5.3.1. What if you don’t get a summer internship offer?

Do not be disappointed; not everybody finds a job for the summer. If you happen to be one of the unlucky ones, do not worry, it is not the end of the world. Try the following:

– Keep looking past the recruiting season. Many companies hire at the last minute – planning for internship recruiting is hard to do. Keep your Placement Office informed, and have them notify of any new opportunity. Continue your off-campus search even into the summer.

– Go back to your country with lots of resumes. Even if your goal was working in the US, it is better to work in your country than not working at all. You can try again in the future, if you still want to.

– Take a look at less traditional summer jobs, including non-profit organizations all over the world, university related projects, and so on.

– Ask your placement office for consulting referrals. Local companies always contact business schools to get students to work on specific projects or problems. Besides the work experience you will get, it will show initiative and the ability to be a self-starter.

– Create your job. Find a small company in your geographic area, and offer your help for a low or no compensation. Remember, at this point in your career, work experience is more important than money.

– Start a business. With lots of time and the school’s resources, it is a great opportunity to start a business plan and seriously think about that business idea you have been considering. Every major B-school has small business incubating initiatives, and some of them have entrepreneur- specific programs (such as those at Wharton, Anderson, Stanford, Sloan, and Stern).

– Take courses. If you can get credits toward your degree, wonderful. Otherwise, look for other areas and schools. It is a great opportunity to pick-up a new language, computer skills, project management, and so on.

– If nothing else works, the next best thing to do is travel (the farther and more exotic, the better). Have a very good story prepared on why you decided to travel instead of working. Even better: during your travel try either to learn (as in learning a foreign language) or to help (like volunteering to teach or consult in a developed country).

Whatever you decide to do, take some time to reflect and improve your recruiting plan. Identify what went wrong and work on fixing the problems. Use the Placement Office counselors (if they still work during the summer, they will not be very busy), library, and other resources. Re-assess your career goals and your approach to job-search.