Create Your Own MBA Internship
Still looking for an MBA internship? If you can’t find the right fit, create your own! Here’s how I did it…
First, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to get out of my summer internship. Since my long-term goal was to become an intercultural consultant, I wanted to have an international experience. I wanted to work with passionate people and complete meaningful projects. I wanted to learn and position myself for solid opportunities post-graduation. Note that “make a lot of money” was not in my must-have list for an internship.
I was incredibly fortunate that I stumbled across my perfect company during a Spring Break Global Immersion Elective (GIE) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Catalytic Communities empowers community leaders in developing countries by harnessing the power of social networking to share ideas. The mission is meaningful; the people are passionate, and the international location doesn’t get much better than Rio.
After my GIE, I wrote a sincere letter to the CatComm Executive Director, Theresa Williamson. I told her how her work inspired me, and told her I wanted to help. CatComm never hired an MBA before, but they were willing to take a chance on me if I was willing to take a chance on them.
The internship paid US $300, almost enough to cover my plane ticket to Rio, and the experience was priceless. I lived on my own in a foreign country, learned survival Portuguese, worked with amazing colleagues that I treasure to this day, created the first ever CatComm annual report for use in fundraising, experienced a new business culture, and embraced a new social culture; I even danced the forro. Everything on my list was there. Success.
How can you turn an intimidating employment situation into your own MBA success story?
- Figure out what you want to gain.
- Identify companies that inspire you, and ask them what they need. Then tell them how you can help.
- Contemplate local business models, and think about what you want to fix. Then offer to fix it for them.
- Explore entrepreneurship by writing a business plan for an idea you’ve always wanted to launch, but have been afraid to. Even if you end up going for a company job next year, the experience will be invaluable.
- Talk to professors that research your favorite subjects, and see if they need help. Getting an author credit on a new book is a great way to spend the summer.
American business thrives on people creating opportunities. Believing we own our future is my favorite aspect of US culture. Adopt it as your philosophy, and craft an amazing summer internship for yourself!