I did several internships. Both of my graduate assistantships I consider internships. As I was first in the business school and then second, over in student affairs with the Office of Leadership and Service Learning. I also started a part-time job with Team Quest as a facilitator. So, that I started after my first year and continue that to currently.
My biggest challenge during the MBA program was balancing the immediate needs of class which you know consisted of the projects, tests, and any assignments that were due with the long-term goal of getting a career. With a career, they weren’t certain deadlines I had to meet but what I did to overcome this challenge was set my own deadlines. So I set small, little goals of each week; so either an information session, an informational interview, connecting with company I had worked for in the past via e-mail, or doing something along those lines, attending a career event like, Spotlight Series, any of those but try to make little goals so that it wasn’t overwhelming, but that I was still pursuing that longer term goal.
My biggest challenge during my internship, and this is going to sound funny, is actually that I love my job so much. With Team Quest, when I started, I had been a facilitator before, but when I would leave, I would still be processing what I had learned during my time working. And so, when I actually went home, I wasn’t really “not working.” And so, to overcome this, I asked my colleagues, did they ever feel this way, what did they do? And they gave me great tips as far as, you know, when you come home, do something regular like go for a run or, you know, listen to music, but create a routine that helps you kind of get your mind in another place so that I could, you know, not only be a good worker, but then come home a be a good friend and family member.
My piece of advice for an internship search would be to NETWORK. You never know who you’ll meet or who could possibly help you out later. So, by this I mean both formally, as going to the Career Services events like Spotlight Services or Creating Connections, but then also informally. I have actually made some wonderful contacts on airplane rides in the past two years; and these people I have kept in touch with and, you know, who knows if they’ll serve as, you know, a valuable colleague and a friend in the future.
My internship added to my MBA experience because it really gave me a context to practice what I was learning. For example, in my Strategic Human Resources class last semester, we were learning about interviewing: different biases you have to be careful of, different techniques you can use to interview people, and then, I actually was a volunteer to be on the Team Quest hiring committee. And so I saw all of these things in action. Then after that, I came to class, talked to the professor, and shared some of my immediate experiences. Then, I was on another interview committee for my graduate assistantship. And so, really, it all kind of builds on each other. It’s like a muscle: and the more you learn it and apply it, the bigger it grows.
I would say the bigger picture of how Career Services has been valuable to me is that it’s really kept my eye on that long-term goal of getting a job. So when professors have assignments and tests, it really been a friendly knock on the door saying, “Hey, remember what is important.” And really utilizing the career coach and the different events has really been helpful. And it has been really nice to seek that neutral advice outside of your family and friends: other people who have different priorities in mind.