It's Never Too Late to Find a Summer MBA Internship
Maybe you're one of the lucky ones who's lined up something to do for the summer already. If you're an MBA, you've probably already interviewed with investment banking and/or consulting firms. (Companies in those industries normally have concluded summer internship interviews by late February). If you've obtained a position with an investment bank or consultancy, you'll be smirking smugly while reading this article. Other prestigious internships, such as those with high tech firms like Microsoft and IBM, or government internships, such as those with the FBI, also have early cutoffs for applications, and if you're spending the summer in Armonk, Redmond or Quantico, you probably already know it.
But what to do if you're one of those folks, who, when asked about summer plans, mumbles something about keeping your options open? Vault sympathizes, and has a few words of wisdom to offer.
First of all, if you've made some unsuccessful applications for summer internships, realize that all is not lost. Summer internships aren't like regular employment - they are much scarcer, and competition for the most desirable positions is fierce. For example, MBAs actually have a more difficult time finding an internship than in securing permanent employment after graduation. What does this mean to you practically? Cast a wide net when it comes to summer employment. Don't fail to apply to an internship just because it isn't in your dream industry or your favorite city. This is no time to be picky.
Even if you don't end up taking a job in the field of your internship, future employers will assess you on your summer internship - and whether or not your temporary employer liked you enough to invite you back permanently. Even if you hate your internship, work as hard as you can. At best, you may discover a fabulous new field you'd never considered before. At a minimum, you'll get a full-time offer, which will make you more marketable to future employers. The summer should be a time to make an investment in your future.
You can even find internships in areas you might not normally think offer internships. For undergrads, the Gap and its various other chains, such as Banana Republic and Old Navy, for example, offer summer positions that go beyond folding sweaters and ringing up Pocket Ts on the cash register. The well-known clothing chain now has semi-formal summer internships designed to give you some grounding in retail and personnel management (and you still get the store discount.) Even if you don't think your life calling is running an Old Navy, the supervisory and organizational skills you'll learn and the sales you'll encourage will be attractive to any potential employer. For MBAs, the Gap welcomes MBA finance and marketing applicants for internships at its San Francisco corporate headquarters.
But where do you find these internships? After you've plumbed your school career center (and check all the career centers - MBA-worthy internships are sometimes listed at the undergraduate career center, and undergraduates may be able to qualify for summer positions aimed at MBAs or law students), it's time to take a little personal initiative. One of the least used - and potentially most successful - methods involves making your own internship. If you've already identified a field in which you know for sure you want to be working, say, healthcare marketing, or sports writing, there's no point in not pursuing summer work in that field. Find out which companies you want to work for, make full use of any connections you have to locate someone within that company (either through personal connections or your school's alumni office).