This is the second part in our reblahgged series for the
crazy folks super-motivated ones. Yesterday we explained in broad strokes what a pre-MBA summer internship is and probably got some of you a little bit excited about it. However, there are also some important downsides that you need to be clear on, before you embark upon one of these opportunities.
Be very very careful that you don’t sign up for more than will actually benefit you. You don’t want to get too ahead of yourself. Some of these “opportunities” have pretty big strings attached: You go through the internship, and you might be offered a job at the end. This may sound awesome but is it really? We’ve heard warnings from some MBA career services peeps about students who pre-committed to internships (or to sponsorships where their current employer agrees to pay for the MBA) which the student later regretted.
The pre-MBA internship can get you into obligations with that company. You can get stuck there before you’ve even had the benefit of the MBA experience — which is sort of missing the point. The MBA is supposed to be all transformative and stuff, right? If you lock down on your future job before you’ve done the transforming then that’s cheatnig yourself. You put all this work into getting into bschool. Now, go through bschool before you decide who you want to be when you grow up. How do you even know that that’s the career path that you want to pursue? You haven’t had the education yet!
Another non-obvious mistake: If you lock into your MBA summer internship before you even start the MBA, you’re cheating yourself out of a valuable professional development experience: On-campus recruiting. Going through all the career services resources, and especially doing the interviews with possible employers, will give you da skillz. Yes it’s stressful and scary, and yes perhaps it would seem like it would be better to get to skip it – but you’re potentially cheating yourself of something important.
The other thing is, you may be foregoing the funnest part of all! What about your awesome pre-MBA summer filled with travel to exotic places and bonding with your new MBA classmates over mai tais? Be sure to ask about dates and do all your research on what’s going on at your MBA program, not just in terms of the actual first start date of class, but orientation and pre-term and all those team-based activities, and also treks and KWESTs and all of that.
The other challenge of course is how to find these internship opportunities. We’ve never heard of any MBA Career Services Office being actively involved in setting up these internships, however if you’re suddenly interested in this idea, then that might be one place to begin (provided you’ve been accepted and paid your deposit at that school, of course! they’re not likely to be that forthcoming with leads or info if you’re just making an inquiry as a BSer off the street).
So what about you? Are you planning on doing a pre-MBA internship? Are you a current student who did one? Any stories to share? We’d be interested to hear other perspectives on this! The comments are open.
Here's what others have said about this:
I am going to pursue something Pre-MBA. I am an officer transitioning out of the Army. I have done two deployments to Afghanistan and have never worked in an office. Fort hood has a program set up where I can spend my last 3 months on active duty going through a training program where junior officers take classes one day per week and spend 4 days per week with a company in Austin. I know Dell and Apple participate in the program. It is unpaid, but I will still be drawing Captains pay through the Army. The program isn’t geared for MBA students and the companies are eventually looking to higher people in the program. I will be honest with my intentions about pursuing an MBA. If anything, if I enjoy my time with the company I will keep them in mind post MBA.
@rwelch9439, that sounds like a great opportunity! It’ll give you a head start on the transition ahead, and you’ll likely make some good connections, too. Those companies know what they’re doing when they’re offering these types of programs to transitioning servicemembers. Good stuff! Every office situation operates a little differently, but figuring out the basics in a business setting in terms of expectations and norms can take a lot of the stress away when it’s time for you to move into a paid position.
Heck, even figuring out how to use these fancy copy machines in some offices is a big deal! (or the coffee machine!)
One bit of advice – for EVERYONE in a new office environment: TAKE NOTES IN MEETINGS. Even if you’re just there as an observer and not participating, it shows to others that you are actively listening. The more senior managers are often judging new hires based on how they behave, and something as simple as having a pen out while the conversation is happening around you will show that you are engaged.