Part 1. IntroductionPart 2. What Are MBA internships? Part 3. Do I Have to Participate In an MBA internship?Part 4. Value of an MBA internship Part 5. How to Find MBA internship Opportunities Part 6. Tips to Ace Your MBA internship Part 7. FAQsPart 8. Conclusion
An MBA internship is the perfect opportunity to obtain professional experience in your field of study. It highlights everything you love about your coursework while allowing you to gain hands-on experience and networking opportunities to help you later in your professional endeavors. But, some current or prospective MBA students may have some trouble finding these job opportunities and not know how to go about applying for them.
You may also struggle to know the best way to use them to your benefit before and after graduating with your MBA. This article will explain what MBA internships are, their requirements, and how they can be valuable to you in your professional and academic career.
This article will also discuss how to find the perfect MBA internship for you and provide tips for success before, during, and after your employment.
What are MBA Internships?
An MBA internship is a temporary position in a company related to your field of study. There are various internships available depending on the area you hope to work in after completing your MBA. These internships are not subject-specific, and multiple companies offer them, both big and small.
These internships allow you to obtain hands-on professional experience before you graduate and enhance your course content while giving you this experience.
Usually, you are employed in these positions while completing your degree, and they can either be paid, nonprofit, or internships for credit. Unlike a full-time job, MBA internships are only available for a specified time ranging from ten to twelve weeks.
Finding and taking part in an MBA internship may be obligatory in some MBA degree programs, depending on their curriculum requirements. For those with a kinesthetic learning style, an MBA internship will aid in understanding course content and increase student success.
Do I Have To Participate In an MBA internship?
Depending on the MBA Program, participating in an MBA internship may be in the curriculum requirements. This requirement is often easier to fulfill during the second year of your MBA program alongside your major-specific electives.
This specification is because the second year of your MBA program has more room for customizations. If this is the case, most schools require an MBA internship for class credit and provide the resources to find one best suited for your degree. Each of the organizations they provide would be accredited by the school, making this a factor you wouldn’t have to worry about when searching for the best internship for you.
Almost every MBA program recommends that applicants have at least two to five years of full-time work experience, and while an internship is not included in this experience, they add to the quality of your work. By participating in an internship before pursuing full-time experience, you will prepare yourself for content you may be expected to know in your line of work.
An internship will teach you the entry-level knowledge you will need in your career and provide you with additional knowledge that can help you excel in your studies. There are instances where you do not have to participate in an MBA internship. Still, it can significantly benefit you in your professional and academic life when surveying it further.
Value of an MBA internship
An MBA internship is the perfect opportunity to obtain hands-on job experience before you graduate with your degree, improving the quality of your work. Having an internship under your belt can benefit you in the application process and give you an edge in the job market. MBA application processes often ask you to describe times where professional obstacles challenged you.
Having experience in an internship could benefit your response to this; you can use your experiences to speak from a place of understanding and provide a meaningful answer to the admissions committee.
Having done an internship demonstrates initiative in the job market and allows you to offer new solutions based on experience. Your experiences will allow you to speak to your new employer’s mission and values and will enable you to translate your accomplishments into solutions. By highlighting skills you can bring to the company, you will stand out in the applicant pool and increase your chances of obtaining your dream job.
According to Jean Ann Schulte, the director of employer relations and recruiting at MIT, MBA internships are great for career switching and progressing. From her experience, she says, “approximately 85% of entering MBA students at MIT Sloan are considering a career transition—job function, industry, or both.” In essence, an MBA internship would be the perfect bridge to a new career.
An MBA internship also enhances the content of your degree. Applying your knowledge gained from hands-on experiences allows you to take the information you’re learning to the next level and make it stick with you long-term. MBA internship experiences will enhance student discussion and increase understanding of course content as they promote a learning experience without intense responsibility.
While you will be given a set of tasks to complete, as this is an entry-level position in the field you are hoping to pursue after obtaining your MBA, you are expected to make mistakes and learn along the way. In a full-time job, errors in the learning process may be frowned upon, but they are encouraged and showcase your professional improvement overtime in an internship.
Businesses are expecting you to leave their company with more knowledge than you came. Witnessing your growth first-hand is also what encourages companies to offer interns full-time positions after their internships have ended.; they are much more willing to hire someone they know and have taught themselves and whose work ethic they have seen.
An MBA internship is also an opportunity to learn knowledge from the people around you as you are allowed to network with people who work in your field of study. While the opportunity may not come from the company you are working for, there could be a co-worker who knows another company with similar values where you would fit perfectly. Other positions in the company may better suit you, and you can find this out by talking to someone you have worked alongside.
Networking could lead to full-time job offers after the internship duration has passed, making the internship the first step toward your professional aspirations. Your network is imperative to find new opportunities, and an MBA internship could be a catalyst for this. According to OnlineMBA, 34% of students who participated in an MBA internship said they were hired by the company they interned with.
How to Find MBA internship Opportunities
You can find MBA internship opportunities through various outlets that are accessible to you every day, but the easiest method would be contacting your university career center. The career center would have access to internships that best suit your coursework, ensuring your professional work will align with your academic experience.
Career centers often have career portals or counselors who will work with you directly to find an MBA internship that would be best for you with myriad opportunities that may not be accessible online. This will make the process of finding an internship accredited by your university easier and allows you to survey options that would be best for you.
You can also look for opportunities in newspapers and magazines where job postings would be listed. This method may make it a bit more challenging to locate the perfect internship for you, but looking in media that often discuss changes that occur in your field of study may make this easier.
For example, an MBA student or applicant with a specialization in technology would search more in magazines that cater to a tech-based audience. This method makes it easier to find internships that align with your interest and field of study as you would not have to search through various internships that may not interest you.
