Making Moves at McDonough: How Georgetown MBA Candidates Landed Their Dream Summer Internships

It was November 2021, and Michelle Zayed was barely getting any sleep. Not only was she studying for her first midterms at the McDonough School of Business, but she was also working part-time and planning an event for the former president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, to speak at the university.

On top of that, she was knee-deep in the internship recruitment season. “At one point, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to apply to anything,” Michelle said. “It was a whirlwind, no joke.”

Michelle Zayed

Now, Michelle is a summer consultant at Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) office in Bogota, Columbia, her home country. How did Michelle get through her first year of business school to become a summer consultant at one of the world’s top firms? It all boiled down to practice and organization, she said.

“Make a schedule of how you want to prepare. It’s boring, but it’ll save you some anxiety,” Michelle said.

She also suggested downloading apps to practice quick mental math, which is a common factor in many consulting interviews, on top of frequent casing with peers.


Alekhya Parki, a McDonough MBA ’23 candidate, interned at Ernst & Young (EY) this summer. Alekhya scored a role in EY’s Supply Chain and Operations practice area in New York, where she is working on a digital transformation project with a global pharmaceutical company.

On recruitment prep, she wished she had begun preparing for behavioral interviews sooner than she did.

Alekhya Parki

“Initially, I was super nervous during my mock interviews, but I worked towards identifying the root cause – lack of practice,” she said. “After that, I just practiced everywhere. I practiced about three times a week with other first and second years in the consulting club.”

Alekhya explained that the recruiting process at EY consisted of two rounds. The first round had two interviews – one case-based and one behavioral. The second had four interviews, a mix of case and behavioral questions, a group discussion, and a presentation.

“For case interviews, make sure to keep detailed notes of your feedback you receive and try to regularly work on those points,” Alekhya said. “And, if you can, try to enjoy it – you’ll get extra points for the creativity.”

Similarly for BCG, Michelle had four interviews that were a mix of case and behavioral questions. Before reaching the interview step, she had to take an aptitude test as well as an online case. Alekhya and Michelle both applied for their consulting roles in late November/early December, interviewed in January, and received offers that same month.

While both Alekhya and Michelle said networking was a part of the recruiting process, the focus was more geared to assessing overall fit and getting to know the company. That said, first-year MBA candidates who are looking to recruit for investment banking should expect more of an intensive networking experience.


Wiji Marcelino

Wiji Marcelino, a McDonough MBA ’23 candidate, interned at Jefferies Group this summer in New York and said he had “coffee chats” with around 70 bankers during the recruitment process. These networking-style chats, usually lasting around 30 minutes each, consisted of technical and behavioral questions – and unfortunately don’t usually include coffee.

“Each conversation is considered an interview,” Wiji said. “I nailed the technical aspects of the job first, then proceeded to polish my behaviorals by practicing and making sure that my career journey story lined up.”

The recruitment season for IB starts quickly after classes begin – sometimes as soon as September, and the process is long – frequently extending into the winter. Wiji received his offer from Jefferies in February 2022.

With pressure mounting throughout the long recruiting process, he turned to mindfulness – a skill he had an opportunity to hone in his first year of business school.

“I took a meditation class at McDonough and that really shaped my thinking,” Wiji said. “I told myself, ‘I’ve prepared hard enough, and whatever the result is, that’s it.’ That removed the pressure, and I came out feeling more confident and natural.”


Investment banking isn’t the only option for MBAs who want to pursue a career in finance. Take Nina Lin, a McDonough MBA ’23 candidate who interned on Microsoft’s Finance team in Redmond, WA this summer. Her focus has been to develop the post-M&A integration plan for a recent Microsoft acquisition.

Nina Lin

The timeline was similarly long: she applied in October, interviewed in that same month and then again in late January. She received her offer in early February.

Nina’s advice for students deciding between recruiting for different industries and functions was this: Go with the flow.

“I was so determined to look for an internship in consulting initially, but I landed with two amazing offers with big tech firms,” she said. “Just trust yourself and the process and try your best.”

Nina encouraged first-year MBA students looking to recruit in tech to prepare for their behavioral interviews as soon as possible.  Before school starts in the fall, McDonough’s Career Center facilitates a virtual course for all first-years to prepare them job search process, which students looking to get a head start on their interview skills can take advantage of.

“The class was a great opportunity to begin thinking through the stories I wanted to tell in interviews,” Nina said. “It made me a lot more prepared for recruitment.”

Behavioral interviewing skills are important for tech recruitment, particularly for product, marketing, and program management roles, as this is the primary form these internship interviews will take. Students recruiting for tech will be expected to use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, and Results) format to respond to questions about their experiences working with ambiguity, overcoming obstacles, collaborating with cross-functional teams, and more.


Although much of internship recruitment happens in the October-to-February timeframe, this isn’t always the case. Timelines can start earlier, particularly if you recruit for roles in marketing – an industry with one of the most variable timelines. Or even earlier if you participate in diversity recruitment, which starts before classes even begin.

Ambitious McDonough MBA ’23 candidate Michael Mozzicato did both. Michael, who received his offer in October 2021, landed a role as a marketing manager intern this summer at American Express in New York.

Michael Mozzicato

In the best-case scenario, successfully completing early recruitment means you have most of your first year to focus on classes, socialize, and enjoy all that b-school has to offer. However, before committing to early recruitment, Michael said first-years should carefully weigh their options.

“You have to put your head down and prepare for interviews before everyone else,” he said. “It might mean you struggle through interview preparation alone if you don’t have someone in your target function recruiting at the same time as you.”

Michael mentioned that his marketing interviews were primarily behavioral with some case-based questions mixed in to “get a feel for how you might approach ambiguous situations.” Not coming from a marketing background, he said the case preparation was the most difficult part for him, but that second-years, the Career Center, and recent graduates were helpful in getting him up to speed.

He also recommended reading the annual report to understand the state of the company. He suggested taking note of the company’s performance and revenue drivers over the past year and goals for the year ahead.

Rachel Solomon

Regardless of the industry or function you recruit for, one thing is for certain, Michael said.

“Recruiting is hard, so be kind to yourself. People walk different paths, have different skills, and want different outcomes. Think about what you want to get out of the process and enjoy it.”

Bio: Rachel Solomon is a second-year MBA student at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Prior to business school, she worked in product management at BCG and communications at Delta Air Lines. This summer, she interned at Microsoft on their Cloud Marketing team and plans to focus on product marketing after graduation. Learn more about her via her LinkedIn and blog!

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