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How to Secure the MBA Summer Internship You Want

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According to research published the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) last year, 86 percent of companies planned to hire an MBA graduate. It comes as no surprise that the reason most MBA candidates choose a business school is to strengthen their position in the job market. One of the most popular and effective employment strategies is to pursue an internship like one of the many offered at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

Career Preparedness

At Georgetown McDonough, the MBA Career Center believes that career planning starts the moment an MBA applicant is accepted into the program—and for many students it includes a summer internship between the first and second years of study. Whether you already have a clear sense of your career path or you’re shopping around for new and exciting opportunities, McDonough’s team of certified career counselors are prepared to walk you through the entire process.

Your career search starts the summer leading up to the MBA. The Summer Webinar Series includes a course about the job search process and provides students with the opportunity to develop three invaluable deliverables for their career marketing portfolios.

  • MBA Career Prospectus: This document defines your post-MBA career path options as well as your networking strategy.
  • Career Accomplishments: This record will populate your resume and serve as an interview guide.
  • MBA Resume: This standard document will be tailored by the career coaching team at Georgetown McDonough throughout your job search.

Career prep starts to accelerate during orientation week with five on-campus modules that cover everything from job search communication and networking to interviewing and understanding your career resources. Mustafa Popal, an MBA student who will graduate in 2018, explains that his future career plans started to take shape during orientation.

“When you get here during orientation, the school hosts sessions discussing the career prompt: “Tell Me About Yourself” (TMAY),” Popal explained via email. “They discuss how to handle interviews, how to tell your story, and how to answer soft behavioral questions. They really focus on getting your story down into a concise two- to three-minute pitch.”

Popal, who was in the midst of a career transition from finance to real estate, found the orientation invaluable. The sessions helped him understand and refine his sales pitch into a compelling story that suited the real estate industry. From there, he attended workshops that helped him put his resume together, and practiced his interview skills in a conference room filled with other students who offered their two cents.

For David O. Roberts, another 2018 MBA student, Orientation involved the process of starting his career as a consultant. Roberts knew that Consulting was the industry he wanted to pursue, but he felt “very naïve and ignorant of the whole process.” Roberts immediately arranged an appointment with his Career Center advisors to understand who the big players were in consulting and then narrow his list down to a few key players based on his career goals.

“I was able to narrow down my career search pretty quickly and determine that Ernst & Young (EY) was where I wanted to gain employment,” Roberts wrote in an email. “From there, I started to meet with second years who went to EY and got more information about what I would need to do to succeed.”

Georgetown McDonough MBA Career Center

After Orientation, Georgetown McDonough provides MBA students with many opportunities to dive into their respective careers. Whether it’s one-on-one time with an industry coach, attending networking events, taking career treks, or joining a workshop on resume building, the McDonough career experience is all about preparation—and it all starts with the school’s MBA Career Center.

“As an MBA student interested in Real Estate, I had a unique experience,” remembered Popal. “My coach was an expert in finance and real estate, and he helped me understand the unique and cavalier recruiting process you can expect in the real estate industry. I also was able to utilize the Steers Center for Global Real Estate, which was a fantastic resource with professors and alumni willing to help facilitate the career process.”

For Popal, having a center 100 percent dedicated to real estate was priceless. In the fall, the Steers Center, alongside the MBA Career Center, helped him connect with professors and alumni who could give him industry insight. He was able to gather information about various companies that recruit at the school while getting to know the people and the jobs that would be instrumental to his future. By spring of his first year, those connections turned into a network of real estate professionals willing to help him write his resume, prepare for interviews, and ultimately secure an internship.

“It’s all about leveraging the McDonough network,” wrote Popal. “The Real Estate industry has a less formalized job process, so it’s important to use any and all connections you have to learn about job postings and gain employment at a big company. Without the Steers Center or McDonough’s network, I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities.”

