How Do I Get an MBA Internship? Application Tips & Top Companies
Securing an MBA internship is one of the most important parts of the MBA process. Typically taking place in the summer between the first and second years of an MBA program, an MBA internship provides experiential learning, a boosted network, and the chance at a full-time job offer at a top company upon graduation.
MBA internships are often seen as the pipeline between school and career. Lasting between 10 and 12 weeks, they give interns a chance to put what they’ve learned into practice, and they also provide hands-on training that will be essential when joining the workforce. Those looking to switch careers will find MBA internships particularly valuable, as they can gain experience in their desired field and build a network to support them in it simultaneously.
MBA internships are highly competitive, and securing the right one takes research, planning, and outreach. But those who succeed at securing an MBA internship will reap benefits in their finances, their education, and their career.
To get a look at every step on the way to securing an MBA internship, and learn about the most in-demand internships available to MBA students, read on.
Steps to Securing an MBA Internship
Once you’ve been accepted to an MBA program, it’s already time to start preparing for your internship. Company information sessions can start popping up on campus as early as one month after an MBA program begins. Research the companies and their open internship positions beforehand. Take notes. Some of those companies will log attendance at these sessions, too, so your name will already be on file when you apply.
Utilize your fellow classmates and newfound MBA network to begin preparing for your internship interview right away: most internship interviews will contain both a technical section and a personal section.
You should begin preparing your resume, too, keeping in mind that each internship requires a slightly different skill set. Know what a company wants, and how you can provide it. It’s never too early to begin reaching out to alumni, either: give your network ample time to deliver.
Develop a Strategy
In the same way that you developed a strategy for applying to MBA programs, you will need to develop a strategy for applying to MBA internships. Are you looking for a career change, or are you looking to build capability within a particular area of focus? Knowing what you don’t want can be just as important as knowing what you do want. But don’t be afraid to deviate, and keep an open mind about what options are out there.
Many MBA students look to internships as a pipeline to a job offer after graduation, but that’s not the only purpose they serve. A Financial Times survey of 1,150 top MBA graduates found that respondents primarily used internships as a way to try out different employment sectors, and 62 percent went on to work in a different industry than the one they interned in. And remember that internships are not jobs: you’re expected to learn as you go.
Pool Your Resources
Securing an MBA internship is not something you have to do alone. MBA programs are breeding grounds for top business talent, and top companies, as well as the programs themselves, know this. Structured recruitment, which is coordinated between companies and MBA programs, can help an MBA student find the right internship through company information sessions, resume workshops, and internship coaching. Utilize the resources that your program has available; they want you to succeed, too.
On top of standard recruitment comes entrepreneurial recruitment, where MBA students put in the sweat themselves. This mainly includes networking through peers, LinkedIn, and the program’s alumni network. Alumni are not only a valuable means of securing internships, they’re also a way of finding out which internships are right for you. Channel your inner extrovert and tap into the knowledge of those who have been in your shoes.
It’s not over once you secure your MBA internship. These are highly competitive, fast-paced positions that demand performance above and beyond what’s written in their description. If you perform well and enjoy the experience, there may be a job offer waiting for you at graduation.
But even if that’s not your end goal, internships are nutrient-rich in educational moments, and the expanded network you gain from working in one of these positions can pay dividends long into your career. And after you’re done, be a good steward of the MBA ecosystem and be that samaritan in a new MBA student’s inbox when they ask you about how to secure an internship.
The Most In-Demand MBA Internships
AB InBev is a multinational drink and brewing company with over $9 billion in annual income, and its global MBA internship is one of the most sought-after in the world. After a one-week induction at the company’s New York office, interns will visit two different geographic zones to learn about business operations in different markets. A robust mentorship program and a strong alumni network make this 10- to 12-week internship one with major and lasting benefits.
The world’s most valuable brand, Amazon, is home to some of the most in-demand MBA internships. Often clustered with other Big Tech heavyweights like Google, Apple, and Facebook, Amazon has a major footprint in cloud computing, digital streaming, and even AI. But its dominance in e-commerce is unparalleled. MBA internships at Amazon include roles in retail leadership, product management, pathway operations, program management, and finance leadership.
JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the United States, and its MBA internships are highly sought after by MBA students looking to make their mark in the financial services sector. Graduate internships at JPMorgan include roles in investment banking, compliance, financial markets, quantitative analytics, and wealth management.
These are fast-paced, highly competitive internships. Each lasts between 10 and 12 weeks, with interns earning salaries on par with first-year analyst jobs.
McKinsey has long been an MBA darling: in 2019, they hired over 1,000 MBA graduates and recruited another 500-plus MBA interns. As a worldwide management consulting firm, McKinsey has a major international presence and expertise across a wide variety of sectors, giving interns and employees the chance to interact with practically any facet of business and management.
It’s a lucrative endeavor, too: MBA interns at McKinsey earn an estimated $13,000 monthly salary, meaning that for their 10-week commitment they can earn roughly 70 percent of the average American’s annual salary.