In true MBA fashion, I would like to share three key tips that I believe will be valuable for future Sloanies as you embark on your summer internship journey. Just to give you a little more context, I am an international student who previously worked at the Volvo Group in Sales, Marketing, and Strategy. For my upcoming summer internship, I will be working at a Series A clean tech start-up that specializes in providing software and hardware solutions to optimize industrial cooling towers, resulting in significant water and cost savings for operators, including MIT’s cogeneration plant. (Yes, MIT has produced its own power since 1935.)
Start early: I highly recommend starting your internship search early, especially for international students who are new to the U.S. recruitment process. I initially pursued opportunities on the “highway” recruiting path, engaging in early coffee chats, networking, and interviews. While I did not secure an offer, the preparation was immensely helpful for my subsequent efforts. Starting early not only provides more options if your Plan A doesn’t work out, but it also allows you to better prepare for the long recruitment journey ahead.
Apply with focus: After not receiving an offer on the highway recruiting path, I took a step back and reassessed what I truly wanted. A wise second-year student advised me against applying for jobs that I wasn’t genuinely interested in or had little chance of securing an interview. I took this advice to heart, as it helped me maintain my focus on the industry and type of work that I found both fitting and interesting. This approach proved essential, especially as I navigated the challenges of welcoming my first child in March.
Hold a long-term view: Building on the second point, it’s important to consider the long-term implications of your internship. Another insightful second-year student shared that a summer internship presents an opportunity to expand your industry experience and network. Interestingly, this student found that the work he did over the summer didn’t align with his values, leading him to explore other industries for his full-time role. Whether you aim to deepen your expertise within a specific industry or diversify your exposure to different industries, approaching your summer internship as a trial period for future career decisions can be highly beneficial.
Thank you for taking the time to read these three tips. I wish the best to all of you on your recruiting journey, and I hope you find great success in securing a rewarding summer internship experience.
At MIT Sloan, we reference the different recruiting paths to MBA-level opportunities. What do we mean by Highway / Dirt Road / Jungle?
- Highway: MBA-level jobs with a structured recruiting process, often conducted through campus. This includes, but is not limited to, Consulting, Investment Banking, and Leadership Development Programs.
- Dirt Road: Opportunities within industries whose recruiting processes for MBAs are less defined, requiring more networking and individual outreach. This includes opportunities in Private Equity, Venture Capital, Media/Entertainment, and Sports.
- Jungle: Starting a new venture, pursuing positions with start-ups and early-stage ventures, or un-structured MBA opportunities.