May 11, 2011

The Ins and Outs of the Summer Internship

Post by:
Anya Thomas
Public and Nonprofit MBA, '12

What kind of internships do BU MBAs get? Where do they work?

You could learn banking in North Carolina, or how to lead 100 people in the telecom industry in Chicago. You could develop a growth plan for high schools in New England, or work for the Mayor’s office in Boston. From Seattle to New York City, from Tanzania to Pasadena, Boston University MBAs are spending the summer honing their skills and building relationships that will help them launch the next phase of their careers.

Finding an internship can be grueling at times. A balancing act where class projects, exams, and papers often seem to outweigh the importance of an informational interview or filling out an application. Even so, students must be diligent to build their network, figure out how to make the most of their summer, and then secure the internship that will move them forward professionally. It is exciting during the Spring semester as classmates get hired. However, it can be stressful for students who are searching for internships in industries that tend to hire late. In the end, whether you get your internship in December or May, the hours devoted to searching and preparing for an internship pay off.

I started my formal internship search in January and I was thrilled to secure my internship in Ghana by mid March. This internship embodies everything I was looking for. In a nutshell I get to apply the business skills I have been learning in class in an overseas setting. I get to work with a team of other graduate students, and if we are successful we will help people get access to clean water. What could be better than that? But there are always challenges: finding housing in a foreign city, realizing that the product you are marketing may be too expensive for the target population, adjusting to a new business culture . . .. Anyway, there is no way to tell whether success or failure is ahead of me, but regardless of the results, the depth of the learning and the relationships I will build will be priceless.

You can never start too early on your internship search. If you have a few spare hours, make a list of companies and functions that you are interested in, and start doing some informational interviews. You will thank yourself later.

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