Another option is to drop off your resume with renowned companies or organizations for consideration. While they may not be offering an internship at the time, your name will be on their radar to contact when an opportunity does become available. By dropping off your resume, the company will match your qualities with a job that would be best for you and your success.
It would also be a good idea to attend campus career fairs and networking events. Universities often have businesses and organizations that come to campus career fairs looking to hire immediately, so these are the perfect opportunities to survey your options for internships and apply to one simultaneously. At some networking events, businesses and organizations may not be hiring immediately.
Still, they are looking to scope out candidates for positions that may open in the future or people that can be assets to their company later on down the road. Networking events allow you to put your name and qualifications on their radar, which makes you a person they will reach out to when they have an opportunity available or know of a position in which you’d be a good fit.
Finding an internship through any of these methods will be easier if you plan and apply early. For summer internships, the fall prior would be the best time to compile the list of companies to which you plan to apply. While application processes may not open until at least two months before positions start, having multiple plans for the type of MBA internships you would like to apply will make finding one that much easier.
Tips To Ace Your MBA internship
Be Personable and Inquisitive
Companies looking for MBA interns often seek people who will benefit their business with fresh ideas and purpose regarding their learning. Indeed, Jamie Mathew-Mead, the director of graduate career management at the Fisher College of Business, says that students “should know what employers are looking for and how you can add value” to their company.
You should be persistent in your desire to learn new skills while showcasing your passion for the field and the creative and innovative solutions you can offer the company. You can show your persistence by asking questions and going out of your way to obtain knowledge on something you may not know or want to learn.
This initiative indicates that you want to learn and set yourself apart as someone there for the experience and the lifelong knowledge you can obtain.
Your passion for the field can also be made evident in your contributions while undertaking your internship. By allowing yourself to intertwine what you have learned in your academic experience with professional challenges, you can prove that working in your field of study is the end goal for you.
This will demonstrate how your knowledge has aided your professional experience and how it will continue to do once you complete your MBA program. Asking questions would also help in contributing creative and innovative solutions to the company’s issues. By providing your perspective and the knowledge you have gained from your MBA program, you can provide new ideas from an academic viewpoint.
Being professional during an internship is imperative to your success. Not only does it bode well for your character, but it could encourage the company to hire you as a full-time employee. Because an MBA internship usually ranges from ten to twelve months, companies can see how you operate in a professional setting while learning new skills.
By consistently being professional, you are displaying that you already have the capabilities it takes to thrive in a professional environment. This attribute also enhances the outside perspective of your character, portraying you as someone that works efficiently and effectively in the positions given to you.
If your employer witnesses your drive and work ethic, they would be encouraged to hire you full-time after your internship; Schulte says that “approximately 35-to-40% of students accept a full-time offer resulting from their internship.”
Ask For Feedback and Build Networking Opportunities
As noted above, an MBA internship is an opportunity to learn, so asking for feedback on your work is a great idea; the only way to know if you are progressing or regressing is to have your work reviewed by someone with more experience in the field than you. Not only will they be able to provide an objective opinion, but they should also provide tips for improvement to ensure success in your future work. Asking for feedback also shows initiative and shows your desire to improve in your career and learn more for the next challenge that your employer may present to you.
Using your MBA internship as a networking opportunity also shows initiative. By getting to know the people around you in the work environment, you will create relationships that you can use to benefit your field of study.
Most opportunities come from knowing someone that knows someone, and this is where networking can be one of your most valuable tools. Networking opens up your skills not only to the company you are interning for but allows you to be considered by someone else that may know a position that aligns perfectly with the skills you can offer.
Not to mention, these are life-long connections you could use for professional opportunities later, such as for future letters of recommendation.
You could even connect with other MBA interns. Andrew Kritzer, a Darden alum, noted how in his MBA internship experience, he was able to connect with other alums that would relate to his learning experience. “We were able to bond over our shared experience and discover how to navigate the company at the same time,” he says.
Not only does this allow networking academically, but professionally for a life-long connection. These connections can benefit you in your future endeavors and potentially open doors to new opportunities.
1. Is an MBA internship required for all MBA Degree programs?
Whether an MBA internship is required in your degree program varies. You would have to consult your school’s MBA program curriculum requirements to know if you have to participate in an MBA internship for credit.
2. What kind of MBA internships are offered?
Various kinds of MBA internships are offered, with different companies better suited for specific specializations.
3. How long does an MBA internship last?
MBA internships usually range from ten to twelve weeks.
4. Does an MBA internship guarantee a full-time job after graduation?
An MBA internship does not guarantee you a full-time job. However, completing an internship does increase your chances of landing a full-time job offer after obtaining your MBA. There are also cases where the company you intern for offers you full-time employment after the internship duration has passed.
5. How is an MBA internship beneficial to me?
An MBA internship allows you the opportunity to obtain hands-on learning experience in your field of study while networking for long-term professional connections.
6. Can I do an MBA internship while I am still completing my MBA?
Yes, and some schools even encourage this. An MBA internship enhances course content and increases the quality of your work with hands-on professional experience.
An MBA internship may seem like a waste of time at first thought, but the value it can add to your MBA program is more than evident after further consideration. These learning opportunities can be found online, in newspapers or magazines, or through your university career center. With so many options available, there is sure to be one perfect for you and your studies.
Remember not to be afraid to ask questions and request feedback; this will aid your learning and improve your professional experience in your field of study. Also, remain professional and contribute your perspective to the company where you’ll be interning. They are looking for someone that can be an asset, and by introducing innovative ideas, you are doing precisely that. Finally, do not be afraid to network.
An internship is an opportunity to gain a first-hand look into what a professional career would be like in your field of study, so getting to know as many people and as much information as you can only benefit you in the long run. By following these tips, you will be sure to ace your MBA internship.