How An Internship Can Lead To A Great Opportunity

By Ryan Velez

Chance The Rapper, in the midst of all his success including three Grammy wins, has shown a commitment to elevating others. Look no further than his million-dollar donation to Chicago’s public schools, as well as his opening an arts fund and building awareness for issues his home city is dealing with. Now, over Twitter, he is trying to help people grow in a new way: bringing on an intern. A recent Black Enterprise article points out that this could be a huge opportunity, as many major celebrities had just the same start.

On paper, this internship is likely a bit more glamorous than the traditional one, where a recent college grad learns some new skills while getting valuable workplace experience. But no matter where you start, the lessons you learn as an intern could one day lead to major success, like some of these major figures in culture and business.

If there is one figure that anyone in business would love to emulate, Oprah Winfrey is one, being dubbed “Queen of All Media,” and being one of the richest women in the country with a $3 billion net worth. What is notable, however, is the beginning of her TV career, where she was an intern for the CBS affiliate channel, WLAC-TV, in Nashville. Her talent and hard work on display even then, she would be offered a full-time position as anchor-reporter later on, making her the first Black female news anchor at the station.

Steve Jobs, a major part of Apple’s rise as an iconic tech brand, had similar humble beginnings, starting as an intern on a Hewlett-Packard assembly line at age 12. On top of some practical knowledge putting computer parts together, this summer internship is when Jobs first connected with Steve Wozniak. The two would later become business partners, and launch Apple in 1976. The rest, as they say, is history.

Internships are often a valuable way for newcomers in the workforce to build their network, leading to future opportunities down the line. Sean “P. Diddy” Combs started off as an intern at New York’s Uptown Records, a job he reportedly had to beg rapper Heavy D to get. While starting off underpaid under founder Andrew Harrell, Combs would work his way up the ladder to an A&R executive. Eventually, Combs and Harrell would develop tension, and Combs would be fired from the label. But when one door closes, another opens, as he would start Bad Boy Records two weeks later.

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