The Intern Queen Party
By Chris Ongsueng
For college students, intern talk is just as frequent as mentions of a beer run or complaints about backward-thinking professors. No one can get anywhere without piling on the short-term jobs and it seems that the more internships we complete, the better.
At least that’s what the Intern Queen’s philosophy is. Lauren Berger had 15 internships in college, after which she launched her very own start-up in 2008, Intern Queen, Inc., with the help of an investor who truly believed in her. Now that her brand is established, she works with employers across the country to help students land their dream internships, as well as speaking to high school and college students about her experiences. On August 2nd, 2011, the first-ever Intern Queen Party, held at New York City’s newest hot spot, The 404 and sponsored by Wet Feet, gave interns from the area and all over a chance to connect, network, and meet Lauren, as well as participate in a Q&A panel with several representatives from powerful companies like Us Weekly, Clear Channel, McGraw Hill, College Humor, CBS, Teen Vogue, Oscar de la Renta, and Marvel, who provided wise and practical advice for would-be interns to get hired and stand out.
Being a hard-working intern myself, I, of course, attended the party. I wanted to learn more about what the Intern Queen was really all about. The venue was trendy, cool, fun, and full–Full of so many interns! So many young students trying so hard to just get their foot in the door, to make a decent and memorable impression that could hopefully lead to a paid position in the future. An odd twist (which might be explained simply by the word “Queen” in the event title) was that out of all of these attendees, only a handful of them were males. I spoke to one boy who was escorting his friend and had no internship experience of his own. Hopefully after this event, he will have found one. There were two guys from France who were interning at the United Nations and said they came for two reasons: they were curious about the line wrapping around the block and saw the word “intern” on the sign past the line and decided to join in on the fun.
After Lauren struggled to keep all of the guests quiet through the informative panel (since it’s always hard to calm a group of young people), I had the chance for some one-on-one interview with the Intern Queen herself, who also mentioned how “stoked” she was by the successful turnout of the event. Below are some gems she’d like to share:
What’s your favorite part about being the Intern Queen:
“I get to wake up everyday and do what I love to do: talk to students about internships.”
What would you tell someone who is curious about the unpaid intern debate?
“I would tell them to talk to an unpaid intern and hear about the great experiences these students are having.”
If you could change one thing about your college experience, what would it be?
“Make the most of it; join every club. I didn’t join as many clubs and groups as I should have. It’s a great way to get experience.”
What’s the best part about having a job as opposed to an internship?
“You get to put all of the practical experience you learn as an intern to use! And you get paid.”
What did you learn as an intern that you value the most?
“Just being in the environment and learning how to act like a professional and be detail-oriented.”