October 17, 2014

Despair not! Tips for your summer internship search

Kara Oldford, MBA '15

Kara Oldford is a second-year MBA student who plans to graduate in the spring of 2015. She currently holds an internship position at Lubrizol Corporation.

It is no secret that one of the biggest goals of the first year of your MBA program is to land an internship that will hopefully lead to a full-time position. Before your pre-MBA summer even ends, the seed has already been planted to be on the lookout for that coveted summer internship. Although it may seem premature, it certainly pays off to begin the search sooner rather than later!

I started my internship search process thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I quickly learned that a job might not be tailored exactly to what I had in mind. Even though I started looking in August, I learned that I was already behind for a lot of the bigger companies who were finishing up first rounds of interviews. Fast forward to November and it seemed that all of the marketing internships in the entire country were already filled, but that was far from the truth!

Despite the internship search being a trying and often frustrating process, there were a lot of resources to help me out along the way. One of the best things I did was reach out to alumni to learn about their current positions and their past internships and how they landed either one. It helped to give me a better idea of where other Weatherhead MBA graduates ended up.

The biggest help for me was definitely the Weatherhead Career Fair and the CWRU Career Fair. Although career fairs can be overwhelming, I scored three job offers from connections that stemmed at these career fairs. However, it took more than just showing up to make it happen! I spent more hours than I would like to admit scouring the web for posted positions within companies that would be attending the fairs. I prioritized those companies, but I also wanted to be sure I spoke to other businesses I was interested in despite their current postings. My spring semester internship was the result of a conversation from the Weatherhead Fall Career Fair, and I knew very little about the company or any job prospect before then. I received the initial call for what would become my summer internship after my resume was passed along through a connection made at the Weatherhead Spring Career Fair.

There are certainly some things I wish I had known at the beginning of the search that I had to learn for myself. Even though it seemed that all of the jobs were taken by November, the truth was that many Cleveland companies didn't start interviewing until March. I wasted countless hours scouring job search boards where I received very few responses to submitted resumes. While I found it was important to be aware of the current job postings, my time was definitely best spent connecting with alumni.

Looking back at the internship search journey, I can remember the feelings of despair, excitement and relief when it was over. Although the process took seven months, I was able to secure my ideal summer marketing internship with Lubrizol Corporationand I'm still there!

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