Kid’s story: Return of the Jedi

Timeline: very late Sunday evening 101010.

I see: a pile of unread photocopies due this week; plus I’m taking public policy classes, so the pile is huge.

I hear:  Hole.

I smell: Ange au Démon (don’t ask).

I feel: hopeful.

“So what did you do this summer?” seems to be the popular question lately. Well, one thing I didn’t do was write on this blog, so here’s my shot at a comeback with the new blog rules in place, trying to answer that question.

I was working in my internship. This may not sound like much, but an important, if not essential, part of the full-time MBA program is an internship with a company that students usually get for the duration of summer. As far as I’ve heard from my peers, you can expect to be given a project that lasts around 10-12 weeks.

It still doesn’t sound like much, but then you have to factor in the fact that I’m an international student, and it’s more of an achievement for us to get an internship. You see, many companies will not even bother hiring international students, since many internships are really 3-month-long interviews for full-time positions. Most international students would require sponsorship for a working visa in order to be hired, and that certainly sounds complicated and scary to many. However, you’d be surprised to see how easy and cheap the process actually is. Despite this, many companies are simply not interested in the whole thing.

Fortunately, there are exceptions to every rule, and this case is not the exception, so there are exceptions… umm…  what?? Well, the point is that there are still companies who are willing to give internships to international students for one of two reasons: a) they simply don’t plan on offering full-time positions but rather need the help with a specific project; or b) they are willing to sponsor a working visa if the need is there at the end of the internship. I really hope mine is a case of reason b.

My internship is with Asea Brown Boveri, one of the largest companies in the world and which is headquartered in Switzerland. Since my particular internship is year-long (score!), I was not assigned a specific project, but rather am helping with everyday tasks in the worldwide Supply Chain Management group for one of ABB’s 5 divisions. In short: I am drowning in spreadsheets. And in case you’re wondering, yes, I love the job. I have also been fortunate enough to have extremely friendly coworkers and superiors. The company has a very traditional and respectful culture and I really look forward to going every morning.

Anyway, the intention of this post is not to brag about how awesome my internship has been (although it has been awesome), but rather to let people know that there are some excellent internships out there. This is not the case for everyone, as I’ve heard from some of my classmates, but it certainly can happen. My best advice is start looking early and work with the office of career management, they are very helpful. Also, don’t get discouraged if you haven’t gotten an internship by November of your first year in the program, since many of the best opportunities open during the spring or so.

One of the drawbacks of having an ongoing internship is that when added to a full-time class schedule you basically forgo having much of a life outside those two things. But hey: no pain, no gain. After a while, you find your rhythm and enjoy life to the fullest… or you could have a nervous breakdown. In any case, the pain won’t last forever, and that’s something to be happy about.

It’s back to reading for me, so I bid you farewell.

“And the sun goes down, I watch it slip away…”  – Hole