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!

Summer Internship Series: Cause Strategy Partners & SIIF

Connie Meltzer is a rising MBA2 and a Graduate Fellow at Cause Strategy Partners. Connie serves as the Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee for Student Government and VP of Allies for the Association of Hispanic and Black Business Students (AHBBS). She is specializing in Leadership and Change Management 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.

I found out about the Social Impact Internship Fund (SIIF) fellowship through the Office of Student Engagement pretty early into the fall semester and knew it would be a good fit for me. SIIF helps fund MBAs who want to work at a social good organization (impact investing firms, solar energy companies, nonprofit organizations, and more) for their summer internship and beyond. Since I am interested in nonprofit consulting in the future, I ended up participating in traditional management consulting preparation, recruitment, and interviews, but didn’t land a summer internship at the firms I interviewed with. And to be honest, I couldn’t be happier.

I spent most of my career prior to Stern working for education nonprofit organizations, but I wanted an opportunity to still work for social good but not at a nonprofit. In the Spring, I started scouring Career Account, Stern’s career portal, for anything in the social good sector. After sifting through amazing opportunities that weren’t a good fit for me, I found the Cause Strategy Partners Graduate Internship.

This summer, the SIIF Fellowship has allowed me to work at the intersection of nonprofit organizations and the corporate world. Cause Strategy Partners (CSP) is a benefit corporation (B-Corp) that through its signature program, BoardLead, matches Fortune 500 employees to nonprofit organizations to serve on their boards and trains them in how to be an impactful board member. CSP is a small company with fewer than 10 full time employees but they deliver a lot of high-quality work. Since their founding in 2015, they have placed over 400+ professionals on nonprofit boards in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. And they have big plans – they are ramping up their signature program to 20+ cities in the next two years.

My three main projects for the summer are administering a program evaluation for a round of BoardLead in collaboration with another graduate fellow from NYU Wagner, designing and implementing an employee engagement and culture assessment for CSP, and consulting with two nonprofit clients around their board practices. I have been particularly proud of and challenged by my work on the employee engagement and culture assessment project.

One reason is that org culture and employee engagement are things I really care about in a workplace. Another is that I used a lot of takeaways, and even specific curriculum material, from my Leadership in Organizations course with Dolly Chugh. After a lot of research, I have sent out two surveys to the team to begin CSP’s employee engagement feedback practice and gain insight into how community members (current employees, former employees, and board members) understand the company culture. I was working as an “external” consultant for the company on this project, which I found both exciting and challenging. At Stern and in my other projects at CSP this summer, I’ve been able to ask for feedback and collaborate with other team members. With this project, since everyone I am working with was going to take this survey, I didn’t feel like I was able to collaborate as much; to maintain data integrity, I wanted to ensure everyone was seeing the questions for the first time when they took the survey. As I look to my future career opportunities, I definitely want to work in a collaborative environment and on a team where feedback is encouraged – as it is at CSP with my other projects!

Cause Strategy Partners has a history of including summer interns right into the heart of the family this summer is no exception. We eat lunch together in the park regularly, we have participated in bake-offs, and we attended a panel on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Boardroom at the Ford Foundation (pictured) with most of the team at the time. I’ve learned so much in the first half of my internship at CSP and I’m looking forward to the next four weeks.

Summer Internship Series: PricewaterhouseCoopers

Eric Bauer is a rising MBA2 and a Summer Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Eric holds leadership roles on the European Business Society, the Luxury and Retail Club and the Stern Student Government. He is specializing in Business Analytics, Finance, and Management

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 wild to think that a year ago I was sitting in my room in Oklahoma wondering what it might be like to live and work in the Big Apple, yet here I am doing just that. The first year of business school was filled with good times, great people, and memories that I’ll never forget, and it exceeded my expectations in every way! While there was lots of fun to be had, it didn’t come without a bit of hard work and an arduous semester of recruiting.

