MBA Internships: Ultimate Guide with Top 10 MBA Internship program

MBA Internships

Written by Sayan Pal

December 6, 2020


All you need to know about MBA Internships

If you are currently an MBA student or aspiring to enrol into an MBA program, it is important to keep in mind that MBA internships are an essential aspect of the course. An MBA internship adds merit and utility to the degree and determines the career path you choose after completing the MBA program. Learn all that you need to know about MBA internships and how to get one.

What is an MBA Internship?

MBA internships are short, learning-oriented work experience with a company that is completed between the first and second year of MBA programs. Employment is an important part of the program’s experience and MBA program’s career office usually begin working with fresher candidates even before they arrive on campus and continue after they have found summer employment. In addition to academic lectures, the universities also prepare students regarding resume writing, interviewing and other essential professional skills.

An MBA internship will test the skills learned by you in classrooms in the real world of business. Summer internships are compulsory in almost every business schools nowadays. There is a strong outlook for internships among employers. There are both Pre-MBA internships and summer MBA internships targeted at B-school candidates in major companies. In a survey conducted in 2014, 68 per cent of employers said that they had recruited MBA students as interns.

What is MBA Internship

How MBA Internships add value to your Degree

  • Insight into the Role and Responsibilities: 

MBA internships provide you with the opportunity to work in your area of interest and preferred organizations that bring you closer to achieving your career goals. An internship gives you an insight into the roles and responsibilities you will have as a worker. It will also give you a preview of the nature of the work that you will be undertaking once you graduate from the business school. 

This gives you ample opportunity to decide whether a job is suitable for you in long term. If you do not like the job you had always dreamed of doing after being exposed to the reality of it, you can look for other job categories suitable for you. An MBA student has a vast variety of career opportunities offered to them. The earlier you make the decision, regarding which career option is best suited for you, the better it will be for you in the long term. What better way is there to find out if a job is tailored for you than working in an internship and finding it out for yourself? At the end of the day, you are only gaining more valuable work experience. 

  • Gaining Work Experience:

An MBA internship with a good firm will give you a lot of practical work experience. It is an opportunity for you to apply the skills that you learned in the classroom to the real business field. Every company prefers to hire an employee with a credible work experience. So by gaining work experience you are doubling your chances to get hired. An internship with a reputed firm will add great value to your resume and will give you an added boost during job placement.

 Many aspiring students who are willing to enrol in MBA programs usually start working as interns even before joining the course. Working in an MBA internship will enhance any previous work experiences that you may have, as well as a cover-up for the loss of not having pre-MBA internshipsMBA internships are undoubtedly an even greater deal for you if you do not have any previous work experience in the field you choose to pursue.

  • Exposure to Work Profile and Build Skills:

Going to classes and learning things by attending lectures is not entirely good enough students must have practical knowledge and experience in their chosen field. MBA Internships encompasses several assignments and projects and you will get a chance to do impactful work that benefits the company. In return, you will be able to improve your skillset in that field of work in addition to those you had acquired in classrooms.

You will also gain firsthand experience of that particular work profile which will help you decide whether you are interested in working in that career path or not. One might consider MBA internships as a crash course and a glimpse into what that particular job will be like if they decide to pursue it later.

  • Convert Internships into a Pre-Placement Offer:

Many companies use MBA internships to recruit students who fit into the company’s work culture perfectly. While working in an MBA internship you are exposed to a board of professionals and decision-makers of the organization who have an important role to play when it comes to hiring individuals. They judge your performance and work ethics during the tenure of the MBA internship. 

Internships are considered to be an economical way of testing employees before permanently hiring them for most companies. Hence if you live up to their expectations there are high chances of you bagging a permanent job offer in that company. It is a profitable situation for both you and the company if they decide to present you with a job offer or a pre-placement interview offer at the end of your course.

Pre-MBA Internships

If you are a student who is looking forward to enrolling in an MBA program and walk down that career path it is wise to first work in a Pre-MBA Internship. It will give you a glimpse of how jobs in that particular sector look like and you can decide whether studying an MBA is the right choice for you. A pre-MBA Internship lasts for about 4-6 weeks. It is ideal for students who are aspiring to enrol in a B-school. It is a program organised by major companies mainly for students heading to join full-time MBA courses. It is different from a summer MBA internship which could land you a permanent job offer at the end.

Most companies prefer to hire interns who have covered Pre-MBA Internships. The chances of being accepted for summer MBA internships if you have already worked for the same company as a Pre-MBA intern is very high.  In fact, to be eligible to apply to full-time MBA programs in most universities it is compulsory to have prior work experience. 

