I am a student majoring in Management in the University of Qatar. Being in my final year, I had taken internship training at Qatar Foundation. I was based in their communication building where I worked in the company’s radio (QF Radio 93.7). My internship was scheduled to run for 120 hours and was to begin from 13th June 2011. I was first hired at their communication directorate in QF building -1 where I specifically worked at the event department. My immediate objective was to see the preparation steps for an event that was to be held at the foundation. I was particularly interested in knowing their planning process, the foundations strategy, their breakdown diagram and the steps involved in the preparation of an activity.
My first experience with the company was not encouraging at all and I had to ask for a transfer from the event department to another department. The department had no event that was being organized to take place in the near future. I was only able to visit their feedback network diagram. This was a disappointing moment; first because I stayed there doing nothing but what made it even worse was the fact that my main objective of learning about the foundation’s system and the role of each worker was not achieved as no one was there to orient me.
This is how I found my way to the QF Radio which later turned to be interesting. I asked for the permission from our department’s manager to allow me to shift to another department which she agreed to do. At the QF Radio department, things seemed promising from the word go. I received a warm welcome from the manager Mr. Saad Al-Hudaifi who agreed to take me through the nature of the foundation’s work and the role of each employee. It was very interesting seeing the media and interacting with a very active and vital group. Even more fascinating was the level of team work at the department. Here, the employees were working together in producing, recording, scheduling and broadcasting.
However, I realized that my work had to take a totally different course from what I had expected. The assignment was not in any way related to what I had studied in school, not even my minor. I majorly participated in writing short time programs to be broadcasted including both the factoids and Ramadan Episodes. This was all about giving general information on specific facts with the aim of indirectly teaching my audience. It was a double tragedy to me noting that a part from the work being irrelevant to my course, I was not good in writing factoids personally. I was therefore sometimes forced to copy contents from the internet, something that did not go well with my manager. He used to be angry with me at times but his advices enabled me to greatly improve.
However, after my first week my skills in writing factoid greatly improved and I could easily write them without having to copy the contents from other sources. I attribute this improvement to the efforts that the manager put in guiding and encouraging me. Most of the times when I got disappointed the Manager could keep on assuring me that I had a great talent and the skills of writing. He even hinted to me that I was the best among all the factoid writers. The major turning point was the time when he recorded two of my factoid by himself. He said that they were rich in content, educational and interesting at the same time. One factoid was on the history of the sunglasses while the other one was about blood types. To him my factoids were fit for the coming generation.
Thursday was our weekly review meeting where the manager was to lead the employees in evaluating the previous weeks work. Such meetings were meant to identify and help save any challenges that were facing the employees in their work. One thing I never liked was the approach the manager used in correcting his employees. It was contrary to the expected approach of manager-employee. He corrected his employee right in front of other employees. I felt that this was unprofessional and could result into reduced productivity and loyalty by the employee to the company. This would only be acceptable in case of the need to reinforce an excellent performance by an employee as a measure of encouraging him/her.
The internship objectives, achievements and lessons
Internship is generally meant to enable the students in their final year of study to gain the necessary practical experience to equip them for the work market. Such experiences are considered very key in complementing the knowledge and skills that a student gains from class work. Personally, I wanted to experience what it meant being an employee. This to me entailed how to work in partnership with other employees in identifying problems and solving them. I was also interested in knowing how it feels to work under an authority. I therefore longed to be under an authority that would evaluate my work and guide me accordingly.
Secondly, I expected to learn about how the business works in totality. This to me meant that I had to learn about both the internal and external business environment and the necessary strategies the company employs to achieve its goals. An example is how the company makes its proposal, acquire their customers and how it puts its market plan for new product and services. I expected that my knowledge in global firms’ strategy and the use of competitive advantage was going to be very applicable. This expectation motivated me to work in an administration set up even though I already had a clear understanding of the environment and the working system of a bank through my earlier training with Commercial Banks. Working in an organization, to me, was a new chance for gaining a new experience and especially so because it was related to media. I for a moment thought that such a chance would enable my achievements to be broadcasted in 93.7 frequencies something that later came to pass.
Therefore, an opportunity at Qatar foundation was very appropriate for me. More convincingly was the fact that I was to work at their Communication Directorate which includes their marketing, public relations and event departments all which were very important to the development of my career life. I was motivated to learn from other employees in the way they do their work and adjust to challenges facing them. This objective was met when from the second 30 hours I begun to have a meaningful interaction with other employees. I even started working together with some of them. This began when one of the employees working in the QF Radio invited me to record my voice for the factoid. He gave me the necessary orientation prior to the session which was very beneficial to me. This opportunity enabled me to learn and improve my communication skills.
