7 MBA Internships Every B-School Student Should Know About
March 10, 2021
Here comes your chance to do exciting work with accomplished people instead of, say, delivering coffee orders or juggling tedious tasks that are well below your skillset.
Now that you’ve gotten into business school, when should you start thinking about an internship? Chances are, it may already be in your mind, thanks in part to its longstanding reputation as one of the main benefits of an MBA degree. Not only is interning an opportunity for students to work at companies they’re genuinely interested in and gain exposure to the inner workings of their field, but better still, the process of finding an MBA internship serves as a valuable lesson too. By taking charge of their search, students can clarify their unique ambitions and career goals and build lasting connections with professionals in their field.
It’s common to encounter two schools of thought when choosing an MBA internship. Some advise students to take the best internship offered to them, regardless of how it fits their needs. It's a rationale founded in the prestige of top-tier companies and any new contacts, mentors, and references that may come with them.
Others argue that students should select their internship based on fit. This approach means taking into account your schedule, professional goals, and even your finances to determine which organizations can provide you with the insights and experience that will help your career move forward.
In the end, deciding on the right path for you depends on your unique circumstances and long term goals. So, once you nail those down, where should you begin? For starters, be on the lookout for internships that will give you the chance to do exciting work with accomplished people instead of, say, delivering coffee orders or juggling tedious tasks that are well below your skillset.
With all of the above in mind, think of this list of internship opportunities as one that mixes prestige with innovation, and the chance to step outside of your comfort zone. Some frequently appear among the top MBA employers at leading business schools like the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Business School at Columbia University. Other lesser-known opportunities offer special initiatives that make their programs unique. By choosing any one of these, you'll wind up in an experience that demonstrates how the business world operates—and paints an even brighter picture of what your future in it holds.
While it may not be synonymous with top business schools, HubSpot is one of the leading marketing, sales, and service software providers in the world. The company is known for providing an entire ecosystem of resources for businesses to grow better every day.
HubSpot’s founders met as grad students at MIT Sloan, which makes it fitting that the company continues to invest in MBA students through summer internships in its Cambridge, Massachusetts office. A recent internship posting describes ideal candidates as “remarkable MBAs seeking to exercise entrepreneurial muscles at a global scale," noting, “you’ll be given mission-critical problems to solve, the ability to make an immediate impact, and access to senior leadership throughout your summer."
The opportunity also lends itself as a pathway to HubSpot’s MBA Accelerated Leadership Program, in which participants work directly with its executive team across critical business functions. After the program, they typically move into director-level positions at the company.
2. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
According to MIT Sloan’s latest MBA Employment Report, BCG ranks as the top employer among the school’s 2019 MBA graduates, with over half of those hired by the company starting in full-time consulting or technology roles. Still, it’s not only MIT graduates who aim for job placement at BCG. Every MBA student interested in a consulting career knows the BCG name as one that evokes admiration in business schools across the country.
As case team members, BCG interns gain a 360-degree perspective—from working on client projects to socializing with colleagues. With so many ventures across technology, design, and the digital sphere, projects can vary in length, size, and location. The same can describe the duration of BCG internships. Most programs are generally two to three months long, while others can vary from a few weeks to a year, depending on the role and location.
3. KPMG LLC
While KPMG LLC is known as one of the world’s “Big Four" accounting organizations, its consultancy and advisory practices complement its audit work. For MBA students, an internship with the firm’s Advisory Practice organization is a terrific way to build on your experience as a part of a world-class team,
At its start, the company’s National Intern Training experience is geared to provide business students with technical and soft skills training. From here, they participate in several structured programs to enhance their leadership and communication skills and receive training specific to their chosen practice areas.
Students may also decide to apply to the company’s award-winning Global Internship Program (GIP), in which they’ll spend four weeks working alongside international teams on major client accounts. Future accounting professionals, in particular, may opt for KPMG’s Build Your Own Internship Program (BYOIP) to intern with the company in two practices chosen from audit, tax, or advisory.
4. McKinsey & Company
Ask anyone to list famous consulting companies, and chances are they’ll include a giant known for its pristine reputation: McKinsey & Company, a firm Columbia Business School lists as the top employer of its 2019 graduates. Aside from building influence by hiring the best and brightest Ivy League students, McKinsey keeps secrets. Since its start, the firm has never disclosed the names of its clients or the advice it’s given them.
MBA students who between their first and second year of business school can apply for an associate intern position, which typically takes place over ten weeks during the summer. Associate interns interact with many elements of the firm's offices and practices, included Digital McKinsey, Marketing & Sales, and New Ventures. Aside from this training, Interns receive frequent coaching and mentoring from their team members. This support included a designated partner from students’ local offices who help guide their careers and professional development.
5. Paramount Pictures
Since its 1912 origins, Paramount Pictures has grown to become a global leader in film production and distribution with hits including “The Godfather," “Titanic," and “Mission: Impossible." The company is the fifth oldest surviving film studio in the world and the second oldest in the United States.
When it comes to Paramount internships, MBA students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in areas of the entertainment industry spanning from interactive marketing and distribution to global market research and licensing. Students work with businesses and senior leaders throughout the company, attend events developed to expand their industry knowledge, and play an integral role in their department’s success.
This titan of e-commerce is the top employer among 2018 graduates from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. It also ranks second among companies that brought on the most Tusk interns in the same year. Amazon revolutionized (and in many ways, terrorized) the book distribution in 1995. From there, it moved on to most of retail, then business logistics, then corporate infrastructure, and anything even mildly related to the cloud. These days, Jeff Bezos and his army are setting sights on TV and film, drones, artificial intelligence, and just about everything else under the sun. Did we say “under?" We’ll save Bezos’s plans for space travel for another time.
Amazon offers a wide assortment of MBA internships, many of which are within its retail business. Most full-time programs are 12-weeks long, offering students the chance to explore and rotate through different roles in different retail units while interacting with senior leadership. Ultimately, the experience builds managers who are comfortable with ambiguity and excited to solve new problems in a rapidly changing industry.
The company tends to look for internship candidates who take ownership, are obsessed with business-customer relationships, and are strong problem solvers and analytical thinkers. Embodying any of Amazon’s infamous Leadership Principals helps too.
7. Under Armour
Under Armour was founded in 1996 by former University of Maryland football player Kevin Plank, creating its name as the originator of performance apparel-gear engineered to keep athletes cool, dry, and light on the field and in the gym. The company is the official footwear supplier of the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) and is a National Basketball Association (NBA) partner.
During their time in a program, MBA interns are given projects based on corporate and category strategy, compensation, or global strategic licensing, which they’ll to complete over their 10-12 week and later present to the company's CFO and VPs.
While many intern roles operate at the company’s Baltimore home base, some students join smaller teams in Austin, San Francisco, and Portland. At each location, students participate in a series of social and volunteer events designed to introduce them to their surrounding communities and ultimately help them picture themselves living there if they decide to work for the company full-time.
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