Summer Internship Series: EY

Gage Kaefring is a rising MBA2 and is spending the summer with the Project Portfolio Management consulting team at EY (formerly Ernst & Young). At Stern, Gage serves as the co-president of OutClass, the LGBTQ student group on campus, and as the VP of Marketing for Stern Chats, the Stern podcast. He is specializing in Leadership, Strategy, and Analytics.

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 first thing I think about when I reflect back on my summer internship experience was just how quickly the time passed.  My internship as a consultant in the New York office at EY was initially full of the ups and downs one would expect from starting any new job. The conclusion however, would be a dramatic demonstration of the trials consultants are often forced to confront.

As part of their summer internship, EY includes an industry research component in which teams present to senior partners on the best strategy for EY to maintain and grow a specific client relationship. My team selected a media company from the Technology, Media, and Telecomm (TMT) space and got to work — researching the industry and building a solid presentation — on top of our required client work. The presentation would be given to a group of partners at an all-day event in Chicago at the conclusion of the internship.

When the time to present arrived, I was set to travel from my client in New Jersey to Chicago the day before, and would meet the rest of my team in-person for the first time to run through our presentation. The weather had other plans. Severe thunderstorms struck the New York area in the early afternoon and, at the urging of my team, I proactively switched my flight to depart at 6 AM the next morning, the same flight booked by one of my other team members. The two of us would still arrive with plenty of time to rehearse with the rest of the team that afternoon. It turned out to be the right move as the thunderstorms only grew worse and my original flight ended up being cancelled hours after I made the switch.

I awoke at 4 AM the next morning feeling confident in my maneuvering to secure a perfectly timed flight despite the inclement weather. This confidence was dashed around 4:50 AM when I received an email from the teammate traveling with me and another from the airline shortly after, informing me that this flight too had been cancelled with no specified reason. I arrived at the airport shortly after my coworker finished speaking with a gate agent. Apparently all flights out of the New York area airports had been cancelled until Sunday.

We were at a loss trying to determine how we were going to make the presentation. Thinking fast, I realized the only way was to book a flight from Philadelphia. There happened to be one that would put us in Chicago without any time to spare so, lacking options, we booked it. After a three hour Lyft ride and a hurried airport breakfast, we boarded and landed in Chicago a mere hour before we were scheduled to present. We hurried through O’Hare and secured another Lyft. Our team was frantically texting us both and preparing for the possibility that we wouldn’t make it in time.

We very nearly didn’t. It was a race against time from the airport to the event space EY had rented for the day. We arrived with seconds to spare and were ushered with our team on-stage. The only review we had done was on the airplane and in the Lyft. But standing on stage, in front of four, stern-faced partners, it all seemed to click. Our presentation flowed and each team member fielded the judges’ questions with poise.

At the end of our presentation we sat down, sharing congratulations at successfully getting through a presentation we were thrown into without any preparation. Much to the surprise of each and every member of our team, our presentation was recognized as one of the best-in-class. The whole experience served as a perfect parable for the entire consulting experience: a group of dedicated people battling fate and the elements to deliver for their clients.

Summer Internship Series: Mars

Emily Barry is a rising MBA2 and just completed her summer internship on the brand management team at Mars. Emily is Co-President of Stern’s Graduate Marketing Association, VP of Communications for Stern Student Government, and VP of International Treks for the Arts, Culture, and Cuisine Club. She is specializing in marketing and strategy. 

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.

It’s hard to believe how quickly the summer has flown by; I just wrapped up a great internship on the brand management team at Mars. Being a total career switcher (my previous role was in residential real estate sales here in NYC), I admit that I was somewhat apprehensive about my foray into marketing, but I’m happy to report that my time at Mars was an incredible learning experience from start to finish. 

I was very excited about the possibility of working at Mars ever since they first came to campus last fall; they have such an incredible portfolio of brands, and the tight-knit community really appealed to me. I had a great time getting to know several Mars associates throughout the recruitment process, and I was so excited to be invited to join the team for the summer. My internship began in early June with an email welcoming me to the Twix team; I remember being thrilled by the prospect of working on one of my favorite bars, and couldn’t wait to see what projects I’d be tackling over the next few months. We had a quick orientation, and then we were off!

My first project involved working with Mars’s advertising agency to redesign the Twix.com website; the site was a bit outdated and confusing, so the goal was the streamline the platform to ensure an easy and consistent user experience. I researched what best-in-class CPG websites look and function like, and briefed the agency on how Twix’s site should be revised. Over the next few weeks, the agency and I went back and forth on design drafts, eventually aligning with the broader Twix team on a site that should be up and running in the next few weeks.

