Getting a summer internship can seem like a daunting process, but I have learned two important lessons through my experience; planning and using the resources at your disposal. When I started my MBA, I knew I wanted to get an internship, but that is where my self-awareness ended. This might bring about anxiety for most people, but I decided to trust the process, not freak out and to get advice from our amazing MBA career management team. Maxine, Linda and Paul from the MBA career management team guided me in my career search and taught me how to develop my personal brand. I am fortunate to have a human resources background as this helped speed up my process when applying for positions, but since I want to explore a new path, the career management team helped me build on my skill set. The BUS 501 course refined my hard skills through resume and cover letter development, LinkedIn profile tips, and personal exploration. I searched job postings our CareerConnect platform constantly and applied to positions that interested me. Another benefit of using the MBA office’s services is their strong connections to alumni and professionals in the industries I am interested in. I was fortunate to have Brent Collingwood introduce me to my mentor who was invaluable in my internship search. She was a voice of reason when I doubted my strengths and she helped me create order in my often overcomplicated brain.
A word of caution in your internship search: if you want to go on an MBA study tour abroad, be aware of your tour dates. Unfortunately, I chose a tour which was not conducive to the start dates of many jobs I was interested in. Out of this impediment I found what I term the ‘ideal job!’ The MBA office chose to take me on as their first intern. I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and work on projects that impacted both my fellow students and future students. I worked on three projects over the summer, each with different staff members from the MBA office. I researched the market potential of different regions of MBA recruitment, supported the development of the career and international portions of the full time orientation and researched, recommended and helped design career management activities.
This role developed me personally and professionally. I learned that until I know my strengths, I cannot refine my career search since these will help equip me for a future where I can excel in what I do. I worked under a team whom I deeply respect and this prompted me to produce quality work I am proud of. My network has grown exponentially over the summer and this will benefit me greatly when I graduate next spring. My internship further refined my career path and I now know what I enjoy doing as well as work I prefer to avoid when possible.
I will leave you with some ‘Nash’ words of wisdom—to distinguish yourself, you need to rise out above the crowd in all aspects of your life. You can stand out through getting an impressive GPA, joining committees or building on your connections, but you also need to have purpose, motivation and drive in order to become the best you can be. Know what you are doing, why you are doing it and trusting yourself wholeheartedly are the keys to success in the MBA program and beyond.
Written by Nashid Shaker