When I first arrived in New York last fall, I have to admit that I wasn’t completely certain where I wanted to end up for the summer and what exactly it was that I wanted to do. I knew that the retail industry intrigued me, but I wasn’t sure through which means I wanted to explore it. I’d thought about rotational development programs and in-house strategy roles, but it wasn’t until I more seriously considered consulting that I knew it was the path for me. After making my way through the many coffee chats, cases, and interviews of the recruiting cycle, I was very fortunate to have received multiple offers. I ultimately accepted a role as a Summer Senior Associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), specifically in their Consumer Markets/Retail vertical, and was beyond excited about the opportunity.

Four weeks ago, I started that internship as part of an engagement team staffed on a project for a Fortune 100 company. Our assignment was to develop a retail strategy for the client from the ground up, which was something new to me and completely out of my comfort zone. I began the project thinking I’d be handheld by my team and slowly allowed to find my footing, but, instead, they expected me to hit the ground running – a surprise that’s made for an incredibly challenging yet exciting few weeks! While I’d been told by many people throughout my first year at Stern that a summer consulting role will give you the opportunity to make a real impact and gain great exposure, I was not expecting it to be as much of a reality as it has been. I’d honestly taken that information with a grain of salt and assumed that, as an intern, I would play more of a supporting role than anything. However, now, a mere four weeks into my internship, I can say that everything that I was told is true, and the level at which I am expected and allowed to perform at has made for such a fulfilling and developmental experience. In these first few weeks on my assignment, I’ve already worked on so many key aspects of the strategy and have been entrusted by my manager to have complete control over my work. On top of that, my findings, analyses, and recommendations have been presented directly to top leaders of the company, which has been incredibly rewarding.

Beyond the day-to-day functions of the role, I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by hard working and talented colleagues, and I even have the great fortune of sharing the experience at PwC with 10 other Sternies. Having so many of my classmates at the same firm for the summer has served as a great internal support system, and, in my opinion, is a testament to one of the many unique advantages of NYU’s program, since so many of us get the privilege of staying in New York for the summer. The first month of my internship has been more than I’d hoped for, and I’m eager to see what the next six weeks have in store for me.

As I reflect on the first month of my internship, and the first year of business school as a whole, I’m remembering all of the uncertainties I’d had back in Oklahoma when I was deciding about making the move – the cost of the program, the professional direction I wanted to head, the decision to leave the career I’d been building, and so on. In this moment, however, speaking from the other side, I can say with complete certainty that I would do it all again. Taking a huge leap like this was scary, but I trusted the process and, so far, I’ve been able to make a reality out of what I’d only ever played out in my head. I live in the greatest city in the world, attend an amazing school, I’m surrounded by the most incredible classmates, and, from a professional standpoint, I’ve been catapulted to another level. I can’t imagine attending business school anywhere else or with any other people, and I feel as though coming to Stern has been one of the best decisions of my life. I look forward to year 2 and beyond and can’t wait to see where else this experience takes me!

Summer Internship Series: Citi

Mahssa Mostajabi is a rising MBA2 and an intern on the US Consumer Digital team at Citi. Mahssa serves as the VP of Admissions for AHBBS, President of InSITE, and a host of Stern Chats. She is specializing in Business Analytics, Luxury Marketing, and Sustainable Business and Innovation.

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.

Upon starting at NYU last fall, I wasn’t entirely sure what path I’d take during recruiting or in which industry I’d end up. Prior to Stern, I worked in non-profits for a short time and then had a career in tech as a product manager for a few years. In my application, I wrote about wanting to marry those two fields – nonprofits and tech – by working in corporate social responsibility for a large tech company (think Google.org). And, upon getting to campus, I was somewhat swept up by the consulting rush like many of my classmates. I also had a totally unrelated interest in luxury retail. As such, there were endless possibilities. I could become a consultant, transition into social impact or the luxury space, stay in tech and product management, or some combination therein.

