How to be Successful, Prove your Value and Create Relationships During a Remote Internship

By Cassie Zhang, MBA ’21, Spring Core Fellow

Congratulations on securing your internship! As you look towards the summer, here are a couple of tips to help you maximize your experience, especially in a virtual environment.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

  • Brush up on relevant skills: Work on communications, deck-building, basic excel and brushing up on the latest industry trends and news are always safe bets. Also consider contacting other Sloanies who’ve interned in your company and/or role and ask them “What can I do this semester to set myself up for success this summer?”
  • Understand the hiring process: If the internship is intended to convert into a full-time offer, make sure you understand the hiring process, timing and evaluation process. Some helpful questions to ask HR might be:
    • Is this program intended to convert to a full-time role? If not, is there anything I can do to make the case?
    • What is the structure of the hiring process?
    • How will I be evaluated? Who is involved in that process?
    • What does the hiring timeline look like? When will I receive the final hiring decision?
    • What has been the historical intern-to-full-time offer rate?
    • Is there a certain number of offers you’re looking to give out?

NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK

  • Set & Commit: Set and commit to a networking goal, whether it’s a certain amount of time or a certain number of people, for every week of the internship. As work ramps up, it can be easy to push networking aside…don’t!
  • Ask for Intros: A great conversation ender, especially for a coffee chat, is to ask “who else would you recommend that I reach out to learn more about ‘X’?” – it increases your chances for a warm intro and gives you more materials to circle back with the person you’re currently conversing with.
  • Circle back: In the interest of forming long-term relationships, always make sure to circle back with those you connect with over the summer. Whether if it’s notifying them of how your final presentation went or circling back with your decision to join or not join the company, keep these mentors informed to keep the conservation and relationship alive.

REFLECT

  • Know your prioritiesBefore your internship starts, make sure that you know your explicit short-term and long-term priorities, and points of concern about working for the company and/or working in this role. Being specific about your hypotheses and your needs and documenting them will be helpful, especially at the end of the summer as you evaluate your full-time prospects and decisions.
  • Take some time: Devote time to reflect on your experience throughout the summer and after. Some questions to consider are:
    • What am I learning and am I interested in learning this content?
    • Do I feel supported by my team?
    • Does the company and team’s culture fit with my personal values and growth goals?
    • What concerns do I have about working here? How can I find out more information to prove my hypothesis right or wrong?
    • What does the growth trajectory in this role and/or this company look like? Is it in-line with my professional goals and vision?
    • How has this role and experience impacted my personal life?
    • What don’t I like about this role and/or company?

Internships in the virtual environment are definitely challenging, but I hope that these tips help lessen the strain!

CDO Advisors are available over the summer, please email MBACDOAdvisors@mit.edu if you would like to meet. The second-year resume database deadline will be due in August – a reminder to work on your document over the summer and draft bullets throughout your internship.

By Cassie Zhang*
Cassie Zhang* *Spring Fellow Cassie Zhang*