The first question you’re asked upon returning to school for your second year as a full time MBA student is: “How was your internship?” Whether it is driven by social convention (ask about something you know), or pure curiosity (what else could I have been doing with my summer), I have noticed it is more often than not the best way to kick off a conversation after not seeing your classmates for 10 weeks. And, interestingly, I have noticed that the answers vary dramatically from person to person.
The internship experience means something different to everyone. It can be viewed as an opportunity to push the boundaries because you’re only there for 10 weeks. Or it can be viewed as a test run for a full time job. It can help you decide what you would love to do after graduation. Or it can help you decide what you absolutely would hate to do after graduation. You can meet people that inspire you. You can meet people that demonstrate exactly the kind of manager/worker that you do not want to be. You will most likely find that everything you learned in your first year of school is useful and helps you with your work and decision making! How fantastic!
The internship experience is ultimately a learning experience. As incoming students you will start to identify your potential internship opportunities before you’ve even started classes! And I remember how overwhelming that felt. An important thing to remember is that YOU have the power to make your internship great. Because what makes an internship truly useful is what you learn from it. So do everything in your power to find the right internship for you. Then do everything in your power to learn everything you can from it.
I was very fortunate to have a truly incredible internship experience. As the sole intern at a garment factory in Bali, I had the power to experiment with ways of improving operations and motivation in a new (to me) culture. I met incredible people and we were able to achieve truly great things in my short time there. That short experience has helped to shape me for my second year of the MBA program. And I hope you have that same sentiment upon completing your internship as well.