Five Things to Do During Your Pre-MBA Summer to Prepare for Your Internship

In this blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

With the start of orientation less than two months away for many MBA programs, we know some of you are finishing up your jobs, planning cross-country (or international!) moves, and thinking about how to transform your career goals into reality. 

Business school will offer you tremendous opportunity for personal and professional growth, but preparation is key to taking full advantage of this opportunity. Here are five actionable steps you can take to lay the foundation for a successful internship search before you even set foot on campus:

1. Evaluate and narrow down your career goals. 

Write down each major job/role you have had to date, and for each one, record the following information: what you liked most/least about the role, what skills you developed in the role, and how the role related to and/or influenced your current career goals. Employers want to know why working at their organization makes sense for you; this exercise will help you identify information and examples you can use in your career narrative. 

2. Update your network. 

Send personalized emails to your contacts letting them know you are leaving your job and will be attending business school. Explain your career goals and thank them for their support. Change the headline in your LinkedIn profile to reflect your upcoming MBA experience (e.g., “MBA Candidate @ XXXX | Focused on XXXXX”), and in August, post about your arrival on campus on your LinkedIn news feed. 

3. Become an “insider” in your target industry. 

Identify and read trade publications and relevant industry news sources to understand the challenges facing your target industry (as well as recent hiring trends). Use the information you gather to develop a perspective on your target market. Learn how your intended industry hires MBAs. Via on-campus recruiting? Or will your job search need to be very networking driven ? 

4. Identify at least ten potential target companies. 

As you do your research, make a robust list of potential employers. Look beyond the obvious ones (e.g., Google, McKinsey & Company) and consider other firms. Which ones provide similar services? Which ones offer the opportunity to develop some of the same skills? Follow these companies on LinkedIn. See how they position themselves and what they are doing to address changing market dynamics. 

5. Write down any potential obstacles to your internship search. 

We know that the internship search can be overwhelming, and feeling apprehensive is totally normal, but discussing your concerns with a career advisor and/or your peers will help you discover actionable ways to overcome them. For example, many international students might realize that American-style networking is completely new to them. Finding ways to learn the nuances of this networking approach and gaining comfort with it will be critical for job search success.

Here is one final tip: read all emails from your MBA program—especially those from the career management office! Schedule an advising appointment with the career center as soon as such meetings are made available to incoming students. Given the tighter job market, getting an early start and incorporating job search best practices into your process will help you optimize your time and differentiate you as a candidate.  

We at mbaMission are so excited for your new journey and wish you the best of luck. And remember, we are always here to support you and can supplement offerings from your school’s career center, if needed. 

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation

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