Yixue Ge ’13
Major(s): Art & Art History, Economics
Internship Site: Sotheby's Inc. - New York, NY
I first got to know this internship program by attending a Skype session at the Career Center with a Dickinson alumna and junior specialist at Sotheby's. She introduced the auction field and the internship opportunities for undergraduate students. During the application season for the upcoming summer internship, I kept in contact over email and visited her on site before the second round interview. She happened to know the person who interviewed me and I believe her words about me were a key part of securing this internship out of 400 applicants.
During the first few days at the Chinese Works of Art department, I was mainly working on the ongoing archival project - sorting hundreds of index cards with pictures and information of a specific artwork into corresponding categories. In this way, I learned all kinds of Chinese art and their historic period. As time went on, I was able to work on some more sophisticated projects, such as doing research on past catalogues to find comparables for price estimates. This is my favorite part - to see how an art piece is valued by dollar marks.
I enjoyed the internship and completely loved what I was doing. As a summer intern, you should be very clear about your position so that when you are assigned to do some long-term projects, such as organizing the file cabinets and labeling old catalogues, be sure to have them done on time with positive attitude. I found it a little difficult to get familiar with everyone at my department within the first week. I am a soft speaker and sometimes do not talk much - this might lead to a first impression of being shy and unfriendly. To overcome this challenge, I spent much time having lunch with everyone and joining their daily discussion, spoke up my thoughts, and asked people how I can help. As time went on, they trusted me and considered me an active and outgoing person.
During the entire summer internship, I took the advantage of the company directory to the fullest and had lunch with several key persons in my interested fields. As part of the Internship Notation Program, I conducted an informational interview and received the suggestion to continue furthering my education in Chinese art and archaeology. The Dickinson alumni at Sotheby’s emphasized that it takes many years to secure a junior position and that as an international student, I should be open to any opportunities, including auction houses, museums and galleries.
As an art major, I really could not ask for more than my internship at Sotheby's - it gave me the best experience in the auction house and outside during various field trips. I have now further understood the auction industry, which I definitely love. Being able to adjust yourself and being comfortable at such workplace is a must-have skill when entering the professional career.
Tips from Yixue:
Network with alumni. Never be afraid of being "too proactive", speak up your thoughts, have a specific goal in mind all the time, and work hard towards that direction.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.