One Month In – Reflecting On My Summer Internship Experience

It has almost been a month since the semester begun and I am definitely overdue for a post.  This semester has been quite busy. Once again, I somehow ended up doing much more than I intended  – I am working as a Graduate Fellow for the Office of Career Development (OCD), planning the spring break trip for Stern in Africa, and taking an education practicum at Columbia Law that’s worth 12 credits – I feel like all of these deserve their own posts (more to come)!! Of course I love being busy and being active but as I sit in front of this computer, 10pm on a Sunday night, after a weekend trying to catch up so that I can start the week fresh – I know that I definitely need to learn the definition of work/life balance.

Today though, I want to talk about my summer internship! image1I spent my summer in San Francisco working for a tech company.  I was on the sales team, and had an account management role. Funny enough, it took me a couple of visits to our client’s office in San Jose for me to realize that I was in the famous Silicon Valley! You should have seen the smile on my face!!

11162191_10153934936592785_2710319689963526991_n I spent a lot of time recruiting last year, as I was trying to figure out what I would enjoy doing the most. I am a very curious person, and can see myself doing very different things.  Before accepting this offer though, I was hesitating between this and a startup. The startup was in New York, and I would have had an operations role.  This was a great opportunity to do work where I would have immediately seen the impact that I was having. However, I chose to accept the San Francisco offer for two reasons:

  1. The exposure: I was part of a program that was recruiting for African countries – which is where I want to end up eventually. This was a great opportunity for me to be able to learn more about what the company was doing, and to network with people on the ground.
  2. The role: I had never done sales as a role on its own, and wanted to see how it would feel, since that is what most multinational firms recruit for in Africa.  I had a great team, and enjoyed my projects.  Even though I would be successful in sales, I now know that I really do enjoy operations, and that I prefer working with clients on their strategy, operational improvements, implementations models, and such…

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Finally, I had never been to California. Since I am not planning on spending my life in the US (so far), I took the opportunity and played tourist. My sister visited me from Toronto, and we went to Napa. I also visited the Big Sur, Monterey, and went to LA. I loved that I had the time to go to the gym, cook, and explore the city with friends. Overall I loved my summer experience: I learned a lot, had impact on my team, and discovered a new region. I left feeling refreshed and I cannot wait to see what this year has in store 🙂

Hello, My Name is …

Hey everyone! Evelyn here, reporting from East Village, NYC! The weather is a brisk 30*F, with wind chills of — oh, sorry, not that kind of report!

This is my first post for the Stern Blog and I am so excited to “meet” everyone! I hope that my point of view may help some of you as you progress in your MBA journey.

Since this is my first post, I wanted to introduce myself properly, share my background, and explain why I came to Stern.

I grew up right outside of Boston, MA. After high school, I decided to attend West Point, which is a 4-year service academy where graduates go straight into the military as Army officers. I spent 5 years in the Army as a communications technology officer. In layman’s terms, my soldiers and I were responsible for making sure everyone we worked with had stable internet and phone connections whether training in the backwoods of North Carolina (Airborne!) or at war in Afghanistan.

When I wasn’t dealing with servers, routers, and parachutes, I was always keeping up with pop culture. Movies, TV shows, celebrity he said/she said headlines, and more. As my military contract was coming to an end, I did some major self-reflection on what I’m truly passionate about in life, what I spend my free time pursuing, and trying to see if there was a business function tied to that industry. Here was the following criteria that I gave myself when selecting an MBA program:

 – Does this MBA program have a strong entertainment-friendly curriculum? (Check! Stern has one of the top Entertainment MBA programs in the country)

  – After 5 years between Texas, Afghanistan, and North Carolina, is this MBA program closer to my family? (Check! NYC – Boston is just a 4 hour bus ride)

 – Is the location somewhere I can see myself having a healthy lively social life? (Check! New York City … Need I explain further?)

 – Do I like the Stern culture? (Check! I visited the campus a few months before my application deadline and fell in love with the friendly study body)

This is not and should not be a universal check list for every MBA applicant. I encourage all of you to make your own personal checklist of priorities and how each and every MBA program measures up against it.

I do not believe in blindly applying to MBA programs just because they top the US News & World Report rankings that year. There is no shoo-in pre-MBA career field, no magic GPA or GMAT score, and no perfect answer to what you want to do after your MBA. Once you figure out what inspires you, then and only then, should you research what schools are a good fit for those goals (and hopefully Stern ends up on that list!)

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Stern gives us the entire week off for Thanksgiving (+10 points for NYU) so I will be home in Boston enjoying my mom’s Chinese food. Have a great break!