To manage these endless options, I took a path similar to many Sternies and tried a little bit of everything. I went through the casing bootcamp the Management Consulting Association puts on each fall. I attended knowledge management sessions hosted by the Luxury Retail club and the Stern Technology Association. I went on treks to Google and Flatiron Health. I became the AVP of Sourcing for InSITE Fellows, an organization that pairs graduate students across New York City with startup consulting projects. I joined 8 professional clubs on campus and I applied to 40+ summer internships. Needless to say, I was a little lost. But, unlike some of my peers who came to campus knowing the exact function or industry into which they wanted to transition, I came to campus knowing that I wanted to explore and try on a lot of different roles and industries to see which one I liked best.

Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to stay in tech and product management with a special focus on startups in the health, beauty, and wellness space. While I spent a lot of my year networking and making connections at these companies, I quickly realized that a summer internship would be difficult to land. Many of them don’t have traditional MBA internship programs and trying to get something ad hoc off the ground would require perfect timing and lots of luck. I still tried, but didn’t find a lot of success. In parallel, I applied to large tech and financial services companies, as I’d previously worked in FinTech. I had some more luck here and got some interviews. Through this process, I chose Citi’s Summer Management Associate program, in which MBAs are matched with a team within the company and, if they come back full-time, rotate onto two more teams before finding a VP role.

In my current internship at Citi, I work as a product manager within US Consumer Digital on our Digital Wallets team, which manages Citi’s tech and partnerships with ApplePay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Paypal. The role allowed me to stay in tech and in product management with a large, reputable company, while rounding out my knowledge of payments and growing my expertise in FinTech and financial services. While I’m still not sure where I’d like to focus long-term, this role was strategic for me in that New York’s startup environment has a large FinTech base and, with my experience at multiple small and large financial services companies, I know I’ll be able to position myself well no matter what I choose or where I go within tech, Citi or otherwise.

My path may have been a somewhat undirected and perhaps unideal, but I really enjoyed it and would do it again! We all have different goals for our MBAs. I wanted to be confident that I’d found the career I wanted to be in long-term – product management in tech – and I now have that confidence wholeheartedly. I just had to try on a few other functions and industries before knowing for sure.

Summer Internship Series: American Express

Anna Ward is a rising MBA2 and is a Digital Product Intern at American Express. Anna serves as the Co-President of Stern Women in business and her professional interests include entrepreneurship, technology management, and fintech.

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 two weeks into my internship at American Express, and it’s been quite a whirlwind so far! I’m a digital product intern on the Global Commercial Services team, and my project is focused on new applications of AI and machine learning.

Before business school I worked for a tiny company, so the large, corporate environment of American Express could not be more different from my previous experience. I was nervous about adjusting to the culture of such a large company, but so far, it’s been an absolute blast.

The first week on the job, my biggest challenge was figuring out all the acronyms that the team was using. Luckily, Amex has an internal “acropedia”, so after every meeting I look up any new acronyms I’ve heard (I’m averaging approximately 5 per meeting!)

The company prides itself a “relationship culture” and the best part of the internship so far is the people here. I had heard that Amex’s culture is very similar to that of Stern, and that’s proven to be very true. It helps that they have a large number of Stern alumni who work here, all of whom are going out of their way to welcome us and offer their help throughout the summer.

The friendly and supportive nature of the company is also realized in their “coffee chat culture.” One of my first assignments was to schedule time to grab a coffee or walk and talk with dozens of people, to learn more about their experience and work. These coffee chats are an integral part of everyone’s work at American Express, not just the interns. It’s how people stay up to date on other team’s projects, and how they explore the possible next steps in their careers at the company.

I’ve been surprised at how applicable the learnings from my first year at Stern have been so far. On my second day in the office I had a meeting with a VP and felt totally prepared to hold a conversation and ask them questions, thanks to my experience working directly with the leadership team of a startup last semester in my Tech in the City course. The research and presentation skills I developed during case competitions have primed me for my project, and my classroom participation readied me to speak up in team meetings.

I’m really looking forward to diving into the world of AI and machine learning over the next 8 weeks, and sharing all that I’ve learned with my team here at Amex and my Stern classmates in the fall!