It was a similar experience for Roberts, though his focus was on consulting—a far more formalized industry with set rules and expectations. For him, the MBA Career Center was instrumental in helping him garner a position at EY.

“There was just all kinds of information available to me,” said Roberts. “Through the numerous informationals, I met with EY employees and built relationships, which eventually helped me finalize my resume and cover letter to be perfectly suited to a consulting career. In fact, I met with the Career Center four or five times to get my cover letter and resume where I wanted them to be.”

The Consulting Club also offers case interview preparation workshops where students learn the art and science of case interviewing, a skill critical to success when you’re pursuing careers in consulting.

The Career Center also introduced Roberts to many second-year MBA students who already landed internships and job offers in the consulting industry. It was through these connections that he was able to practice mock interviews and understand what to expect in a career as a consultant through private one-on-one sessions. “It is the tradition of Georgetown McDonough to help those behind you,” Roberts explained.

The Georgetown McDonough Career Difference

So, what makes the Georgetown McDonough career experience different from other MBA programs? There are a few elements that really stand out.

  1. One-on-One Attention

“Because it’s a smaller school with an established reputation, you really have the opportunity to work with faculty, staff, alumni, and other students in a one-on-one environment,” Popal said. “Professors are always willing to help push you forward, and they’re available almost whenever you need them. The first semester, I met with various real estate professors every three to four weeks to get their opinion, talk about internship opportunities, and discuss the industry.”

  1. A Simplified Career Process

“One of the things that is great about Georgetown McDonough is how they facilitate the entire career and internship process,” Roberts said. “The Career Center sets everything up for you. They plan and carry out all the informationals—you just have to attend. They bring in the big industry players, provide the workshops, and plan meetings with alumni and second-year students. Georgetown handled the entire process—from beginning to end— starting with bringing EY to campus, setting up interviews, and more. The Career Center makes it easy for employers and the students to meet, interview, gain employment, and leave satisfied on both sides.”

  1. Premier Location

“Because Georgetown McDonough is based in Washington, D.C, it brings a lot of big people to the city,” explained Roberts. “You get the opportunity to meet major players in your industry who might only be in the city because they had to meet a congressman and they decided to stop by Georgetown during their trip. This provides incredible insight into what’s happening in the current climate. Plus, you get one-on-one introductions to large company partners that you wouldn’t find in other cities. I know that in many cases, I wouldn’t be interacting with these powerful individuals without Georgetown’s influence and location in the capital.”

  1. Powerful Name and Reputation

“A lot of the bigger companies only recruit from top MBA programs,” explained Popal. “This meant that Georgetown had many job and internship postings that weren’t even available at other schools. It comes down to Georgetown’s extensive off-campus connections and powerful alumni network.”

  1. McDonough Turns Internships Into Jobs

Last but not least, Georgetown McDonough continues to assist its MBA students beyond the internship. The school follows through until their MBA students are set up for their post-graduation career and offers lifelong alumni career services. For both Roberts and Popal, their internships turned into jobs. Popal has a job waiting for him at Tishman Speyer, a premier commercial real estate firm, and Roberts is prepared to head to work at EY post-graduation.

“In fact, all four people who interned at Ernst & Young got job offers and are going back to work after graduation,” Roberts wrote. “And for those students who got job offers they didn’t like or that didn’t fit, that wasn’t the end of their road. Georgetown continued to facilitate full-time interviews until everyone who wanted a job offer got it.”

To learn more about how Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business prepares its MBA students for careers post-graduation, head on over to the school website.

Mustafa Popal is a full-time MBA student at Georgetown McDonough with plans to graduate in 2018. The summer between his first and second year he worked as a summer associate at Tishman Speyer. Post-internship he received a full-time job offer from the same company, where he will go back to work in the fall.

David O. Roberts is a full-time MBA candidate at Georgetown McDonough graduating in 2018. His summer internship was spent at Ernst & Young where he worked to implement Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Upon graduation, he will be returning to EY to work full time as a senior associate consultant.

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.