MBA Insider: Student Tips for Landing a Top Internship
Jon Gulbransen, MBA '18
Rosemary Brennan, MBA '18
Paige Sabo, MBA '18
Since many full-time MBA students are changing careers or reconsidering their current career arc, gaining experience in a new field can be invaluable for making the transition. With Neeley’s emphasis on experiential learning, MBA students receive ample opportunities to add substantive experience to their resumes, one of the most critical being the summer internship.
TCU MBAs land highly competitive internships across the country with companies such as Amazon, AT&T and JP Morgan Chase. These internships allow students to utilize new strategic tools and knowledge gained in the classroom, as well as employ their networking skills to make lasting impressions that can parlay into full-time job offers.
The expert staff in Neeley’s Graduate Career Center (GCC) — consistently ranked in the top 25 in the world by The Economist — helps students compete for these top internships. Before they even arrive on campus, first-year students work with GCC staff members on career planning and development. This partnership continues throughout the students’ time at TCU.
Ultimately, however, landing that dream internship is up to you. Here’s advice from current TCU MBAs about making it happen.
Utilize the resources available to you on campus. Jon Gulbransen will be interning at Intel, a Fortune 500 company, this summer. How did he even find out about this opportunity? He visited the GCC, where the staff strategized with him about connecting with top employers at national career fairs. But before Jon ever attended his first career fair, he sharpened his interview techniques through consultations with nationally acclaimed interview consultant Marc Cosentino, whose services were made available through the GCC. Jon says answering Marc’s questions in a mock interview setting helped him to anticipate scenarios he would otherwise have been ill-prepared to handle.
Don’t wait to start planning and preparing. Competition for internships can be fierce. Rosemary Brennan will soon be interning at NorthStar Anesthesia. Her introduction to NorthStar came before classes even began while presenting in front of alumnus Dustin Schelle during the case competition at TCU’s START Workshop, the two-week onboarding program for incoming MBAs. Rosemary's success is a testament to following your own advice: "Start early! It may seem daunting and like uncharted waters, but the quicker you get your feet wet with this process, the better."
Gain as much practical experience as you can. Paige Sabo, a former client relations and marketing coordinator who will be interning this summer with Dannon in New York, credits TCU’s case competitions (specifically the PepsiCo Invitational hosted by TCU) with opening her eyes to the exciting possibilities of interning in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry.
Do your homework. Prior to applying to his Intel internship, Jon carefully researching the firms that were of chief interest to him. He committed aspects of “their financial positions, their advertised and public opinion of their culture, and recent news of their activities” to memory. Equipped with this knowledge, Jon was able to seize an opportunity to move quickly through Intel’s pre-screening process and claim a spot at the head of the candidate interview line.
Acknowledge the value of collegiality. Both Rosemary and Paige credit Neeley’s faculty with being willing to discuss internship opportunities independently and outside of class time. They also applauded the generosity of second-year MBA colleagues, who made themselves available to meet with first-years, share their internship experiences and help with application strategies.
Rosemary describes her cohort as a remarkably close-knit group. “We hold each other accountable on a personal level,” she says. “We make sure no one is left behind, and we’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders. There isn’t a single person I couldn’t call in time of need.” Paige puts it even more succinctly: “TCU is a family.”
Know what you want. If you take advantage of all the resources at the Neeley School of Business, you’ll find there’s no shortage of internship opportunities available. But making wise decisions about which positions to apply for entails a firm sense of what you want to accomplish in the short- and long-term. When asked what she was looking for in an internship, Rosemary says, “Industry, industry, industry. I wanted to be interacting with the clinical side of healthcare while improving operations. NorthStar checked every box.” Similarly, Jon knew he wanted a position in finance with “a recognizable company” that would present him with a set of unique challenges.
Be yourself. Companies aren’t simply businesses. Companies develop and sustain their own unique organizational identities. You may possess all the expertise and self-discipline you need to handle any given job on your own, but you’ll always find yourself working closely with others. As Jon notes, “These employers see ‘MBA candidate’ listed on your resume and they know the stellar reputation of TCU. As such, they recognize you will have the technical ability to perform on the job. What they are looking for is an individual whose personality fits with their culture.”
Learn more about the role internships play in the experiential learning environment at TCU by visiting the Neeley School of Business.