My biggest challenge during the first year of the MBA program has been being able to balance my time between the school work and the out-of-class experience whether it’s the internship search or volunteer activities and being involved in the leadership academy as well. I think it’s important to not only develop yourself within the classroom and your grades but also to be able to get involved in the community and for myself, being an out of state student, I’ve come into a completely new city where didn’t know anyone and that was a big transition for me to learn the area and network with individuals. And that’s been a challenge, but a good challenge that I feel I’ve overcome though the first year.
My internship this summer is going to be with the SBTDC, which is the Small Business Technology Development Center and it’s with several other schools in the area such as the Wake Forest MBA, Duke, UNC’s MBA as well and they picked several students from each school. And I’m going to be working with two small businesses one of which deals with um—it’s a new chemical they’ve brought out for water protection and another one deals with home inspections and purifying the air. I’m very excited; I going to get to help develop a business plan for one company as well as do marketing for another company, too, and look for capital investment projects.
Uh, I think my internship’s going to add quite a significant amount of value to my MBA experience not only now, but in the future. Also it will build upon the classes that I have taken throughout the year. One of them in particular, I will be doing a lot of market research which we learned about in our marketing course. And that was my undergraduate major, too so I think it will build upon those skills. Also, I’m going to be dealing with finance and some accounting which is another skill—and not only will I need it now, but as well in the future. It’s not just something to put on a resume but to network and to say at the end of the experience, I can take this with me and take it to other companies in the future.
Career Services has been very important for me for my internship search. I wouldn’t have the internship I would have today if it weren’t for Career Services. Um, Darlene and the other staff within Career Services, showed me the different options within different majors; kind of helped me broaden my horizons from what I was doing before I came to get my MBA and helped me expand and look at other avenues beyond Human Resources. They showed me, well, “Maybe this internship would be a great fit for you and would give you the opportunity to work with a small company versus a larger corporation and be able to do a variety of tasks…” So, not only resume building, that was kind of the starting point meeting and going over my resume; but also providing me with different contact information about different local clubs in the area that I could get involved in. And when I was actually doing my search, just putting bugs in my ear about, well, “this specific internship,” or “you might want to contact this individual, they might have a position for you...” That was very beneficial and I got interviews out of it and I have my internship and, hopefully, a job next year.
For incoming students, I would say one of the biggest things would be to network. It’s stressed from the beginning; but it’s very easy to get bogged down with all the school work and just, you know, you got this exam, this one, but the main thing is: you’re going to be getting your job when you graduate and that’s what you need to be really focusing on. Grades are important, but you also want to look at, “well, this person might help me get a job in the future,” you know, “help me sit down, let me go out of my comfort zone and really interact with this individual.” Applying for jobs, that interview is extremely important, too. So, I would say that is my main piece of advice, you want to do well in your courses, but you need to balance it and be surrounded so you are meeting those individuals, making those connections, and getting the real world experience that you need to have your MBA and come out and get a successful job .