A: I am currently a first-year MBA student going through internship recruiting myself. This experience reminds me of what I went through a few years back when I was an undergraduate student at Wisconsin. To give you a little background information, I graduated in May 2012 with a double major in Finance and Economics. For some odd reason, I knew I wanted to work in investment banking before I even stepped foot on campus in Madison. With that goal in mind, I thought about what type of internships would best position me to achieve my goal of obtaining a job offer in banking upon graduation. I interned in the accounting department of a local company during the summer of my freshman year to gain some finance/accounting work experience. The following summer, I interned in the treasury department of a Fortune 500 company in Stockholm, Sweden, which provided me with international work experience on my resume. Because of my preparation, I was able to secure an internship in the mergers and acquisitions group at a large, multi-national investment bank in NYC the summer of my junior year, which ultimately led to a full-time position after graduation.
As I think back on my experience, here is some advice for finding and getting an internship:
1. Start the process early. While it is uncommon for you to know exactly what you want to do years before graduation, it never hurts to start thinking about that early and roughly plan out the steps you need to take. It can be as easy as listing what you want and don’t want in a job and start narrowing down your options from there.
2. Talk to your career advisor. I had a very helpful career advisor who was there for me every step along the way. She helped me strategize how to secure my summer internships, put me in touch with the right alumni, and supported me through the recruiting period. Be sure to leverage your career advisor’s help as you go through your internship recruiting.
3. Sometimes you don’t have to look far. I found my first two summer internships through family connections. It doesn’t have to be anything glamorous or impressive, you just need an opportunity to try out different types of work to help you figure out what it is that you are looking for.
4. Be willing to put yourself out there. I think Wisconsin students have an advantage over other schools because Badgers are not only smart and hardworking, but also have the social skills necessary to succeed. However, sometimes the Wisconsin degree is not as recognized as those from other schools. If that happens, don’t get discouraged. You need to prove to recruiters that you are just as qualified as the other candidates and willing to do what it takes to earn your spot. One way to do this is through networking. Talk to as many people as you can to learn from their experience and also convince them that you are the right fit.
– Lucy Hong ‘12