

From your own experience, what is a typical day like for one of your interns in London?

An internship is designed to provide a student/graduate with improved professional skills, knowledge in the industry sector and a confidence in their own ability. We work hard to ensure that every company offers a challenging yet rewarding experience. This will include some work shadowing, project focused work, office admin, assisting supervisors with daily tasks and receiving on the job training. The idea is to provide a varied experience that offers the intern their first footsteps into the professional world.

What kind of excursions or activities do you have available for interns while they’re in London?

On our programme we offer every intern the chance to take in a variety of experiences that will allow them to take in some of the best of what the city has to offer.  This includes the chance to take in a musical and a meal in London’s world famous theatre district,  a traditional British afternoon tea at one of London’s historic hotels and a great day out on The London Eye and a River Thames cruise. These offer our interns the chance to take in some of London’s most famous attractions in an organised way.

As well as the cultural activities we also offer educational components to the programme. This includes a world-renowned workshop designed to improve people’s personal impact and soft skills and is designed to be fun. These structured events are accompanied by weekly group meet-ups at some of London’s best kept secrets and a chance to interact with other participants on the programme.

What’s the biggest career benefit of doing an internship in London?

In an increasingly globalised world, gaining experience within an international context is such a valuable commodity. Increasingly, employers are looking for people with a strong academics and relevant experience. If you are able to combine both within an international context then that can only help you to stand out from your peers. To have an international internship on your resume shows you to be motivated, independent, adventurous and committed to expanding your horizons.

An internship in London will allow you to effectively build up the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in your professional career. Doing this in London will help you to develop you personally by immersing yourself in a new culture and by making new friends and networks with people from across the world. Your experience in London will give immediate and more longer-term benefits and our overwhelmingly excellent feedback from past participants is testament to this.

A canal in Venice, Italy

Sightseeing in Venice!

You’re a London native, what’s one thing not to miss while interning in this global city?

That’s an almost impossible question! London has so much to offer to so many people that I couldn’t name one thing! If pushed I would say a visit to Hampstead Heath and Kenwood House for a walk - it is simply stunning. Set in Zone 2 London, it is 800 acres of gorgeous parkland that is full of natural beauty. You simply won’t believe that you are in London, until you look at the amazing views of it’s Skyline from its numerous vantage points! I love taking some time out on the weekend to have a walk, take in the scenery and visit one of the many pubs or coffee shops to chill out and have a drink and some food. I highly recommend this.

Do you have plans of expanding Intern London in any way?

Yes! There are various plans to expand our services into different areas in the medium and long-term. However in the near future, the team is fully focused on continuing to build our internship programme and maintaining our standards of excellence.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your role as Director with The Intern Group?

Receiving great feedback from our participants and seeing how our programme opens up new opportunities for people around the world. As well as the professional benefits, it builds confidence and provides long lasting memories and friendships. Our team are thoroughly involved with our interns’ experience during their time here and we strive to ensure they have a positive time in London. When interns leave great feedback, thank us for our assistance and contact us to let us know how their experience has had a positive effect on their professional lives, it really does mean the world! Many former interns stay in touch with the team and we build good relations with various participants. That is all I need to motivate myself to keep on building this organisation and ensuring that our team continue to deliver exceptional programmes.