My second project was a competitive analysis of Butterfinger’s recent reformulation and relaunch of their original bar. The filled bar team at Mars wanted to know why Butterfinger decided to relaunch the bar, what steps they took to execute the launch, and what the results were. To answer those questions, I analyzed Nielsen data on Butterfinger’s performance pre- and post-relaunch, and synthesized those learnings into a presentation for the filled bar team. 

My capstone strategic project, which took up the majority of the summer, was developing a growth strategy for Twix & Snickers future consumption products (the large bags of fun-size candy that you buy in-aisle, as opposed to the standard bars at the front of the store). I met with Mars associates, analyzed Nielsen data, and worked with various cross-functional partners (packaging, consumer insights, R&D, social media, etc.), to come up with a few key recommendations for growing FC sales, and presented my findings to the Mars marketing leadership team at the end of the summer. 

What stood out to me throughout the entire process was how engaged everyone was with the work I was doing; it was very clear to me that I was looking at real, substantive business issues as opposed to just doing busy work. The community of associates was so helpful, and incredibly generous with their time and insights. I am so thankful to have had such a great internship experience, and am excited to see how everything I’ve learned ties into my second year of school. To any MBA1s reading this who may have questions about Mars, brand management, or anything at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out — I look forward to meeting many of you in just a few weeks!

 

Summer Internship Series: PepsiCo

 Tiffaine Stephens is a rising MBA2 and a summer intern at PepsiCo. Tiffaine serves as the Co-President of Stern Women in Business (SWiB). She is specializing in Marketing, Entertainment/Media/Technology, and Entrepreneurship.

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.

I’m writing this as I anxiously wait for the call that lets me know if I’m going to receive a full-time offer from PepsiCo. It’s funny how 10 weeks can feel like 10 days, but the week where I find out my post-MBA fate seems to be dragging by. I wrapped up my internship about a week ago, and I now understand the advice of every MBA2 last year: “Everything will be ok.”

At the beginning of the summer, I didn’t know what to expect from PepsiCo. Would I be forced to drink soda all day? Would I run into Cardi B as she exclaimed her joy about Pepsi being more than ok? What brand team would I be on? And most importantly, would I love it?

To be candid, you feel a lot of pressure during recruiting. You want to forego the anxiety of re-recruiting in your second year, and you want a job that you love more than the one you left right before taking on business school (because ROI is real). That pressure stayed with me throughout the first half of my internship, during which I was constantly asking, “Can I see myself working here?”

By the fifth week, I had a better handle on my team’s expectations and the story I wanted to tell in my final presentation. As far as community goes, the PepsiCo team worked hard to emphasize the importance of our intern class — consisting of both undergrad and MBA students –being close. We had a number of events, check-ins, and a special project we had to work on as a unit. We were able to share ideas with each other, help each other practice, vent, and finally celebrate once we all made it past the finish line. This community experience was in alignment with my time at Stern thus far.  From day one, you’ll be placed in team structures that help you grow personally and professionally. You’ll learn how to be open to new possibilities and perspectives, which will allow you to flex as a team player. 

In addition to new friends, I gained a new perspective on what it means to be a marketer. I started my recruitment process with the expectation that I would have a traditional Brand Manager role, but I landed on the Media team instead. My project for the summer was to develop a media strategy to reach and engage multicultural consumers. I was excited to tackle something meaningful to the organization and to my personal life, but I was also anxious about the breadth of the ask.

I had to tap into my creativity, past experiences, and even into the essence of our LAUNCH Challenge: behavioral observations. There were elements within Stern that helped prepare me for my project, including the following:

  1. Knowledge Management sessions hosted by professional clubs to help MBA1s prep for the recruitment season. The GMA + STA KM sessions were extremely beneficial when thinking about how to structure a strategic framework for an ambiguous ask. 
  2. Experiential Courses like Tech in the City, a class that places you in a group to tackle a consulting project for a tech start up in NYC. Through this project, I got better at testing hypotheses and developing a story that can be substantiated by quantitative and qualitative data. Which brings me to my favorite topic, data.
  3. Coming to business school, I knew that I wanted to improve my quant skills. Data Driven Decision Making was highly recommended, and though 6-9 pm was rough, it allowed me to grow comfortable with copious amounts of data to tell a story and uncover business opportunities.

My advice would be this: keep an open mind to what your internship will teach you, be intentional about your curriculum and extracurriculars (at Stern or outside of Stern) so that you can devise a plan when the project gets tough, and have fun! 10-12 weeks can go by so quickly, and you will be working hard. Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins when you can. Take advantage of the city that you’re living in, and find Sternies. We’re everywhere and always ready to help!

