This whole journey started with an interview for an internship in the US, which I have been reading about for months. I have to admit I was pretty nervous, considering how much I wanted this amazing opportunity. Days passed so fast it felt like seconds…and “seconds” later … Chicago, Data Analytics!
As soon as I entered Chicago, I felt the warmth, vibration, charm, and diversity, a big city full of blinding lights and it was amazing, even in the cold days of December. My dream opportunity was here. I was chosen to follow an internship in my great passion and also my profession Data Analytic, the hottest job for 2019 and one of the fastest-growing job categories with 40% from 2015, and will continue growing with at least 7% yearly (oh I know, too much data facts, but hey I like big data and can’t lie).
My host company was AON, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement, and health solutions. With more than 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empowering results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance. The offices were located in one of the skyscrapers in the city center, overlooking the whole city and next to “The bean” and Millennium park. Within the same building were also the offices of Microsoft, Dell and who knows who I was going to meet at the lift or conferences.
I was lucky to meet and work with a great team, in the Commercial Risk Solutions department, which made me feel part of the group from day one and helped me to grow my knowledge not only in a professional way but also on the cultural and historical ones. As I was involved in projects since day one, I can say that these six months were very intense, and dynamic, with a lot of work and challenges but also combined with the opportunity to develop a whole range of skills by learning from the team, adapting to a completely different workplace culture, having exposure and opportunity to network by being part of the global projects and presentations.
During the mid-period of the program, Covid-19 started to happen. Meaning the possibility to meet and interact with people was very limited, with no more happy hour breaks with the team at the work rooftop, sports bar, or jazz bars, no traveling, and no possibility to see the endless attractions that the city and the US had to offer. Of course, this was a drastic change in what I had planned for my time in the US, so I had to adjust and get the best out of it (it wasn’t easy, I missed everything even the overcrowded morning trains). Slowly my living room was transformed into a small office, together with my two other roommates we created a very comfy environment to work in and spend some quality time in. So, I threw myself into more work from 9 am to 8 pm, took a lot of training and participated in different webinars/conferences, got to know better and spend more time with my roommates, and even learned a thing or two about interior design (one of the roommates was a great interior designer). So, in the end, considering the situation, I could say it was a very rewarding time professionally and personally.
But it’s not all about work and training, having this special opportunity you need to get to travel a little and get to know different parts of the US. After all that hard work, I rewarded myself with a road trip to 5 different states. Hiked along Grand Canyon and had a reflection time about the power of time, the power of small things day after day, water flowing for million years, leading to an enormous outcome in the future. Drove the historical Route 66, and explored neighborhoods, attractions, seacoast, and historical landmarks of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, and Boston.
To conclude, it was an amazing journey, I experience the rush life of Chicago, worked for a Fortune 500 company, made great friendships, saw a lot of breathtaking places, meet people from all around the globe, and learned to adapt to any situation. New year resolution…done!
©️ Dhimiter Peci, MIP Internship Fellow, 2020