Congratulations! You just started your first year of graduate school in the midst of a pandemic! You are questioning how university life will be with quarantine, adjusting to virtual classes and meetings, and now preparing for an internship.
While all of this may seem overwhelming, you are a Business Badger! You, we, are surrounded by an incredible support system that wants you to succeed, and that is one of the many reasons I chose the Wisconsin School of Business.
As a first-year student, I had the opportunity to virtually meet the second-year students in my MBA program: Strategic Human Resource Management. They are not only peers, but also the experienced “older” siblings who just finished their internships in the midst of quarantine. Who better to learn from than these rising professionals who are still in school with me?
We chatted about all things internship related: from where to begin, how to interview, what you actually do, and how prepared you are, to the key things you must absolutely do. Here is a preparation guide to your summer internship.
How do I search for an internship?
- Research companies to find ones that have a corporate culture and mission that align with your personal values.
- Prioritize where you see yourself geographically to narrow your search.
- Let your resume do the footwork for you. Make sure it is polished and tailored to each company you apply for.
- Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date.
****COLLABORATE with your peers. SHARE information. REACH OUT to fellow Business Badgers and alumni who work at the companies you are interested in. They want to help you!
How do I pitch myself in the interview process?
- Use your own experiences; they do not have to be specific to the field you are applying for.
- Practice your behavioral situational answers.
- Why did you choose an MBA? Why now? Why the WI School of Business?
- What makes you a good fit for the job?
****Show ENTHUSIASM! Be your AUTHENTIC self. BOAST about yourself (humbly, of course). DIFFERENTIATE yourself from other candidates to turn into a PROSPECT.
How do I figure out what I will do during my internship?
- The company who hires you may send a survey to rank your interests.
- They select your projects based on your skillset.
- After verifying their need for a job, they take your interests into account to place you.
- Do not get upset if you get placed in projects that were not your top choice. You might find something that you did not even know you like!
****SHINE through any position you receive. PROVE to yourself and your company that you are meant to succeed.
How prepared will I be to jump into projects on a team?
- You are set up with a mentor/buddy to act as your guide.
- You may receive a detailed project charter to explain your role.
- You will have check-ins with your mentor.
- You are given a 90-day plan for reference.
****ASK QUESTIONS. Managers want to see you engaged in the process. Show them your desire to learn.
Key words of wisdom from our second-year students:
- Be positive. Find joy in the process. You are learning, and therefore growing.
- Stay true to yourself. Don’t put on a façade of who you think they want you to be.
- Use your resources. Reach out to the Career Management Team, alumni, and your peers.
- Practice, practice, practice! Want to get rid of that sweaty palm, heart-racing, gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach when you interview? Practice mock interviews and elevator pitches to get to a conversational comfort when talking about yourself, your experiences, and why you are meant to get the job.
****You are a part of an amazing team. This is not a competition. Badgers help badgers.
Thank you to the second-years who shared their time, experiences, and knowledge.