well, I once spent a bit of time interning as a graphic artist for a small media firm who I drew some lessons from.
Firstly, I learned they had no actual relationship to a school of any sort, and didn’t know how to create a relationship. So, intern was pretty much a false title for the role. This also meant they had no understanding how to mentor, guide, instruct, or critique student-level work. I think this relates to the maxim, “Don’t take criticisms from anyone whom you would not seek out for advice.”
Secondly, the owner of the company was fully funded by a parent, and had taken no business loans, had not written and defended a business plan, basically didn’t have commitments to earnings; because, there were no debts to pay with revenue. They cut corners, didn’t work hard, didn’t charge competitive rates, didn’t write contracts for customer projects. Personally, I took the lesson that sometimes having financial obligations will by necessity define better productivity and better outcomes (but, not always).
Thirdly, they did not understand copyright law. They infringed on copyrights of legitimate brands, and got caught up in cease-and-desist and infringement issues that could have been avoided by listening to the employee who most certainly warned against taking the project with the customer, and/or writing contracts that outlined the requirements of licensing copyrighted media. I felt the lesson here was to be aware of the industry, listen to the folks you employ, and be certain to identify legal issues for customers even if that means denying their requests for content.
Lastly, I left to return to school for a completely other program. The lesson was to find the right community, get good advice and tips, and follow a path slightly more traveled. Although I know everyone will walk their own path, when others are sharing a similar path, it can be much better over time to have that community around for support, mentorship, guidance, and instruction.