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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!