Summer internships are an important step at building a career in the MBA industry. You need a lot of experience to understand the working of this field and how you can excel.
As an MBA student or top business school student, a summer internship is a critical step in the process of enhancing your credentials and landing a full-time job. With more students doing internships, employers expect to see them listed on the resumes of potential employees. And, in the weakened global economy, internships are even more important to boosting a candidate’s competitiveness.
MBA internships are not a guarantee of a full-time job but It does enhance your chances of landing one in the process. “Companies are not just looking for interns, but for potential full-time hires. So, you need to convince them that you’re a good fit, not for three months, but for three years,”.
Summer internships offer a great opportunity to work closely with professionals in your field and to develop knowledge, competencies, and experience related directly to your career goals. If managed correctly, internships can lead to new contacts, mentors, and references. With recommendations in hand from business relationships developed during a summer internship, securing a job becomes much easier.
WHAT IS AN MBA INTERNSHIP AND HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?
Academic programs tend to be fairly theoretical for the most part. An MBA internship allows students to break away from the academics and venture into the corporate world to try out some of the fantastic concepts they’ve learned in the business school class. A student gets a better practical knowledge of everything during an internship than a classroom. It helps them to understand everything practically, this may help them in their exams too.
An MBA internship lasts typically 2-3 months. The actual duration would depend on whether you are joining a pre-defined internship program (generally happens at bigger companies that have been doing this on a structured basis for several years) or a one-off / ad-hoc project that has been created for you based on the company’s immediate needs.
TOP COMPANIES THAT OFFER MBA INTERNSHIPS
Many companies that recruit MBA graduates offer internships as well. These could be the top names in:
– Management consulting – McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte Consulting, Accenture
– Investment banking / Private equity – Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citi, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, Blackstone
– Technology – Google, Amazon, IBM, eBay, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel
– FMCG – P&G, GE, Nike, Pepsi, Unilever
HOW CAN YOU FIND MBA INTERNSHIPS?
There are essentially two ways to get internships.
If you want a summer internship, you need to start planning in the late fall, when top MBA employers begin their internship hiring process; in some cases, application deadlines are only weeks away. Other advice is to take advantage of the numerous services and job postings available from career services, and attend as many on-campus career fairs and networking events as possible. It’s important to personally introduce yourself to speakers and representatives from the companies that interest you. Be sure to ask for their business cards so that you can follow-up after the event. These types of events offer students the opportunity to meet potential networking contacts. Former colleagues, fellow students,and MBA alumni can help when it comes to securing an MBA internship. Contacting someone with a shared background or interest provides a point of common interest, and a way to break the ice. Internship seekers should ask a networking contact about the company culture, and the interview process.
WHAT WILL BE YOUR JOB AS AN INTERN?
Here are some examples of MBA internship projects and assignments:
Finance internship example: Microsoft recruits interns for the finance manager role to track and analyze business metrics, create financial models for evaluating investments.
Marketing internship example: P&G offered assistant brand manager internships to work on real branding projects, executing product launches and working on partnerships with creative teams.
Consulting internship example: McKinsey offers 8-12 week long internships in management consulting. You’ll get the opportunity to work on client projects and if you do a good job, they’d make a permanent offer.
ARE SUMMER INTERNSHIPS GRADED?
Yes, they are. Though it can be a lot of fun and all that action might give you the feeling that you are back in the real world, it’s still a part of your MBA program. Your internship mentor would be called upon by the MBA school to provide an evaluation of your performance. Apart from this, you may be expected to submit a report or a mini-thesis based on the work you did during the MBA internship period.
HOW TO CONVERT YOUR MBA INTERNSHIP INTO A FULLTIME JOB?
Or in other words, if you want to work as a strategy consultant in McKinsey (USA), don’t enthusiastically jump at the opportunity to take up an MBA internship at an India based mid-office role offered by KPIs who service is the top consulting firms and investment banking clients.
Though the companies may advertise the position as the stepping stone to front-office roles, very few employees manage the transition.
2.If you can’t get into your dream company, join their competitor:
Going with the analogy of management consulting internships, if you can’t directly get into Bain and Company (or any of the elite names), try aiming for a tier lower (Booz or AT Kearney etc).
Though not as good as option 1, your chances of converting your MBA internship into a permanent job is still way better than someone who never dabbled in the consulting space earlier.
3.Prepare for your MBA intern role
Start learning about the company before you start the internship. You’d have done some basic research before you went for the MBA internship interview when you knew little about the specific project you’d be working on.
Now that you know a little more about what you’d be doing for the next 3 months, ensure that you brush up on the skills that you’d have to start using right from day 1.
Cover the technical skills (excel modeling, advanced powerpoint features, financial ratios, statistical analysis techniques, how to optimally use the coffee machine when your boss orders his 23rd cup for the day) and the soft skills (corporate communication, networking skills, forgetting that you have a life etc).
4.Get as much clarity about your responsibilities during the internship period:
It is very likely that the company hasn’t cooked up an imaginary project just to keep you busy for 12 weeks. There would be specific deliverables that your mentor would expect on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
If it hasn’t been clearly mentioned in the internship description that was sent to your business school, get it clarified before you roll up your sleeves and get lost in the crazy day-to-day operations.
Ask questions without thinking whether you are interrupting the busy lives of your mentor or HR team. You’ll make their lives busier if you end up doing what you weren’t supposed to.
5.Dress and behave like an employee, not an MBA intern:
One of the perks of getting back to school is that you get to ditch the formal gear for hoodies, torn jeans, Bata chappals and a 3-day stubble. But for the MBA internship period, please ensure that you don’t come across as a misfit. MBA recruiters are in no mood to buy your inner beauty argument.
Sprinkle the corporate attire with some corporate attitude as well. Stick to the official timings and respect the companies policies.