Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Internship Tips

By Tobi Olubanjo

As the fall semester ramps up, the many worries of first year MBAs are perhaps uncountable but at the forefront of each’s mind are simply fitting in, surviving, and of course, securing an internship for next summer.  Bagging that summer internship for summer should certainly be the priority number one; every other issue will be easily mitigated by the influence of social and environmental forces (professors, classmates, grades, loans and scholarships, ego, and pride, just to mention a few). It’s important that first years not be fooled by the number of months in the calendar year because time is your biggest enemy in B-school. Before you know it your first assignments and group projects are due, career management and club events are scheduled, midterms are only a few weeks away, and final exams are knocking on the door. You might not even realize that you are still trying to adjust to being a student again, never mind the fact that you haven’t yet secured an internship. So here are some tips to help you lock down a summer internship.

1.    Get your resume and elevator pitch approved by OCM ASAP
      First on your to-do list should be getting your resume critiqued by the MBA Office of Career Management. They can help you transform your resume into a passport that will clearly demonstrate where you have been and perhaps land you multiple interviews. If you can simultaneously work on your resume and elevator pitch you will be ahead of the game as the few sentences comprising your story will be the chorus you will be singing for the next two years.

2.     Be sure to attend the NBMBAA and/or NSHMBAA conferences (or similar)
I recommend that first years attend one of these national conference no matter what ethnic group you might belong to. These conferences are open to all MBAs and one don’t hesitate to become a member of the associated organization.The only place in the country you will find multiple companies (perhaps 500 or more) under one roof recruiting students like you. With so many recruiters present, you have an opportunity to practice your elevator pitch with firms that you may be less interested in before approaching companies of interest. (Remember, the more often you practice and deliver your elevator pitch the better it becomes as you learn to easily adapt and fine tune it to your audience)

3.      Attend corporate presentations and other events both on- and off-campus
Corporate presentations and similar events are underestimated by many MBAs  because most students don’t expect to get hired at these events. The events are designed to educate students about different firms and their operations and strategy. However, one thing most students don’t know is that these events are also the best place to establish relationships with recruiters or other representative (sometimes even hiring managers) who can later help you to land interviews and eventually offers. Once these relationships have been established, they can be a valuable asset to rely on.

4.     Always do your due diligence
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of doing your due diligence and research on companies of interest. This effort will pay back in dividends as it provides a sense of understanding of companies of interest. The school library has all the resources you will need to complete your research on any company of interest. Equip yourself with the information that will come in handy during conversations with recruiters and help yourself formulate the right questions to get the recognition and attention that differentiates you from the masses.

5.     Always try to practice your elevator pitch
Attend as many events that will allow you to practice telling your story as you are able. Your elevator pitch will get better every time you recite it. It will also give you opportunity for improvement and modification based on people’s critique and questions.  You can practice with recruiters, 2nd year students, OCM staff, professors, alumni, and classmates

6.     Look for internship opportunities everywhere   
Maximize your chances of landing interviews by applying for opportunities posted outside of Symplicity. Some of these don’t require cover letters and all you have to do is upload your resume. Job search engines such as,,,, and many more are useful.

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