The experience with the media was interesting and very beneficial. It was something I had longed to for. I leant that working on media is not an easy thing. For example, any lateness can easily affect the reputation of the company as it can hardly go unnoticed by the audience. I remember the day when the Sport Global Program which was scheduled for eleven o’clock had to be presented thirty minutes late. The manager was so angry and even shouted at his employees. I learnt that such a mistake would reduce the accuracy and the quality of the radio binding time to dissatisfy the audience. But on my own view, this was an overreaction on the part of a senior officer, an issue that should be addressed.
During my third 30 hours, I had an opportunity to attend the World Scientific Journalist Conference organized by the event department in the student centre building at Qatar Foundation. The conference was attended by more than seven hundred journalists from all over the world. I had the opportunity to witness how the QF radio was recording interviews, collecting news and taking the pictures to be published in their face book and twitter page. This was a new experience as I got an opportunity to interact with journalists from across cultural groups. I also felt part of the conference especially when I was contacted by some of the journalists to introduce them to Qatar and Qatar Foundation. This interaction also enabled me to learn more about the nature of journalism work.
Taking an evaluation especially of my work after the first 90 hours makes me convinced that my aim was achieved. By this stage, I was able to work independently like any other employee and accomplishing tasks in time. I managed to finish part of the work as per the instructions of my boss. The fifteen episodes of Ramadan program that were to be presented on 10th July were already over by 6th July. I printed, filed and forwarded it to my manager. This gave him time to send the same to the religious specialists to look at it before it was recorded. I also managed to present my factoids during one of our weekly Thursday meetings.
I also gained from other employees’ presentation during one of our Thursday meeting especially that about the new website of QF Radio 93.7 by our information system specialist. He shared with us the fans in face book and twitter and we saw people’s opinions on our radio page. It revealed the positive progress of the foundation as the number of fans was increasing each month. This was especially so during the months when QF radio was covering events such as Qatar National Day. I also learnt about other strategies used by the company such as keeping the website secret to surprise the audience. Measures are also in progress to change the theme to enable the inclusion of the list of the program with the time so that one could easily hear any episode that he missed in the radio. This showed that the company’s future would be greater.
However, Mr. Saad seemed to work solely in doing certain key things. It was just a few days before that launching of the website and no one knew about the theme not even the information system specialist. I think such issues together with the manager employee-relationship should be redefined by the company.
It was also an achievement when my manager agreed to give me a proposal to review and make necessary recommendations. This work was very relevant to my major (Management). The proposal was for an offer from ADABISC Company which wanted to broadcast their advertisement through our radio. The QF Radio was expected to introduce the customer on the radio and their plan for the offer. I applied the knowledge I had learnt in project management especially on how to write and request for a proposal. I managed to identify a few gaps like the need to be clear on the targeted audience, and the best time for forecasting it. The proposal could also be improved by giving a brief about our organization’s strength and achievements. The interest of the sponsors could also be taken into account by showing our yearly income. These recommendations were impressive to the manager and were incorporated in the final proposal
The last thirty hours began by me learning a new lesson through a challenge. I was forced to stop writing factoid because I only had one week to Ramadan yet I still had the other 15 episodes to write. These were the episode for the Ramadan’s Companion of the Prophet program. However, I managed to finish in time, printed, filed it and forwarded it to the ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs to verify the authenticity of my work and include my comments for the episodes. My episodes were published in the Qatar Foundation Newspaper and in the QR Radio programs where my name was also mentioned in the introduction. My production was to be presented daily at seven o’clock in the Ramadan. My promotion for the program which I made under the guidance of Mr. Nasser was perfect and very unique.
I finished my work in time and spent the last days helping other employees in their work. I specifically assisted them in writing certain promotions for the programs that were to be presented in Ramadan. I also assisted Lura, who could not understand Arabic, in conducting interview. This was also a good experience as it was the first time for me to conduct interview. I was initially shy but when I found it interesting it gave me confidence.
The internship may not have been directly related to my major but I am proud of myself and feel that I have achieved. With the several experiences and new skills and knowledge, I left happy and more interested in practicing my major and what I studied at Qatar University. Even though students should restrict themselves to something related to what they studied in the University as they look for internship, I am tempted to say that flexibility is also necessary.