Why an internship is a good idea and other advice (part 1)
Find out how MSc Business management graduate Vasilis Gkogkidis gained invaluable experience through an internship with Gamification+.
Purpose of this article
My name is Vasilis Gkogkidis (good luck pronouncing that) and I am a gamification designer, speaker and trainer. I graduated from the University of Brighton on February 9 and since June 2016 I have been working full time for GAMIFICATION+. GAMIFICATION+ is a company that offers consultancy, speaking and training on gamification. I got my job after doing an internship with them over the summer. I am very happy with my job as I get to design gamification solutions for companies, speak at various events like meetups and run my own workshop on gamification and strategy. I also get to travel quite a lot because gamification is a global market. I get to meet new people and explore new places which is always exciting.
So what happened was, the University of Brighton Careers Service contacted me to write a blog post about my positive experience and how my internship turned out really well. I will try and give you some advice based on my own experience, hoping it will help you take better decisions. Having said that, every situation is different and you should trust your instinct when making decisions like starting an internship. I will start by giving you some information on my background and how I ended up where I am now.
How I got here
I was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece. My undergraduate degree was on computer science but I did not really enjoy coding so my first full time job was as a teacher. I was teaching computer science and business management to high school students getting them ready for their A levels. After going to the army for 9 months (yeah, we still have to do that) I basically had no job and I just needed to make a change in my life. I decided to moved to Brighton in 2015 and do an MSc degree in Business Management at the University of Brighton.
During my last semester at the university I chose Gamification for business, as an elective course. There I met Pete Jenkins who runs the course and is also the founder of GAMIFICATION+. At some point during the course Pete offered me an internship over the summer to collaborate on a project he had in mind. Pete made clear from the start that the internship probably won’t turn into a full-time job.
Time to take a risk
Saying yes to Pete was a gamble for me. I took a chance on something that I had no idea if it would work or not. As I said, I come from Greece where the economy is not great at the moment and I didn’t want to go back. I wanted to find a job and stay in the UK to get some experience in a competitive market. I come from a middle-class family of two kids where the main income comes from my dad’s hardware store. Having a business in a bad economy is challenging and what essentially meant for me was that there was no way I could stay in the UK without a job. I needed to find something before the end of the academic year.
I was excited by the idea of gamification and I wanted to know more though. So, I said yes to Pete and took the internship. After that the process was simple and the only thing I did was send an email to the careers office, set up an appointment with Rebecca Duffy that was responsible for the internships and that was it! A week later I had an email from Pete saying that we got the Santander internship funding and we are ready to go.
You could argue of course, that this is not the usual way you find an internship and you would be right. The thing is, there is no magical creature that will suddenly appear and give you the job of your dreams. You have to gravitate towards it. I say gravitate because I knew I needed to do something creative in order to be happy but I wasn’t sure what that would be. I had my eyes and ears open for any opportunities that would require some sort of creativity but at the same time I was thinking “I need a job soon”. When I came across gamification I chose to learn more and engage as much as possible and work hard for the course.
That takes us to advice number one, which you can read all about in my next blog post!
If you want to ask any more questions or just want to give me a thumbs up because you like the article, this is where you can find me.
To contact Vasilis:
For support is finding the right internship for you check out our website – http://about.brighton.ac.uk/careers/find-a-job/finding-placements-and-internships/