Virtual Realities: Internships in the Age of COVID-19

Today is National Intern Day. In a normal year, our visiting students and grads would be celebrating at headquarters and delivering presentations at the annual Intern Fair, but this year looks a little different.

I think we can agree 2020 has been anything but normal, with COVID-19 hitting different countries to different extents and along varying timelines. While some of our offices are reopening under new safety protocols, others, like our North America headquarters, are still trying to figure out how we return to work and maintain a safe ‘new normal’ when the time is right. In the same way everyone has had to pivot their lives around how they work and operate, we’ve had to get creative with how we do internships at Lenovo.

Each summer, Lenovo hosts hundreds of interns in our offices around the world for an 8-12 week work study, resulting in the hiring of more than 250 interns and 400 early-career individuals into departmental roles or positions among one of our rotational programs. Interns cover dozens of organizations and functions across the company, such as engineering, marketing, design, sales, and HR, to name a few.

“We usually start the internship onboarding process in March as students approach final exams and start setting their sights on summer plans,” explains Marybeth Caulfield, Senior Talent Acquisition Manager. “It was about that time when COVID started really hitting our communities here in North America and leadership made the call to close the offices – we had to make some quick decisions on how to proceed.”

With employees working from home for the foreseeable future, the talent acquisition team set their sights on virtual capabilities. While some roles that take place within our labs on campus were not feasible due to the in-person necessity, Lenovo was able to save over 80 percent of their annual internship offerings, extending 90 virtual internships this summer to students and recent grads across North America.

While remote work was not likely to be what many interns anticipated for their summer work studies, the change of scenery offered benefits of flexibility and even inspired some interns to develop new and creative ways of doing business.

Read on for a deeper look into the summer experiences of our virtual interns.

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