The Internship

Thursday, March 12, 2015

No, this blog post is not about the 2013 movie starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. This post is about the long and winding road that I took to find my summer internship – a key component of any MBA program – and I’m sure one that many of you are familiar with if you’re considering returning to school to pursue an MBA.  

While I won’t go into many specific details (this could quickly turn into a novel), I do want to share a bit more information about the experience and potential outcomes. I know I was fairly worried about being able to secure an internship when I entered graduate school, and I think it’s worth addressing for anyone who might also be a bit nervous.

Before I continue, I want to give the disclaimer that everyone’s experience is very different. It’s worth searching out several people and getting multiple perspectives on the process and end results.

For me, as with most things in life and in grad school, the search was exhausting, and then exciting. Then it became a bit nerve-wracking, followed by mixed emotions, then definitely not-so-exciting low points, and ultimately, really great and rewarding. I know that summary didn’t really sell it, but have no fear! Carlson is here to help in a variety of ways.

First: the students. A lot of research has been done on placing people together in a stressful situation and watching how they start to lean on each other and learn from each other. I feel that I can now say, firsthand, this is all very true. I witnessed and was a part of a lot of early mornings, trying to keep suits clean and presentable for a full day, rehearsing last minute interview responses, competing against your friends for the same internships, waiting for that glorious phone call, and getting regretful rejections. 

Ultimately, my fellow students were my biggest fans throughout this entire experience. They helped me prep for interviews (which was painful, I’m sure); they gave me tips on where to look for information on companies or contacts; they were the first to support me when I received a rejection, and they still get excited for me when I discuss my future. 

Second: the career center. Carlson has a top-notch career center. From the beginning of the program in September, until everyone has found their place for the summer, the career coaches are available and willing to do whatever they can to help you out. Besides making my own appointments, I also attended drop-in advising and sent many frantic emails, with the message always being some form of “Help!” They were always more than willing to, and it made the process much better knowing that there were people who I could turn to for guidance. 

As for the process – there is none. There are best practices and more effective ways of making progress than others. There is the well-oiled on-campus recruiting machine and a plethora of resources for an off-campus career search. But in the end, there is no equation that guarantees everyone the internship of their dreams. You have to put the work in, do the research, network, write the cover letters, complete the applications, and really pursue your passion. 

As for potential outcomes – there is one. You will get an internship, you will succeed, and you will be happy.  

Photo of Michael Scott from the Office

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of me in my suit on the way to interviews (I know you’re surprised). But in lieu of those, I found this awesome Michael Scott quote that sums up every bad interview that anyone has ever had.