Dear MBA Interns,
Many of you will have completed the first week of your summer internships in corporate strategy, management consulting, PE and VC.
Now that the first week is over, you can take a moment to look back and enjoy everything you’ve done! Working in such a fast-paced environment, the next 10-12 weeks will soon fly-by, but will also provide you with a wealth of information and develop your professional toolkit.
MBA internships can be intense but having already secured a placement, you’ve done the hard part and are well on your way to landing a full-time position.
To help you make the most of your MBA summer internship and ultimately succeed in receiving a full-time offer, I thought it would be useful to share with you a few things I learned from my experience working with management consultancies, startups and corporates.
Here are my 5 top tips:
- Keep a learning & development journal – trying to learn as much as possible is the key to a successful internship. We recommend you keep a weekly track of everything you are working on, what you have achieved and consider any learning outcomes. Use this opportunity to ask questions of professionals working in your desired industry and always request feedback to find out what you can improve on going forward.
- Systematically deal with the unknown – during the internship you will be faced with many projects on topics that you know nothing about. Don’t worry, no one will expect you have to the perfect answer. Rather, they’re interested to see how you approach the task and use structured thinking to plan and complete it. Always try to come up with an hypothesis on how to approach a problem before asking your manager for guidance, it’s the best way to learn and also to show that you are putting in some thought to the work you do.
- Manage expectations – at times you can expect to receive overwhelmingly large or highly complex projects. These types of projects will reflect how well you handle pressure, stress, and prioritise tasks. It’s important to communicate clearly with your manager any difficulties you are facing. Do let them know well in advance if some of the deadlines are unrealistic and/or cannot be met. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from colleagues when needed — you are on the same team.
- Prioritise networking – during your internship you’ll be extremely busy, but do not make the mistake of passing up opportunities to network. Dedicate time to grabbing lunch and arranging coffee catch-ups with all-levels of seniority within the company, from different teams as well as your own. Build working relationships will demonstrate that you are a good cultural fit but also helps you to decide whether the company’s culture aligns with your values. Networking well with partners and senior individuals is crucial as this may influence their decision to offer you a full-time position. Lastly, don’t forget to contact your peers working in other roles and companies who will be able to give you valuable insights from their own experience.
- Enjoy yourself – you’ll meet amazing people and work on some very exciting projects! Stay positive and keep a smile on your face to show everyone how happy you are to be there. This may sound like a small detail but an intern’s external attitude can have a huge impact on a company’s internal decision to hire you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or reach out to me via LinkedIn.
Best of luck!