Posted by fmba
on Jun 12, 2016 in MBA Internship
| 0 comments
For many MBA students, the path to the internship took a lot of hard work. First, you have to get excellent grades in undergrad. Then, you need to work for a few years (and be successful) at a branded, impressive company known for selective hiring. Next, you line up the grades, the essays, the GMAT, and the references to land a coveted spot in a top MBA program. And finally, you get an internship offer at a top companyoften a company that only recruits from five to 10 top MBA programs. Students from around the world would work for free for such an opportunity. You can see the light at the tunnel.
What matters now is succeeding during the internship. Can you successfully adapt to a top companys expectations? And to a new culture? You only have three monthswhat will it take to demonstrate competence and fit?
I was recently talking to Elizabeth Diley, the recruiting manager for MBA hiring at General Mills, one of the worlds best companies at developing leaders (No. 3 on Fortunes list). After almost eight years in recruiting, Elizabeth has since moved to an internal staffing role within General Mills developing marketing talent through their rotational and leadership programs. I asked her how students can succeed during the internship. Because of Dileys connection to the recruiting industry, she had several illuminating stories to share. Below is her insight on the mistakes MBA students makeand how to prevent them.
Top Mistakes MBA Students Make and How to Prevent Them
1. Believing That The Company Must Adapt To Them: One of the most common mistakes MBA students make, across industries, is to focus on what they want, or what they need. However, the business community is different. Interns (and employees) serve the customerand bossesand teamand subordinates. In fact, those who are most successful figure out how to make others lives easier. They work hard to make smart recommendations that help strengthen the company. As an example, a common complaint is my boss doesnt give me enough time. If you think about it, that means that either the boss doesnt have the time or they dont want to give the intern the time. Either way, complaining wont help.
The Fix: Shift the paradigmServe Others Rather Than Expecting Others To Serve You. Those who have low(er) expectations of others and recognize that they have been invited by a premier company to demonstrate their ability to fit into the company have a greater chance of succeeding. Simply, its the job of the intern to fit with their boss and company; it is not the companys job to adapt to the intern. While great bosses will try and adapt to the intern, the intern is more likely to be successful if they take responsibility for adapting to the company.
2. Inability To Solve Problems Or Overcome Obstacles: Continuing with the above example, there are many ways to get the help needed to do a great job. There are peers, and documents, and cross-functional resources, and yes, the internet. If the boss is swamped, how can the intern facilitate more stream-lined interactions (e.g., an agenda, very tight and focused meetings that emphasize decision making) in a manner she prefers? (Some bosses like to talk and others like to read; its the interns job to find the most effective way for their boss.) Are there alumni from the interns school who might be more willing to provide coaching? At the MBA level, companies pay $100,000+ for full-time hires and expect interns to navigate challenges. One of the first will be whether the intern can get the job done without a paint-by-numbers template.
The Fix: A skill that is not measured in school, yet will determine success, is the ability to find creative solutions to obstacles and challenges. Not enough time with the boss? Identify what is needed and get it elsewhere. The internship is designed, in part, to see whether students can overcome challenges...