Advice For Your MBA Internship
You’ve sold yourself well and have scored the internship. Now, you need to perform.
Kimberly A. Whitler, a contributor at Forbes, recently talked to MBA students at Darden and got their advice for a successful internship experience.
Setting Expectations Early On
Prior to your internships, students say it’s a good idea to reach out to your manager and understand expectations.
“Have an introductory meeting with the manager over the phone in May to understand the goals for the summer and expected output,” Leigh Feldmann, who interned at Wayfair, tells Forbes. “The earlier that you can get clarity on the project, the better.”
When it comes to speaking with your manager, there are a few questions you should ask.
“If a document detailing your projects and expected deliverables isn’t provided on day one, create one yourself by interviewing your manager,” Katherine Atchison, who interned at General Mills, tells Forbes. “What are the projects, objectives, and competencies they are trying to test? What are your responsibilities and deliverables? Who are the key contacts? And when are the due dates?”
Having these questions answered, Atchison says, can help to build out a timeline of what you’ll need to work on each week.
Responding to Feedback
When getting feedback on a project, your attitude and response can go a long way.
“At the midpoint, if you get negative feedback, you can shut down or take a positive constructive attitude; the latter is impressive and shows perseverance,” Atchison says. “Remember, if you aren’t coachable, you won’t likely get a job offer. At some point, you will be criticized. They may be testing your ability to take criticism and grow from it.”
Business Insider reports that taking criticism personally is one of the top mistakes interns can make.
“Don’t tolerate bullying or disrespect but do grow a thick skin,” Kerry Schofield, a psychologist and the chief psychometrics officer at professional assessment and self-improvement platform Good.Co, tells Business Insider. “That way you’ll learn from your mistakes instead of repeating them.”
Building Your Connections
Ultimately, your goal is to secure a full-time job by the end of an internship. And the best way to do that is to build your connections.
“At the end of the final slide deck, list out all the people you have talked to on a slide to thank them,” Mike Burke, who interned at Procter and Gamble, tells Forbes. “This has the added bonus of demonstrating your networking skills.”