Catherine Charles is a rising MBA2 interning at Colgate-Palmolive. Catherine is specializing in Marketing, Business Analytics, and Product Management. She is VP of Corporate Relations for the Graduate Marketing Association, VP of Alumni Relations for the Association of Hispanic & Black Business Students, and VP of Alumni Relations for SGOV.
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.
With classes starting in less than 3 weeks, recruiting is likely top of mind for most first-year MBAs. Part of the MBA experience is not only adjusting to life as a student, but also as a job seeker who is looking to pivot to a new industry, function, and/or geography. Below are three tips (other than updating your resume) to help you prepare for the recruiting season before you arrive on campus.
1. Make a list of the skills you would like to build during your career.
When you start school, you will be exposed to career paths that you didn’t know existed, and there will be a multitude of resources to learn even more about opportunities that interest you. Before your schedule is packed with attending corporate presentations and events, start reflecting on the capabilities you would like to develop over the course of your career and your areas of strength. Do you thrive in cross-functional roles or do you make the greatest impact as an individual contributor? Would you like to eventually manage several large teams within a firm or be responsible for external relationships? Knowing the answers to these types of questions can help you choose which function(s) offer the training ground for the skills you would like to hone.
2. Read, Read, and check out Youtube!
Whether you already know your ideal internship or you are still figuring it out, read as much as you can. Find professional publications associated with the industries/functions that interest you and make it a habit to read those publications regularly. Google Alerts are also a great way to stay abreast of any trends that could be the subject of technical questions during an interview. In addition, many industries/functions have “must-read” books that can not only prepare you for interviews but give you the appropriate vocabulary to answer questions.
To supplement all of your reading efforts, search for Youtube videos that showcase interviews of the top professionals in your chosen field and spend some time on the career page of companies you are interested in. The interviews typically include the best practices of thought leaders and the Youtube career pages of companies help illustrate the types of candidates a firm is looking to hire.
3. Leverage your Network & Schedule Informational Interviews
There is no need to wait until you are on campus to start informational interviews. Leverage your network to reach out to individuals who are building the capabilities/skills you are interesting in developing. These initial informational interviews (also known as “Coffee Chats” in business school) before the semester starts will help you develop much more nuanced and insightful questions for the Coffee Chats you will have once you arrive on campus.
The three tips outlined above are suggestions to help you ease into an exciting, albeit busy, aspect of the MBA experience. They will also help you stay focused when the prestige or “cool” factor of certain firms or roles begin to dominate your recruiting strategy. I wish you the best of luck.