How MBA internships work

MBA internships are one of the highlights of going to a 2-year MBA program in India and abroad. Many students who take them for granted risk losing out on some excellent takeaways from their summer internship. Think about it this way. You are fortunate enough to get a shot at what Rahul baba and NaMo will never have – the opportunity to intern for your dream job. Why wouldn’t you want to grab it with both hands?

After all that we’ve covered on this blog, we realised that we haven’t touched upon MBA internships yet. It was high time to fix that. So in this mini-series we cover the basics of how summer internships work, what kind of companies recruit interns, how much do they pay and what you can do to make the most out of it.

What is an MBA internship?

Academic programs tend to be fairly theoretical for the most part. An MBA internship allows students to break away from it and get back into the corporate world to try out some of the fantastic concepts they’ve learnt in the business school class. Then they head back into the classroom to finish the rest of the MBA program.

How long does an MBA internship last?

Typically 2-3 months. The actual duration would depend on whether you are joining a pre-defined internship program (generally happens at bigger companies that have been doing this on a structured basis for several years) or a one-off / ad-hoc project that has been created for you based on the company’s immediate needs.

We have come across instances where MBA students have completed multiple (smaller) internships within the allotted time-frame.

What kind of companies offer MBA internship programs?

Many companies that recruit MBA graduates offer internships as well. These could be the top names in:

Management consulting – McKinsey, Bain, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte Consulting, Accenture

Investment banking / Private equity – Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citi, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, Blackstone

Technology – Google, Amazon, IBM, Ebay, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel

FMCG – P&G, GE, Nike, Pepsi, Unilever

…and almost every other industry you can think of.

What work will I do as a summer intern?

Here are some examples of MBA internship projects and assignments:

Finance internship example: Microsoft recruits interns for the finance manager role to track and analyse business metrics, create financial models for evaluating investments. Here’s more on this role.

Marketing internship example: P&G offered assistant brand manager internships to work on real branding projects, executing product launches and working on partnerships with creative teams.

Consulting internship example: McKinsey offers 8-12 week long internships in management consulting. You’ll get the opportunity to work on client projects and if you do a good job, they’d make a permanent offer. Read more on this.

How do I get an MBA internship?

There are essentially two ways to get internships.

1. You choose from the list of internship opportunities available through the careers team. Many of these tend to be pretty lame. For the interesting ones, there might be a competitive process among the interested students.

2. You may not see your dream company coming to campus to offer you the role that you want. In that case, you can reach out to companies that you’d like to work for and try to get a foot in the door.

Are summer internships graded?

Yes, they are. Though it can be a lot of fun and all that action might give you the feeling that you are back in the real world, it’s still a part of your MBA program. Your internship mentor would be called upon by the MBA school to provide an evaluation about your performance. Apart from this, you may be expected to submit a report or a mini-thesis based on the work you did during the MBA internship period.

The introductory post can’t cover all juicy parts. So we’ll leave that for the next posts, where we’ll look at the summer internships salary at the top international MBA programs and how you can improve your odds of converting an internship into a pre-placement offer.


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Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

6 Comments

  1. vivek dutt says:

    hey kamat,
    can you please tell me how good is an mba from rics school of built environment associated with amity bschool noida in construction management? what about the career opportunities after this? they are promising that companies would be hiring the students but how about the careers of the people in this field. I am a mechanical engineering graduate working for an IT giant since an year and sick of IT now. i want to take an industrial shift and get into my core.

    thank you,

    regards,
    vivek dutt
    9962256591

  2. Sameer Kamat says:

    hey dutt,
    [sorry for copying your style]

    I’ve never heard of that school, buddy. you haven’t shared much about your profile and what you want to do post MBA. so tough to provide any useful inputs.

  3. Trupti says:

    hey sameer, if i did my MBA in marketing from India then .can i do my internship in abroad mostly in US or UK?

  4. Sameer Kamat says:

    Trupti, that would be difficult unless you (or your bschool) has an international network to tap into.

    Many have exchange programs with other bschools, but that primarily for the academic part.

  5. Jital says:

    I am presently in my 2nd sem. I wanna take up finance. I have a couple of queries

    1) Since i wanna take up finance, is it important to do an internship in finance ? because most companies do not share their financial status with interns.

    2) How good is it to do an internship in banks and PSU? Kindly highlight on both ( banks and PSU) separately.

    Thanks!

  6. Sudarsan says:

    hi,I’m presently in my 2nd sem. I’m planning for HR. What should I took for my internship

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