Written by: Marvel Maha Ibrahim, MBA ‘23
Congratulations, you’ve made it! You applied, went through the interview process, and finally you’re an MBA student. It wasn’t easy, but you’ve gotten one of those coveted spots as a UB MBA candidate, and you can’t wait for orientation to finally meet your peers and professors.
Orientation arrives and it’s all you ever dreamed about and more, except everyone seems to be talking about internships and how you need to do at least one during your MBA program to graduate. Now let’s be honest, all those segments on internships, the dos and don’ts and the proper etiquettes for applying to internships can be quite nerve wracking, at least it was for me. During the course of this article, I will try my very best to provide tried and tested ‘cheat codes’ to tackling the villain known as internships.
It is important to note that the tips provided here work equally for students seeking out-of-state internships or internships situated within Buffalo. Also, the tips outlined here should be used in conjunction with those provided by the Career Resource Center (CRC) mentors. Now let’s dive right into those tricks I promised you!
Know what companies/industries you’re interested in. Focus your internship search on a specific industry. Applying to internships at Tesla and Amazon at the same time shows that you do not have any idea of what industry you’re interested in since those two companies do entirely different things. Even if you’re looking for marketing internships, focus your search in one area like healthcare or maybe even the fashion industry. The trick here is to focus your search on a particular industry, this will also help you build your resume to fit the particular industry you’ve chosen.
Have a LinkedIn account you check frequently. LinkedIn has a feature where you can set a job alert for a particular role(s) you’re interested in. Say you’re interested in supply chain roles; you can set an alert in your LinkedIn account to be notified anytime a supply chain job is added. This way you’re always in the loop on new job postings. The setting can also be set for a particular company, and not just a job. So, let’s say you really want to work at Tesla, you can set an alert to be notified every time there’s a new job posting by Tesla. Of course, setting an alert and not frequently checking your account defeats the whole purpose of this step, so make sure you login to your account at least once a day.
Constantly look on company websites and know when they typically start posting internships. If there are specific companies you’re interested in, frequently look on their websites for new internship postings, and the duration for which these postings will be open. Larger companies tend to start posting jobs as early as September or October for internships starting in the summer of the following year. For companies local to Buffalo, internship postings might be available anywhere between December and February. The trick here is to know what kind of company you’re interested in; if it is a company outside of Buffalo, you might want to start your internship search early so as not to miss deadlines.
Become friendly with the second-year MBAs. They are students just like you, but they’ve got one year of experience that you do not have. They’ve done internships in previous semesters and are more familiar with the internship search process. Ask them what methods worked for them, or if they know of companies that are currently looking for interns in a role you might be interested in. The idea here is to be openminded and friendly, do not be scared to approach them, they’re always willing to help you in any way they can.
Overall, the biggest trick I can give you in your internship search is to put yourself out there. Start your search as early as possible, and do not be afraid to ask for help from either the CRC or the second-year MBAs. During your time in the MBA program, there will be many opportunities to network and make new connections. Attend networking events and always be prepared to talk about your professional experience with potential connections.
BIO: Marvel was born in Lagos, Nigeria but lived in NYC during her formative years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo with a major in Mechanical Engineering. Marvel is currently pursuing a full-time MBA also from the University at Buffalo to balance out her skill set and broaden her professional opportunities. She is an active member of the UB community and serves as a member of WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering), and the Academic Integrity Committee. Outside of classroom activities, Marvel can be seen walking around campus with multiple books as she loves to read, which has also led to her love for writing poems, articles, and reflective pieces. After UB, she plans to utilize her combined skills in engineering and business to work in the aerospace sector to help further the initiative of attaining Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050.