If you’re going for a part-time MBA, today’s post is not for you. Many part-time MBA programs REQUIRE students to be working while completing the MBA.
Today we’re talking about the “why MBA” essay where you toss out the idea that you’ll do an internship during the school year.
This brilliant idea gained a foothold among applicants in a big way a couple years ago when Columbia had some marketing video where they had students talking about the Columbia “Being at the Center of Business” branding. They’d say, “Oh yeah, and we’re a subway ride away from all these great companies, and you can even do an internship or get hired as a consultant while you’re taking classes.” Or something.
And then suddenly we got all these BSers writing that in their Columbia essays: “I want to go to Columbia because then I can ride the subway downtown to all these great companies for meetings, and I will pursue an internship at the same time so that I can build more skills.” Or something.
You will not have time to hold down a job.
Even if you do manage to finagle your schedule during your second year so that you can take on some side project (which you will only realistically have time to even dream about during that second year; your first year you will be so sleep-deprived that you won’t even have time for dreaming), you shouldn’t be trying to tell the adcom about this in the essays.
This is not the most effective strategy to get in.
What it does is, it broadcasts to them that either a) you’re planning to not be as involved on campus as you are pretending to be with all the other assertions you’re making about classes you care about and clubs you want to be President of, but instead you’re planning your exit as early as possible; and/or b) you’re naive and don’t understand how all-encompassing the MBA experience really is.
Neither of those is such a great signal to your reader.
Will they reject you because you talk about wanting to do some type of for-pay project during your MBA? No, of course not. But you’re not doing yourself any favors in the admissions process. It’s not like saying this is going to help them want to accept you.
And that should be the litmus test you use against everything you include in the essays.
Is saying that going to add value to your candidacy? Does it show you as a stronger applicant to their program? Does it show you as more knowledgeable about what they offer and the opportunities they provide? Does it help them see how you will fit in and contribute to their community?
Saying you want to go to bschool so that you can spend time at a job, and not at bschool does not seem like the most logical approach to this “pitching the adcom” scenario you’re faced with.
Yes, bschool is about building skills to get you ready for some fabulous new job. Yes, the internship is a core part of the two-year full-time MBA experience.
But the SUMMER INTERNSHIP is already doing that. Why do you need another internship?
We’re not saying that another internship is a bad idea in practice. We’re saying that the task at hand is to minimize risk to your profile and to convince the adcom reader that you know what you’re getting into, and you value what they offer.
Want more proof?
MIT chat, 2/10/16:
“It it unusual for students to work or do internships part time during the semester.”
When asked about a P/T job in the second year:
“This is very rare. Sloan is a very busy place!”
From the UVA Darden online FAQ as of this week:
Is it possible to work part time while enrolled in the Full-Time MBA?
The MBA is in fact a full-time format. During the First Year, students begin their days with 8 a.m. classes and end their days in the evening with learning team meetings. Hours that are not scheduled are typically used for club meetings, recruiting and case preparation. The schedule does not leave enough time to work a part-time job. If you are interested in a more flexible format that allows you to work while attending classes, please check out Darden’s MBA for Executives and Global MBA for Executives formats.
If you want to try working and going to school at the same time, well, more power to ya, but it’s gonna be tough to pull off IRL, and it’s even tougher to pitch to the schools in your app.