Summer Internship Series: McKinsey & Company

Nnamdi Obukwelu is a rising MBA2 and a Summer Associate with McKinsey & Company. Nnamdi serves as the Co-President of Stern in Africa (SiA) and VP of Admissions for AHBBS. He is specializing in Strategy and Finance, and when he’s not eating pizza in the Leadership Lounge, you can find him at 404 Fitness eagerly waiting to use one of the squat racks.

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.

I write this post in the late hours of the night as I sit in our “team room” (Team Room: the room used by management consultants as a central hub for working, problem solving, etc.), my freshly brewed cup of coffee in hand and Uber Eats order en route. I’m quite reflective on nights like this, especially as I’m approaching the tail-end of my internship. As a result, opportunities to write about my journey are quite welcomed.

Let’s go back to the summer of 2017. At the time, I was an equity research analyst at a sell-side shop in Connecticut, where I covered the restaurants and consumer staples sectors. Overall, I was enjoying my career, but I felt that something was missing. As an equity research analyst, you’re always in the weeds trying to understand the key drivers of industries and how those factors will affect the companies within it. Once you understand that, you take a position (Long or Short) on a stock and build pitch books explaining your position. However, I felt a dearth of finality. Once you’ve pitched your idea, either you were right, or the stock moved against you. After that, you move on, in search for your next “big idea.” But I wanted more … I wanted to be able to have meaningful impact. Instead of working as a lone wolf, I wanted to be a thought partner, working with management teams to create value and forge a new, more profitable way forward. After much contemplation, I concluded that consulting would be a great way to achieve this, and business school a worthy mechanism through which to vet the possible consulting paths that lie ahead. 

When I started at NYU Stern last Fall as a career-switcher, I knew that I had to be focused in my efforts. Luckily, I entered school as a Consortium Fellow, and was fortunate enough to begin cultivating relationships with consultancies early on. When the time came, I went through the recruiting cycle and landed an internship offer with my top choice, McKinsey & Company. My experience this summer has totally exceeded my expectations, as I’ve had the opportunity to work with a Fortune 100 company as part of McKinsey’s RTS (Reset. Transform. Sustain.) practice. RTS is a special unit of McKinsey that delivers a proven approach for transformational change to clients seeking radical, rapid, and sustainable performance improvement. Over the course of the summer I led two work-streams, and in addition to having the opportunity to build standard consulting skills, I most enjoyed having the opportunity to put my “coach” hat on and work hand-in-hand with clients as we moved the company to a new steady state. Transformations can be an intricate endeavor, especially for large enterprises. I learned early on that though hard-skills are very important, the oft overlooked soft-skills are just as, if not more, important, especially for consultants at the post-MBA level who are tasked with managing client expectations while still delivering significant value. Despite the rigor and demands of this summer, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed my time here. Watching senior executives pitch decks that I spent countless hours working on and somehow building significant relationships with clients that I first met 2.5 months ago is exceptionally rewarding. The palpable nature of the work that I did made it all worth it.

For the MBA1s reading this, as you attack your first year of school, do so with an open mind and take advantage of all the opportunities presented. Leverage the MBA2s who worked in an industry you are looking to break into. The best part about NYU Stern experience is the people, so do your best to tap into that and make the most of this unique time in your life.

Summer Internship Series: BNY Mellon

Jeff Battipaglia is a rising MBA2 and summer intern working on the Strategy team at BNY Mellon. Jeff is a Co-President of Stern’s Military Veterans Club and VP of Community Services within Student Government. He is specializing in finance and strategy.

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.

It is with great enthusiasm and humility that I throw in my proverbial “two cents” to the NYU Stern Summer Internship Series! As I share this post, it is hard for me to believe that my summer internship at BNY Mellon is already over halfway done. I find myself very fortunate to be a member of the inaugural Strategy MBA Summer Management Associate Program at the bank. In five short weeks, I have learned a great deal from my summer peers (hailing from HBS, Wharton, Booth and CBS) and the many extremely talented BNY Mellon professionals who call 240 Greenwich home away from home. Their mentorship and friendship have been immeasurable to me as I constantly strive to develop professionally and personally while being a valued contributor within my project team. I look forward to honing my skills and diving deeper into my summer assignment during the second half of the internship. 

When I reflect on the collegial and high-energy work environment I’ve experienced at BNY Mellon, I can’t help but draw many connections to the academic setting at Stern. Having spent the previous seven years in the Marine Corps, I was initially hesitant about being a career switcher and finding my place in a business school setting, let alone a summer job at America’s oldest bank. That said, Stern prides itself on academic rigor combined with emotional intelligence. Individuals from diverse backgrounds come together at Washington Square Park, build relationships, learn from world-class instructors (and each other) and graduate as humble professionals eager to continue their professional endeavors. Embracing this mindset has helped me tremendously over the past year, both in the classroom and throughout the recruiting process. 

