An MBA, or Master in Business Administration, is a rigorous program. It is designed to give students the necessary skills to manage various facets of business administration or business operations. Most programs require internships. Some do not, but regardless an MBA internship is a good idea for any current or prospective students to consider.
What is the Purpose of an MBA Internship?
For any degree, at any level, an internship is an important opportunity. It is a way for the intern to gain real-world experience and build significant relationships. For many, relationships built during internships are often the key to success after graduation. There are often opportunities within the company the internship is located. Additionally, strong relationships will be helpful in making connections for positions in other organizations.
MBA internships are as rigorous as the programs students enroll in. Most MBA programs require at least a few years of work experience; they are meant to enhance the knowledge students already have. Internships allow the MBA intern to show their abilities and potentially land a job.
As more people obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees, an internship is a way to set yourself apart from the rest. If you are able to complete more than one internship that is great, but one is still a significant way for an MBA intern to make important connections and gain relevant experience. And again – it cannot be stated enough how important building relationships is during this period. Whether you end up at the company you intern at or not, you will make connections that can help in some way.
MBA Internships Specific to MBA Specializations
A lot of people might have the assumption that an MBA only leads to careers in specific industries, like finance. While you are certainly able to pursue a career in finance, and many will, MBA careers are varied as the reality is that business administration is necessary in many other industries. In addition to finance, many MBA graduates end up in technology, manufacturing, healthcare, consulting, retail, and not-for-profit among many other industries. An MBA in accounting or an MBA in marketing both provide important skills that can translate to a variety of industries. Clearly financial institutions or marketing firms are not the only organizations in need of those skill sets.
When you research internship opportunities, make sure not to limit yourself. You might have a specific company and/or industry in mind, but you never know what kind of opportunities are out there. Enrolling in an MBA program is a big decision to say the least. Though it is of course fine to have specific interests, expanding your options will only be beneficial.
Preparing for an MBA Internship
Even if a school provides a lot of support in the search for an internship, you still need to put in a lot of effort yourself.
Since nearly everyone in an MBA program should have some work experience, you know what the job interview process is like. Treat the intern interview process just as seriously. Preparedness goes a long way and this includes researching the company and anyone you are interviewing with if possible. Of course, this is always something to show the company you care. However, it is also gives you a chance to gain insight into where you might be an intern and potentially work someday.
Before you even prep for the interview, you should have been looking for internships in advance. Sometimes as far as 6-8 months as many companies start recruiting early and there is a lot of competition for internships. When figuring out your timeline consider what breaks there are in the program that allows for internships, or if and when they are required as part of the curriculum to graduate.
Many studies show that paid internships typically help students more than unpaid. At the MBA level, you are also expected to do quite a bit of work and it makes sense for companies to pay for that. If possible, avoid unpaid internships unless you have the flexibility for one.
Fully Utilizing an MBA Internship
With good reason, MBA programs and internships carry a lot of weight. Alumni help build a global network and surrounding communities as well as global firms have a lot of respect for those who complete the programs.
Once again, it cannot be stated enough how important internships are to building relationships, further developing skills and establishing credibility as an MBA student. For the class of 2018 at Mason School of Business: William and Mary, 100% of students participated in paid internships. Further, 94% received offers by 3-month post graduation and 87% accepted offers. When considering MBA programs, absolutely look into the resources offered and the importance placed on helping students obtain internships. The University of Kansas School of Business does an excellent job of providing thorough resources for internship placement.
The benefits of relationships built during internships also extend beyond immediate job offers after graduation. Networking helps build relationships that often last far beyond school. According to the American Psychological Association, networking of course helps you get your foot in the door. Moreover, it also helps provide additional resources that you are able to utilize throughout your career. According to a 2017 study published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employment is better guaranteed when two or more internships are completed. Though this is not always possible for every student, it is something to take advantage of if one is capable.
Ultimately, do your research and take advantage of the resources offered in your program. Not everyone will be able to complete an internship. However, if you can it might best as the statistics clearly show.
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