How To Prepare For An MBA-Internship

In addition to working in Pre-MBA Internship programs there a few other factors that can help students prepare for an MBA Internship. By first year itself, most students have accepted their summer internship offers. Thus students who know what their summer internship will be can use the spring semester to gear up for it. Candidates who have time in hand can opt for classes that are in line with their job. For example, students who are going into finance are suggested to take more finance classes, communication classes will be beneficial for students going into management. Competitive strategy classes are however beneficial to students regardless of what kind of internship they are going for.

If it’s too late to sign up for classes, business school case competitions, student’s career development centres and student clubs can provide opportunities to build up skills that will help students for work. Student clubs can offer several career-building opportunities. They host symposiums which bring recruiters and alumni to guide students. Participating in various club activities can also increase a student’s leadership skills, ability to work in groups and communication skills. In addition to demonstrating excellence in the classroom, these skills and activities also stand out during the recruitment process.

How To Get An MBA Internship

Recent surveys indicate that MBA internships are the gateway for students to land good jobs after the program is over. Here are a few outstanding tips by experts for getting suitable internships and capitalizing on them:

  • Start Early-

Start preparing for the internships as soon as possible. Many companies start approaching students from as early as fall. Start taking online courses which cover every aspect of career hunt and management. This includes resume crafting, self-analysis, networking and mock interviewing. At the beginning of the MBA programs, students go through a week of training with coaches and practise these skills with each other. Attending conferences and events in the summer will give an early preview into different industries.

  • Preparation for the interview- 

We advise you to seek career services to assist you. Connect the dots between your Pre-MBA internship, things you are learning in your program, your goals and how all this fits into your employer’s needs. In addition to GPA and GMAT scores, recruiters also focus on your communication skills and work ethics. So take some time to develop these. You must also be available to work for the entire duration of the internship program.

  • Know your work- 

Even though students are not expected to master the entire curriculum before getting an internship, having some knowledge about the field they are going to work in functions as an added advantage. Students, who want to gain more knowledge to impress their interviewers about topics that have not been covered in classes yet, can contact the career services office. They will connect students with relevant departments, or suggest online courses and textbooks.

  • Build a strategy-

This is the best time to switch careers so plan ahead and develop all the necessary skills that are essential for your next job. Find out everything about the job you are rooting for and tailor your resume to make it more suitable for the said employment offer.

  • Pursue multiple channels-

Do not put all your efforts into a single recruiting avenue. Use traditional on-campus recruiting methods hand in hand with other things like connecting with alumni on LinkedIn and cultivating less formal industrial connections. 

  • Seize every opportunity-

Career services can help you prepare for the internship and recruitment process. The second-year peer advisors guide first years with the info regarding how to succeed in different internships. Working in student clubs, developing communication, presentation skills and learning how to work in teams can help students a lot during their internship tenure.

  • Have a broad and flexible mindset-

 It is important to keep in mind that not every internship program that you work in will lead to a full-time job offer and not ever internship will be everything you hoped it to be. It is advised however that you do your best and learn as much as you can from the work experience. Incorporate everything you learned into your resume and work goals.

How to get an MBA Internship

How To Start Close Your MBA Internship

Ending your summer internship in a positive note is just as important. Always maintain good work ethics during the internship tenure and maintain those relationships. Communicate with your manager and ask for a formal evaluation at the end of your internship. This will help you get good references even if you do not get a full-time job offer with them. Networking is just as important. Connect with all the key people in LinkedIn. 

Maintain a professional attitude on work premises and all visible social networking platforms, do not be too casual. Failing to maintain proper professional behaviour in work premises and online can lead to termination of employment. The business industry is closely packed and news about anything like this gets around pretty quickly.

Monthly Median Intern Pay At Leding Business Scools

The average pay scale of interns in top business schools which offer MBA internships such as Harvard Business School, Penn Wharton, Chicago Booth, MIT, Columbia, UC Berkeley, Yale, Dartmouth, Michigan Ross, and UCLA is about 7,000 USD to 10,000 USD.

Top US MBA Internships

The most reputed companies to keep in mind while applying for MBA internships are Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, McKinsey and Company, Boston Consulting Group, GSK, and JP Morgan Chase and Co.

In order to secure a good job, MBA students must challenge themselves and push their boundaries with MBA internship programs. There is no single path but a hundred ways to get where you want to be. The MBA internship program is a great way to get a foot in the door.

To know more about Harvard MBA Program, click here




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