This post is aimed at college sophomores and juniors who are thinking about earning an MBA in the future, and who will be working as an intern this coming summer.
In my opinion, there isn’t a better way to test out your career interests than by working in your intended field for a few months. From a company’s perspective, it is the most effective way to determine your potential as a future leader.
If you are serious about seeking an MBA in the future, it is important to note that many companies that hire MBAs value quantitative and analytical skills. During your internship, volunteer for assignments that will allow you go gain experience in quantitative analysis.
What are additional skills employers seek and what can you do to earn that full-time job offer upon completion of your internship?
1. Execution. Good leaders not only have creative ideas; they know how to execute and transform those ideas into action. Accept every assignment with a positive attitude and work hard to produce the best results. If you find yourself with extra time, ask for an assignment, or make a suggestion for work you can do that fills a gap.
2. Teamwork. The most effective leaders help others to shine. Offer assistance to fellow interns, co-workers, and your boss. Commend others for work well done.
3. Inspire. Show your commitment to your work and the company by arriving early, staying late if there is work to be done, and most importantly, completing your projects with creativity, thoroughness and excellence.
4. Communication. Make the effort to be social and communicate with your co-workers, administrative assistants and managers. Effective communicators appreciate differences and learn how best to motivate and inspire a diverse work group.
A few other tips:
5. Ask questions. When you don’t know how to do something ask for clarification. It’s important to be able to work independently, but sometimes you need more information before you can move forward.
6. Be professional. When you answer a phone at work, say your name and department. When you leave a phone message, speak clearly, and again, say your name, department and phone number.
7. Double-check your emails to eliminate all typos. Copy your email into Microsoft Word and use the spelling and grammar tool.
8. Dress similarly to the full-time staff and skip the perfume and cologne. Cubicles are often shared and are small!
9. Finally, smile. Display your positive attitude with body language and energy.
If you receive a full-time job offer from your internship employer, ask for the time you need to compare your offer to other upcoming opportunities (fall semester job interviews). Companies will often pressure you to respond right away, but there is nothing wrong with using your negotiation skills and informing them of a date by which you will respond. Many career management centers have policies in place, including offer decision deadlines, with which companies are asked to comply.
With 30 years of career/admissions experience at four universities, including Cornell’s Johnson School, Karin facilitated students’ entry into the world’s best companies. As a member of the adcom, she also evaluated applications. She knows what schools and employers seek.
• Why MBA?, a free guide
• 4 New Ways to Display Teamwork in Application Essays
• MBA Admissions 101