MBAs focus on maximizing effectiveness at summer internships
May 11, 2009
Bloomington, Ind. -- The nation's economic woes have made finding jobs and internships difficult for MBA students. But the path from internship to full-time offer is still one of the most promising channels for MBA students to find employment. On Friday, April 24, 2009, 85 Kelley School of Business MBA students gathered for a workshop on how to impress during their internship, in an economic climate that nearly guarantees that directors and managers have little extra attention to devote to MBA students. The event was organized by the Kelley School Graduate Career Services Office in partnership with the Professional Development Council, a part of the Masters of Business Administration Association, Kelley's largest MBA student organization.
Jodi Glickman Brown, president of communications firm Great on the Job, presented on actionable strategies for navigating the workplace. The former investment banker started "Great on the Job" after noticing that many junior-level professionals lacked the ability to have effective one-on-one conversations in the workplace. She trains clients to introduce themselves to new colleagues and clients, speak up in meetings, answer questions they don't know the answers to, insert themselves into team processes, and ask for feedback effectively, among other things.
Erin Dillard of GE
Erin Dillard, Director of Commercial Development Programs at GE, addressed students on how to succeed in their internships. Dillard, an alumna of the Kelley School of Business, advised students to be proactive in their internships. "Have a rough agenda when you meet with your manager for the first time. What is your plan? What will you talk about?"
She also pointed out that even if students' internship company is not able to extend full-time offers due to the economic environment, a strong letter of recommendation can be invaluable.
GE maintains a strong relationship with the Kelley School of Business. Over the past two years, 12 Kelley MBA students and 14 Kelley undergraduates have taken full-time positions with GE, working in domestic and international divisions.
Furthermore, Kelley is considered a GE executive school as well as target school for its Experienced Commercial Leadership Program (ECLP). The ECLP is a two-year global program that offers opportunities for participants to drive growth in a business, receive world-class commercial and leadership training, interact with and influence senior decision-makers and be part of a close-knit global network. Since 2006, 10 Kelley MBA graduates have been accepted into the highly competitive ECLP.
Students also received advice from two panels -- a group of 3 MBA alumni and a group of 3 second-year MBA students.
David Landers, a 2008 Kelley MBA an Assistant Brand Manager with Procter & Gamble, advised students to be sure they deliver on assigned projects if they intended to volunteer for additional assignments. He also noted, "Kelley adds a lot of value and you will walk in the door with a lot of skills, including skills that other interns from top business schools lack."
Chad Brizendine, also a 2008 Kelley MBA and Assistant Brand Manager with Procter & Gamble, reminded students of the importance of networking. "Internships aren't just about doing great work. That's a given. Get to know people at your firm on a personal level, because full-time jobs are offered to those interns full-timers get excited to work with every day."
Matt Stryker, who is a global solutions manager with IBM, also advised students to never stop networking. The 2001 Kelley MBA pointed out that in a tough economic climate, just because you have an offer now, doesn't mean you can stop networking. "That offer could go away - keep networking."
Second-year MBA students, drawing on their internship experience from the previous summer advised the audience to find a mentor in their very first week in their internship.
Reflecting the work-ethic that defines Kelley students, Ramit Kapoor suggested that students "go into your internship knowing that no task is too small. Sometimes, even working on the smallest task can get you noticed by executive management during your internship experience." Kapoor interned at Hasbro's corporate headquarters in Rhode Island in summer 2008.
"Know your story and tell it to the people you meet . . . that makes you memorable and shows others that you have direction. Your internship and why you are there should be part of your story," noted Brian Eschbacher, who interned at Deloitte in the summer of 2008.
Eschbacher observed that the internship is a 10-week job interview and "your only job is to get the full-time offer."
Over 200 Kelley MBA students will depart for summer internships throughout the United States and abroad from June to August of this year.