© Cirrus Aircraft
Patrick Waddick, Cirrus Aircraft
Waddick started his career as a Cirrus intern more than 25 years ago and hasn't stopped moving up the ranks. Starting as an intern in 1988, Waddick quickly rose to being chief engineer on Cirrus' VK30 single-engine plane. From there, he became vice president of engineering and later held chief operations officer positions. He was named president of the company last year.
Lesson: Make sure to know your role and your expectations as an intern.
Many internship programs, particularly brand-new ones, may not be structured or have clear expectations for their interns. If that's the situation, "the onus is on the student to ask for direction if they're not getting it," says Susan Katz, CEO of the business and career consulting firm Susan Katz Advantage.
Katz recommends going over internship expectations with your supervisor and asking for periodic input on how you're doing, what you're doing well and where you can improve.
"It's important to manage your own destiny and be willing to ask for structured feedback," she says.