3: Finding an Ideal Summer Internship
Internship recruitment begins early. As soon as you arrive on campus in September, even August, you will begin the process of finding a summer internship. You will want to find an internship that matches your interests, opens doors, or provides a taste of a corporate culture that you are interested in experiencing or joining. The internship may or may not relate precisely to your future work, but will provide you with exposure to a culture, a style, and a system. For many, summer internships turn into full time positions after the first year, so you will want to do your homework.
Most first-year business school students find an internship, though the process is still quite competitive. For some people, the difficulty of the process comes not in finding one, but in finding the right one for them. For some, they are looking for industry experience. For others, who are seeking to reenter an industry in which they already have experience, they may be particularly interested in targeting a particular company. For others with less experience, they may want to learn about several industries before selecting a direction. So devote adequate time to:
o Attending information sessions or cocktail parties held by recruiters. These are great opportunities to establish informal contacts.
o Network with other contacts (outside of business school). These sometimes work out well for first-year students. So remember that business school is not the only way by which to find a position.
o Learn about industries. Such research will assist you in gauging your own interest as well as allow you to come across as possessing genuine and informed knowledge when you do approach recruiters.
o Learn about individual companies. Companies want to know that you are interested in and knowledgeable about their work. Do your homework and learn potentially through informal on campus events as much as you can.
o Prepare for case interviews and general interview sessions. Be able to explain yourself and why you are interested in a field, industry, and company, in addition to showing a developing understanding of the work of the company. Also be practiced at answering the problem-solving questions that you may be asked to solve as a portion of the interview process.
o Seek guidance during the process from your school’s career staff.
Following the above plan will help you to adjust and excel in your first-year. You won’t get too bogged down worrying about an internship in May, nor will you be consulting math tutors throughout the year for assistance on problem sets, and you’ll be engaged in courses and activities that interest you and are a good use of your time. But also remember:
Don’t finish work on Friday and show up at business school orientation on Monday. A summer break to settle in, to relax and rest, or even lay on the beach makes a difference in preparedness for your first-year of business school too!
Your first year of business school is likely to be a busy one. Adjusting to a newplace, meeting new people, learning new things, and opening new doors will make it an exciting, even thrilling experience. Yet, the best way to ensure that you will enjoy your first-year of business school is through preparedness. There are essentially three key ways in which to prepare, and thereby easily clear some of the main hurdles of the first-year.
1: Math Prep
Before you arrive on campus, you should focus on academic preparedness for the Math aspect of business school. If you feel a little weak on your quantitative skills prior to beginning your MBA, you are not alone. Approximately a third of MBA entrants need a full Math review course before they begin classes, and an additional third are weak in some area—whether accounting, statistics or excel spreadsheets—and need to spend some time working on it in the summer prior to beginning school. This does leave an additional third—these engineers, accountants or “traditional” candidates, who have been working in the finance industry prior to starting their study. If you fall into this category, you are unlikely to need much additional quantitative before your first-year classes begin. There are also diagnostic tests you may consider taking if you are uncertain of whether or not you are ready for MBA math.
o Many business schools offer a math camp or quantitative review to students prior to entering the fall semester. Check with the school you will be attending to see what summer programs they offer. (It’s also a good networking opportunity.)
o GMAC sells a Quantitative review program called MBA Survival Kit, including 4 CDs covering finance, accounting, math and statistics skills. Each CD may be purchased separately. Available for $60 each or $155 for the complete set.
o MBA Math is an online math review course modeled on the Math Camp at Dartmouth University’s Tuck Business School. It’s available for $99.
o Seek out a program that is approved or recommended by the school you are going to attend. Many schools offer their own Math Camps during the summer.
o If you do fall into a category like “career-changer” (those out of practice in terms of quantitative skills), take a course. Not doing so will leave you in a position of having to catch up with your classmates, many of whom are accustomed to using analytical or quantitative skills daily. Not taking the time to review will make your first-year a much less pleasurable experience—academically, professionally, and socially.
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