During the fall and spring quarters of any MBA program, the most important thing on everyone’s agenda is to get a summer internship. Over the last 5 months, company presentations, interview preparation, networking receptions and informational phone calls have monopolized my time, but it was all worth it in the end.
While the career center is always extremely helpful, there are a few things I learned during my internship search that I wish I had known at the outset, if only to preserve my own sanity.
Networking – Yes, it really is as important as everyone says it is – do not underestimate. Getting an interview is all about who on the hiring committee knows your name, has already met you or has spoken on the phone with you.
Even if a company says it cares only about resumes and not how much candidate’s network, it’s still extremely important. It’s much easier to do well in an interview if you are sitting across the table from someone you already know, instead of someone you are meeting for the first time.
Quality Over Quantity – When applying for internships, most students’ gut reaction is to apply to anything and everything and hope that by the laws of probability, they end up with a few offers by the time recruiting is done.
In reality, applying to internships that genuinely interest you or are related to your background is a much more rewarding plan – not only will you end up with an internship you will be happy in, but interviews will be much smoother if you are already familiar with the work.
Try interviewing for a health care position with a legal background, and you will see my point.
Take Your Time – Just because every investment banker and consultant has their summer figured out by the first week of winter does not mean everyone else is behind – so don’t panic if it’s March and you don’t yet have an offer.
There are many companies that are on a later recruiting schedule, and opportunities continue to come up with firms that do just-in-time hiring for their summer interns. Many times, these jobs will be just as interesting – if not more – than those from the beginning of the recruiting season. Keep calm and job search on!
Hope you find some of these helpful, and good luck!
Forté Fellow & MBA Candidate Class of 2015
UCLA Anderson School of Management