Najma Yakob is a rising MBA2 and is an Operations Product Development Intern at Apple. Najma serves as the Co-President of Stern Women in Business and as an Orientation Leader and Career Mentor. She is specializing in Business Analytics, Strategy, and Sustainable Business and Innovation.
NYU Stern’s “Summer Internship Series” sheds lights into Sternies’ internships. Posts are written by rising MBA2s who are currently working at their summer internship.
I’m halfway into my virtual summer internship with Apple and I can confidently say that I did not expect to be here a year ago. I’m on the Operations Product Development team and my focus for the summer is on scaling Apple’s current efforts to transition its manufacturing supply chain to 100% renewable energy.
Prior to Stern, I worked at a small tech company focused on renewable energy, and then in consulting helping electric utilities buy and sell renewable energy. I knew early on that I wanted to go back to the tech industry because I loved the culture and I enjoyed working on dynamic teams with flat reporting structures. As a result, I was lucky to secure a role that capitalized on my prior experience as most tech companies prefer to recruit individuals who can quickly contribute to their role.
The most surprising thing about my internship so far, the virtual part notwithstanding, is how much I do feel like I’m part of the team. I’d never worked with MBA interns before so I wasn’t sure whether I would own a few transactional tasks but for the most part be relegated to the background. To my pleasant surprise, I’ve been given direct ownership of some high visibility initiatives the team is working on and although this has raised the stakes for me, it’s also been gratifying to feel like I’m working on something that actually matters. I’ve been lucky to be placed in a small and somewhat specialized team which has allowed them to give me support and attention that would not be possible in a larger team. All in all, I’m really enjoying my experience and am looking forward to what the next few weeks will bring.
Regarding the virtual experience, it’s definitely easy to get caught up in what could have been and the unrealized dreams I had of a summer in the Bay Area getting to know my fellow interns and experiencing the west coast. Doing the internship from the comfort of my Brooklyn apartment has been both easier and harder than I initially anticipated. On the one hand, I’ve been more readily able to channel the confidence and experience I’ve gained in just my first year in the MBA. Certain tasks that I would have been unsure about prior to Stern feel easier and more achievable. On the other hand, it’s been more work than I would have expected to put myself out there in order to make connections and get things done. Where I would have more easily met people in passing in the hallways or during social events, it’s been a valuable learning experience to proactively invest time and effort into remotely meeting new people.
For those unsure about what next summer or even what the next year will look like, I can confidently say that I’ve developed a deeper ability to be patient and take each day as it comes this year. As a planner, it’s been frustrating and sometimes heartbreaking to let go of the big ideas I had for my time in business school. However, I’ve also learned to be grateful for the fantastic experiences I’ve had and the great connections I’ve been able to make with my classmates and my co-workers. I highly recommend keeping an open mind and being as flexible as possible. I often reflect on the fact that a career is a journey and each moment, whether positive or negative, is building towards a bigger picture that we can’t yet see. Believe in yourself and hold on to the idea that everything will work out as it should!