NYU Stern’s “Summer Internship Series” sheds light into Sternies’ internship experiences. Posts are written by rising MBA2s who are currently working at their summer internship.
The past year has brought about many firsts for me – starting business school and now beginning a 10-week summer internship with American Express. As a prospective student, I was always curious to learn about the summer between year one and year two. How do students secure internships? How do they know what they are interested in? What skills are required of MBA interns? I hope this post helps you to start thinking through some of these questions.
Prior to business school, I worked in strategy and operations consulting at Deloitte and later at an enterprise technology startup, where I led their Customer Success department. I knew that I wanted an MBA to round out my foundational business skills and pivot into corporate strategy or internal consulting. I was open to pursuing these roles in a variety of industries because the most important thing to me was the function. Accordingly, I cast a wide net in my initial search.
I found that the best way to explore different companies and careers was to meet with people, so I took a two-pronged approach. First, I made a list of people in my personal network who were currently employed by companies I was interested in. Second, I made sure to attend each on-campus event held by that company, whether it was a corporate presentation, coffee chat, or other event. By interacting with employees and asking thoughtful questions, I was able to learn a lot about each company’s priorities, initiatives, and plans for the future. Of course, I complemented all these meetings (“coffee chats,” as we call them in MBA lingo) with extensive solo research as well.
Preparing for MBA interviews was an intense and time-consuming—but ultimately rewarding—process. Stern’s winter break spans six weeks (from mid-December through the end of January), so I was lucky to have a big stretch of uninterrupted time to prepare for interviews without worrying about schoolwork. The biggest difference for me between interviewing for an MBA internship versus my previous jobs was the level of technical and company-specific knowledge you were expected to have in order to stand out. For example, how does the company make money? How is the industry currently being disrupted and how is the company responding to that? What key developments came out of the company’s latest earnings release?
After interviewing with a number of companies for strategy roles, I was thrilled to receive an offer from American Express to join their internal consulting team for a summer internship. As I write this, I’ve only been there a little over a week, but I am excited to apply the technical and theoretical skills I have learned in the classroom to problems in the real world. While it’s too soon to tell what challenges I will tackle this summer, I am confident that my first year at Stern has prepared me to have a fun and successful summer.