MBA Careers | 5 Action Steps to Turn Your Internship Into an Offer

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Go above & beyond. (image: Ronnie44052)

by: Grayson Leverenz

You want to walk away from your internship with an offer for fulltime employment. Trust me; your employer wants to make you that offer. I know because I led university recruiting efforts for two top 20 MBA programs while I worked for a Fortune 50 company. We put significant time and energy into our intern selection process knowing that turning interns into fulltime placements is a win/win scenario.

Here are 5 action steps to help you turn your internship into an offer:

1. Visualize a successful completion.
This may sound too “touchy feely” for some analytical MBA types, but in actuality this is the perfect place to start implementing a calculated plan to land a permanent position. Visualizing a successful completion (i.e. you with an offer in hand) helps you think through the details of how to get there. With your successful completion in mind, you can set your summer goals accordingly.

2. Arrive early & stay late.

Americans pride themselves on their work ethic, especially in a majority of MBA positions; people wear working 80 hours a week like a badge of honor. Your manager wants to see that you are ready, willing and able to commit to the hours necessary for success in a fulltime position. Ask your manager about her usual schedule, and adjust your office hours to arrive before and leave after her.

Remember to balance eagerness and efficiency here. You want to be available any time your boss may need you, but typically don’t want to be there so late that you look unproductive.

3. Observe with a smile.

Interns breathe new life into the corporate world every summer. People are really looking forward to your arrival! Spend most of the first few days observing, smiling and asking appropriate questions. In most cases, you do not want to question authority or challenge major processes before you know why something is done the way it’s done.

Present an enthusiastic, curious demeanor throughout your internship. You’ll probably be asked “How is your internship going?” several times a day. One of my former managers often said interns should always reply with “It’s great. I’m learning a lot and having fun.”

4. Network from two angles.
There are two sides to networking as an intern. First and foremost, it is important to find a true confidant that will keep conversations private. Typically this person will be an alum from your MBA program that is on the level you would enter the organization as a fulltime employee. When you’ve identified a person you trust, ask them if you can use them as a sounding board for the summer. You want to be able to ask them anything from how to read that interoffice report to how to navigate office politics. You also want them to know you’re not asking everyone sensitive questions.

The second side to networking is interacting with numerous people throughout the summer. When calibrations happen at the conclusion of the internship, you want as many people as possible to express that they’ve had meaningful encounters with you. The best way to do this is to schedule time with people across levels of the organization (e.g. lunch, coffee or ½ hour of your time). Balance the time between gathering information about the company and gathering information about the person. It is fantastic to be able to connect with people on a personal level like a shared love of kayaking or restoring old motorcycles.

5. Go above and beyond.

This is where the nerd in me gets really excited. Your manager will have a comprehensive list of summer projects for you at the onset of your internship. As you’re outlining your plan to complete the projects, look at examples of past intern projects that landed the person an offer. Examine what they did well, and figure out how you can make your project even better. Likewise, listen intently to your manager and be ready to ask, “Is there anything I can do to help with that?” They will love that you take initiative, and will appreciate the help.

These 5 action steps will put you on the right path to turn your internship into an offer. If you want to talk though any of the recommendations in detail, please email info@mbaintheusa.com to schedule a session.

Author: Grayson Leverenz

Grayson Leverenz founded MBA in the USA® to help international students build networks, find jobs, and have fun in the USA. Hundreds of global professionals have benefited from Grayson’s intercultural workshops, and she has worked with people from Brazil, China, India, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, and the USA to build effective virtual teams and craft brilliant careers.

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