Last Updated: August 02, 2021
MBA Internship Process
Candidates who have enrolled for the MBA program will be most often required to do a summer internship during the duration of the course. Even if this is not considered mandatory, doing a summer internship can be immensely beneficial for candidates since they will be able to build on their skillsets and also create external networks that can help them in finding jobs later. Candidates will often get a window between their first and second year of the course to do the summer internship. This is during the summer vacation the candidates will receive after their first year of the course.
Internships are provided for candidates who do a full-time MBA program only since in both the part-time MBA program and executive MBA program candidates will already be working a full-time job. While doing the internship for MBA, candidates will be able to place the theoretical knowledge they have acquired about the workspace against the practical side of the same thereby enhancing the knowledge they have about the same. Summer internships then offer candidates the opportunity of growing further in their field of interest while also providing them work experience in the same.
Importance of a Summer Internship in MBA
The importance of doing summer internships while pursuing an MBA lies in the fact that most companies that hire interns will always prefer to offer permanent job positions to the best interns. This makes it highly important for candidates to land a great summer internship in the company they would prefer to work in after the completion of the course. The preparation for the internship when compared to the process of job hunting can seem similar but is relatively simpler considering how most companies prefer hiring interns than permanent employees.
Doing the internship then offers the candidate excellent work experience which they can even use during interviews they attend later or even add to their resume. The prospect of getting hired by the company they intern in is entirely dependent on the company policy and the performance level they keep during the duration of the internship. Acing the internship can provide the candidate only with benefits whether or not they get hired by the company they work in.
Preparing for the Summer Internship
Preparation for doing a summer internship often begins with starting early for the whole process. Candidates must look for companies that suit their interests and have a good work environment during their first semester so that they will have a find list of companies to apply to by the time they complete their first year of study. While starting to learn the course, candidates will often already have an idea of the specialization they want to take, and having internship programs that cater to that particular specialization can be immensely helpful to their future prospects.
The key questions that candidates can address while looking for companies can be the position they wish to work as after the completion of the course and the target companies they eventually wish to work in. while doing an MBA, one must understand that no goal is too high for any candidate while applying for jobs. At the same time, looking at the statistical information regarding how many candidates from the intern pool are hired every year can shed some light on the whole situation.
Identify one’s own skillsets and ensure that the interview preparation has been done thoroughly in a way that candidates will be able to showcase their skills during the process. It is always best to have a strategical approach where candidates not just prepare information related to themselves but also learn about the company, they are applying to so that they get a better chance of employment. Candidates must also make sure that they opt to apply for a minimum of 5 companies and also for different job titles even if it takes them a little away from their goal. Completing an internship will ultimately be beneficial for the candidate whether or not they choose to not continue in the same company after their MBA.
Internship interviews, like job interviews, can come in different formats. But regardless of the format used for the interview, proper preparation becomes critical for acing the interview. Every format will provide its own set of challenges that candidates will have to face and common mistakes that are typical of candidates. Few of these types are-
- Virtual Interview- Virtual interviews have been gaining prominence in the past decade with students being asked to attend their interviews online through specified platforms. During such interviews, it is important that candidates have a professional, clean, and quiet background. They should also be dressed to the occasion and maintain a level of discipline and decorum during the entire process. Candidates will have to ideally practice the technical aspects of the same so as to not seem technologically ignorant. It is best for candidates to appear for virtual interviews in the way they would attend an offline interview.
- Activity-Based Interview- This form of interview is strictly conducted in the field of management and business where candidates will be put into different groups and required to work together for finding a solution to the problem provided. Companies look for candidates who can work well in the team they are put in along with a healthy display of leadership and management qualities they will be able to showcase during the process. Candidates will have to remain confident in their decisions and be open to ideas put forward by other team members.
Questions Asked During Internship Interviews
While it is important for candidates to prepare for interviews, most candidates are bound to get confused regarding the content they should review for the interview. It is understood that candidates must be well-versed in the subjects they have studied during the first year. But at the same time, for managerial and other management-related positions, the personality and problem-solving skills the candidate can showcase during interviews along with their commitment and dedication to the job are considered exceptionally important.
It is important for candidates to highlight the assets they have which will be beneficial for the company. The questions that are asked during interviews are dependent on the company culture, industry, interviewer, and the position the candidate has applied for. Even if candidates are not well-versed with the curriculum they have studied during the course, they must have knowledge relating to the industry along with the current advancements and trends relating to the same.
Prior to an interview, candidates can spend time reflecting on their previous accomplishments, lessons learned, and answering practice questions. Taking advantage of all the resources the candidate’s business school offers for career and internship placement, such as mock interviews and resume reviews is also a recommended method. The summer internship is an excellent opportunity to catapult the candidate into the career they hoped for will enrolling for the course.
Questions that Candidates Can Ask During Interview
It is essential that candidates ask questions during the interview for internships. This is one of the ways in which candidates can appear confident and at the same time remove their doubts and fears about joining the company for the internship. The main queries that candidates can have regarding the internship will be regarding the employee environment of the institution and the basic responsibilities the company expects of the intern. It is also important that candidates enquire about the probability of hiring interns as permanent staff.
Every company will have its own expectations from interns and despite having similar job titles, they will assign different responsibilities for candidates. It is essential that candidates enquire about the qualities they must develop while interning at the company so as to know what they are signing up for. They can also ask about the daily and general difficulties they are bound to face along with information regarding the departments they will be expected to work with.
It is important for candidates to appear assertive and confident during interviews. Enquiring about basics relating to the internship makes the candidate appear invested in the job and also about their future career options. This is why candidates must always resort to asking questions instead of assuming answers or going with the flow.
Networking and Informational Interviews
A critical element throughout MBA programs is networking. As MBA students, candidates will have access to all of their business school’s alumni. This is why it can be helpful to attend school in a location near where they would like to live after graduation. Many schools will give candidates access to their alumni networks as soon as they enroll in the course. Candidates must take advantage of this networking opportunity and start reaching out even before the classes begin.
An important part of networking is setting up informational interviews. An informational interview is the interview candidates can take with their alumni where they can ask important questions to them in order to gain insight regarding the career option they wish to pursue or about the industry they work in. During these informal interviews, candidates must try to learn about the interviewee’s position, the company, and how the interviewee chose that position and company. Learning about others’ journeys that got them to where they are today will help candidates learn more about how to approach their post-graduation job search.
Informational interviews could also help candidates develop mentors in a career they wish to pursue and create connections with external companies. Due to these reasons, it is important that candidates attend the informational interviews that they have access to. Candidates must be prepared for an informational interview in a manner similar to that of an internship interview or job interview and have the questions they need answers for to be compiled neatly so that they can be put forth without a doubt.