How to Choose an MBA Internship

As the academic year comes to a close, many students are preparing for summer internships. Internships often lead to full-time jobs after graduation and help students to develop their professional networks. Internships also give students the opportunity to practice the skills that they have learned during classes. Most MBA programs require students to complete an internship over the summer after their first year in the program.

Choosing an internship that will benefit you as a student and as a professional can be a difficult task. Business Insider says that “The MBA summer internship is a major part of the business school experience and getting the right one is important. Good internships are extremely competitive and the struggling economy has made it harder than ever.” The website offers students several tips for choosing an internship.

The first tip is to “let your school do most of the work.” Most business schools set up recruiting events for students to find internships. Many times, companies will reserve spots for interns from the school so students have guaranteed placement for internships. Business Insider says, “Many business school students won’t ever need to look for help or advice on getting an internship. But the people who need help most are those who choose to go outside this system in search of a better opportunity than they can get within it.”

Insider also tells students to get as much as they can out of their school’s Career Services. “Even if you strike out on your own to find an internship, lean on the career-services people at your school to help you out wherever you need it.” Career services can be extremely helpful with finding an internship, creating a resume, working on interview skills and with networking events.

West Chester University, for example, helps students to find internships through the Ram Career Network, which is the school’s online, one-stop career services management system for students and alumni. The Ram Career Network is updated every week and gives students access to state-wide and national networks for internships. WCU also offers on-campus recruiting events. The school offers two recruiting events in an academic year.

The Student Involvement and Career Center at San Francisco State University offers students workshops geared toward creating and updating resumes, networking tips, interview preparedness and job and internship search tools. The Center also hosts a number of networking and recruiting events on and off campus for students and alumni.

Business Insider also advices students to seek out start up companies for internships. Getting a summer internship with a start up company can be harder for students because start up companies are not necessarily creating internship opportunities during the beginning phases of the company. However, it can be extremely beneficial for students because they can get to know what’s going on in the industry that they are interested in.

Business Insider says, “there’s a good chance that exciting work is being done by companies who haven’t yet thought to establish a presence at business schools” Many business schools host start up competitions and training workshops for new businesses. Finding a start up can be as easy as looking to the winners of your school’s competition. Networking through alumni and current students can also help with positions with start up companies.

The Rutgers Business School- Newark & New Brunswick offers workshops for entrepreneurs. The New Jersey Small Business Development Center provides small businesses with strategic, growth focused business training and technical assistance services to established small businesses and start-up entrepreneurs. Rutgers students can work with the New Jersey Small Business Development Center to network and to find internship opportunities with start up businesses in the area.

Business Insider tells students to avoid unpaid internships at all cost. “If a firm isn’t willing to pay you anything, there’s a good chance they don’t have a sense of what you can really offer them. They likely haven’t put much thought into what to do with an intern, and thus won’t have any interesting work for you to do. That doesn’t make for a valuable learning experience.” Students should spend their time in the summer learning new skills and applying what they have already learned in the classroom to real world experience.

So, where are students getting internships for the summer of 2015? The career website, recently compiled a list of the top places for MBA internships. At the top of the list was the consulting firm, Bain & Co. Bain, which has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Dallas Los Angeles, Houston and New York as well as several other offices in South and Central America, Asia and Europe is one of the largest recruiters of MBA students. According to vault, the firm typically will bring in more than 200 MBA interns for the summer.

Keith Bevans, global head of consultant recruiting at Bain told Poets & Quants that the firm “will extend offers to every qualified intern we can find.” He also said that interns are, “a tremendous source of talent” for the firm. “The students get a good look at our people and our culture. They go thru a global training program. We invest in their personal growth and development. The more great people we can find the bigger the program will be.”

The rest of vault’s top ten places for internships for the summer of 2015 for MBA students included: no. 2 Evercore Partners, no. 3 Boston Consulting Group, no. 4 Accenture no. 5 Pwc. no. 6 Deloitte, no. 7 KPMG, no. 8 A.T. Kearney, no. 9 Hewlett Packard and no. 10 Goldman Sachs.

In the end, the experience that you get out of an internship is really what you put in to it. Work hard and complete the tasks that are set for you. Do research on different companies before applying for internships. Internships are a great way to gain experience and are also a great way to try out different components of the business world, in a setting that is not as permanent as a full-time, post-grad job.

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About the Author

Erin Purcell

Staff Writer, covering MetroMBA's news beat for New York, Philadelphia, and Boston.

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