Enough of the mushy stuff, though. Let’s talk about how fun of an experience business school has been! This past spring, I had the opportunity to go on a school sponsored spring break trip to Patagonia. We hiked on the Perito Moreno Glacier, toured around Fitz Roy (of the Patagonia clothing brand fame) and visited Penguin nesting grounds near the small mountain town of Ushuaia. Next year, I will be spending two weeks in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of Stern’s “Doing Business in” immersive, two-week academic program. A few days after I return, I’ll be on a flight out to Steamboat Springs, CO, to join my classmates on our annual Stern Adventure Club ski trip. Needless to say, my activities calendar in 2019-2020 will be very busy. These life experiences, coupled with the incredible education and new friendships you will make, are hallmarks of an NYU Stern business school experience. 

I feel extremely fortunate to have this unique MBA opportunity, and plan to take full advantage of it. Stern has rewarded me in many ways, and I am compelled to reciprocate however possible. Starting in the fall, I will be working in the admissions office as an MBA ambassador, talking with perspective candidates and giving tours of campus. With that in mind, I will hopefully meet many of you in the coming months! Cheers!

Summer Internship Series: Anheuser-Busch

Sami Abdisubhan is a rising MBA2 and a Global MBA Summer Intern at Anheuser-Busch. Sami serves as VP of Marketing & Operations for Stern in Africa (SiA), VP of Training for Stern FC, and Co-President of the Association of Hispanic and Black Business Students (AHBBS). He is specializing in Marketing and Business Analytics.

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.

When starting my MBA journey years before putting down my NYU Stern deposit, I had made the decision to move away from my B2B sales and marketing career into what initially drew me into marketing, CPG marketing. Everyone I interacted with, admissions officers, peers, strangers on airplanes, knew brand management was my goal. So when I got the call sharing the news I had received an offer to intern at Anheuser-Busch in marketing, I was ecstatic. It was exactly what I had written my admissions essays about! A sense of incredible pride and relief passed through me: I accomplished what I set out to do.

Fast forwarding to the job, I’m now nearing the end of my internship at AB. My summer project has been to revamp how my brand, Estrella Jalisco, a Mexican import in the Premium beer category, utilizes programmatic advertising, both tactically in this summer’s marketing campaigns and strategically moving forward. I feel very fortunate to have enjoyed my work experience this summer from all perspectives, the work, the people, etc. However, there were isolated moments where the stresses of an MBA summer felt overwhelming.

A common saying or piece of commentary in the business school environment is that MBAs must feel a level of comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty and it makes sense. MBA graduates are their respective organizations’ next leaders and that level of strategic decision-making or navigation usually isn’t done with clear-cut choices. In some cases, mine included, the summer internship is a quick preview into that world. There were instances where I wasn’t sure how to proceed, whether it was because I didn’t have the necessary data or direction. And this wasn’t isolated to just my project work but the relationship management aspects of the internship as well.

How I’ve been able to overcome these challenges relates to my preparation before the internship. It’s very easy, ridiculously easy actually, to sign an internship offer and not want to think about the job until the last final exam or paper submission, especially with the social and adventurous life that is MBA life. As the Office of Career Development and the various professional clubs, like the Graduate Marketing Association, will highlight though, to succeed is to start thinking about the internship early. Both groups of organizations have multiple, well-planned sessions to ensure students plan for success in the internship and take the needed steps to set themselves up. Some of the clubs call those sessions Knowledge Management sessions and it’s highly recommended to attend. I made sure to go to as many of these as I could to put myself in the best position possible.

Additionally, the coffee chats don’t stop once that offer is secured. It makes sense to take a break but as the start date gets closer, it’s important to interact with those connections made during recruiting to now understand how to make the most out of the summer, professionally and personally. If the office is in New York, an in-person chat is especially great! Not only do the chats help with preparation but they also showcase excitement to the full-timers. As I’m in NYC, I was able to meet with those who were supportive in my recruiting process and I believe it was instrumental as I was able to get the guidance necessary while also creating mentors and internal advocates at AB who just wanted to see me win.

So while a lot of first year, especially fall semester, emphasizes “getting the offer”, it’s important to remember that even if it’s the dream company, internship work doesn’t end when one signs on the dotted line. It’s 100% an accomplishment that should be celebrated at length but the job isn’t done. Whether it’s to get an offer to return full-time or to show impact and success to another employer while recruiting as an MBA2, there’s more to accomplish. And speaking on behalf of my MBA2 classmates and myself, we are here to help!