As I walked in through the doors of the building at Ricardo Palma, I thought the more I knew about finance, accounting, or numbers in general; I would face more opportunities of doing relevant and valuable work. But I quickly noticed that those skills were just kind of some barriers to entry into the industry: knowing about those was vital, but it wasn't a way to stand out and progress. The way to stand out wasn't easy to figure out--at all.
As we met and collaborated with new professionals, y felt throughout that my relative strength, which are just some differences to those of Pedro's and Andrea's (peers who worked with me), was my charismatic personality. Trying to develop connections with people to avoid awkward moments was key. For example, the small detail of walking into the building with a cycling helmet on my hand--and a couple of times, just a couple, on my head--gave them an easy opportunity to ask something and start a conversation. At the same time, writing personal e-mails expressing gratitude and respect to those who in my opinion gave the best presentations during the two days of introduction helped me sneak into and make part of the bank's atmosphere.
Throughout the period, I always focused on being myself. Showing how lucky I felt to be there. Showing I was eager to share why we spent this time as interns. Showing I was set and willing to do any kind of job they needed me to do. And finally, always expressing gratitude. This behavior opened a new door for me. A women I met during the first week recommended me as an actor for an internal advertisement one of her peers had to produce. The risk I was exposed to due to lacking theatre attributes was later diminished with the will to do it wall. After the video was shown to every member of the company in a monthly meeting they have (the first day of my third week), about 60% of the people I walked by in the hallways or those with who I shared an elevator ride asked me "Are you the one of the video!?" And that's how the conversation started. That 40% who didn't ask was mostly because of my new haircut. After this experience, I totally felt my blood was yellow (how they refer to feeling ownership with the bank). This attachment to the bank and it's people opened opportunities of doing more relevant and valuable work.
In this case the power of my charismatic personality was vital, and maybe because of the culture under which Peruvians work. But the biggest lesson I take out of this internship is the importance of standing out in any way. Those who do it will succeed. And those who stand out in the way that the surrounding culture feels comfortable, recognized; in the way they admire, will reign.