Going Virtual: An internship program using JANDI to stay connected
The MiSK Foundation is a non-profit foundation established in 2011 by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to develop and empower Saudi youth to become active participants in the future economy of the country. MiSK specifically focuses on four key areas: education, creative and digital media, technology, and culture and arts. It pursues this agenda both through its own programs and through partnerships with local and global organizations.
Partnership with Virtual Internships
The MiSK Foundation partnered with Virtual Internships to offer sponsored training opportunities for university students with academic excellence in the fields of engineering, management, information technology, and business management.
Virtual Internships selected three newly graduated students in Saudi Arabia for a virtual summer internship at Toss Lab, Inc. in the United Arab Emirates.
Toss Lab, Inc.
Toss Lab, Inc. is an international software company that operates in South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Middle East. The flagship product JANDI is a group-oriented messaging platform with a suite of productivity tools for workplace collaboration.
* Team Collaboration
“On the first day of the virtual internship, we created a MiSK Foundation team on JANDI and invited the interns to join. After downloading the app and creating a profile, they were online and ready to kick off the internship!” said Toss Lab Manager for the Middle East.
Topics for Different Projects
For the first week, the objective was to learn the platform and explore all the features. A group chat for JANDI training was created to share onboarding materials and encourage open Q&A amongst the team. Learnings and knowledge gained by one intern was immediately transferred to the rest of the group. Moreover, the next generation of interns will be able to access the chat history and search across previous questions, making the topic a useful repository of FAQ for new joiners.
In the coming weeks, the focus of the program was to develop skills in business development, sales, and marketing. This included conducting a competitive analysis of other collaboration tools, generating and qualifying leads, and gathering customer requirements. To help to organize discussions related to the different projects, separate group chats were created for each topic.
‘New Leads’ was the most active topic. After speaking with a potential customer, highlights and discoveries were shared in the group chat. To provide structure for reporting meeting minutes, a guideline or template was created and pinned to the top of the chat room as an “Announcement”. It could then be collapsed to the top of the chat room and expanded for quick reference.
Search History using Keywords
Every conversation with a client was different, whether it’s company size and industry, or technology needs and business challenges. With a complete history of conversations that took place, interns were able to quickly search previous messages and learn from each other’s experiences, enabling them to adapt their approach with a client based on the customer profile.
“With a virtual internship I was able to work remotely
and develop my communications skills with a great company.”
– Najla, Intern at Toss Lab
Notifications and @mentions
Although the team was just three interns and a regional manager, each person was based in a different city. Since walking over to a person’s desk isn’t possible in a remote setting, the team used the @mention feature to get each other’s attention.
“The @mention feature made it much easier
to view the important messages first.”
– Abeer, Intern at Toss Lab.
* Weekly Meetings
During the internship, interns were required to complete a “Weekly Checkpoint” form which included tasks they worked that week and any new skills they learned. The form was shared with the manager, who would add next week’s tasks and any areas for improvement and return it to the intern. The form was then submitted to Virtual Internships on a weekly basis.
Typically this exchange would happen over email, a tedious process, and an added burden on the manager (two emails per intern over eight weeks, for a total of 16 emails). Instead, interns uploaded their Weekly Checkpoints to JANDI where the manager could add any comments and share it back.
In addition to the weekly checkpoints, the manager had one-on-one calls with each intern to review individual progress and discuss goals and any challenges. To make scheduling easier and avoid mix-ups in the time-difference, a shared Google Calendar was connected to JANDI. Notifications were configured to send reminders before meetings start and whenever changes to the schedule were made.
Video Conferencing on Zoom
Team meetings with video conferencing were an essential part of the virtual internship. Using the Zoom integration with JANDI, the link is automatically shared in the group chat making it super simple to join the meeting from a computer or phone. Being able to see each other despite being in different locations created a high-touch experience for the interns.
“In my virtual internship with JANDI,
I worked with wonderful people that helped me achieve my goals”
– Khaled, Toss Lab Intern
* Task Management
After team meetings, there were usually action items or things each member had to follow-up on. To help manage individual activities and avoid two people working on the same thing, tasks were managed in a to-do list.
To-dos can be created from a message in a group-chat or from scratch on an ad-hoc basis. The task can even be assigned to another team member and given a due date with reminders.
“JANDI helped me and my team members communicate efficiently
in an organized and clear way. I loved the To-do list feature in the app
which made our tasks easier to achieve.”
– Abeer, Toss Lab Intern
One of the fundamental tasks for a sales and marketing intern is market research. Typically this would involve many hours of searching the web for industry-specific news and updates. Instead, the team set up an RSS News Feed in JANDI using Google Keyword Search for technology related to communication and collaboration.
Staying informed on trends in collaboration software was especially important when speaking with potential clients, as the global pandemic prompted companies all around the world to search for ways to enable teams to work remotely.
* Tips for a Successful Virtual Internship
Given the current situation, the generation entering the workforce is flexible and ready and willing to learn new technology. For the internship to be productive for interns and companies alike, managers need to provide the right tools for interns to work virtually.
- Choose a platform for online collaboration to organize projects, chat, share documents, and communicate regularly. Integration with other work tools is a plus!
- Schedule weekly team meetings with video conferencing for interns to interact with each other, share ideas and create an interactive and engaging experience.
- Manage activities and assign tasks with due dates and reminders to help interns plan effectively and achieve goals set out for them during the program.
For students, virtual internships offer a chance to develop professional skills, build their networks, and gain real-world experience in a remote-work setting. For companies, internships bring fresh perspectives, cultural diversity, and create enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
“JANDI enabled the team to work together
across three different cities in a highly-connected and
– Middle East Toss Lab Manager