5 (More) Tips For the MBA Internship Interview Process
Al Dea is the Founder of MBASchooled, a website that focuses on showcasing life as an MBA student. His work on business school and career development has been featured in media outlets such as Business Insider, The World Economic Forum, and Time Magazine.
Al founded MBASchooled in 2015 while in business school at the University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) and holds a Bachelors Degree in Marketing and Theology from Boston College. A native of Rochester, New York, Al currently resides in San Francisco where he works in the consulting industry, and in his free time, like everyone else, enjoys hiking, tech startups, and going to brunch.
MBA internship interview season is here! This is both an exciting and stressful time for MBA students. After countless presentations, happy hours, informational interviews and cover letters it is finally time to find out where they will be spending their summers. To provide some perspective, I’ve compiled a list of six things that you should remember while navigating the internship interview process.
Speak the Language
One of the biggest compliments you can get when you travel to a new country is to be treated like a local. In order for that to happen, you need to speak and relate to the language and culture. The same works for companies – if you want them to like you and accept you, you need to start talking in their language.
To “learn” a company’s language, I immersed myself in as much content and material as I could. Whether it was reading their 10-K, analyst notes on the company, or reviewing my notes from informational interviews I did with employees at the firm, I did my best to truly learn and then use the language and culture of the company I was interviewing with.
I know the advice “stay calm” will probably not do much for anyone so I’m not going to suggest you do that (however, if you’re an even-keeled person, good for you, stay that way in the recruiting process)
If you do tend to get high and low at least try to hit the reset button every time you interview with another company. Whatever you did in your interview with company A, forget when you move onto Company B. If you have a good interview – Awesome! Figure out how to repeat it again. If you have a bad one, no worries, move onto the next one.
The internship interview process can be a lengthily one so it helps to stay persistent. If you’re someone who does get pretty high and pretty low try to focus on each individual battle one at a time – it will hopefully seem less daunting or nerve-wracking.
Prepare Good Questions
There is a good chance you’ll get the opportunity to ask your interviewer some questions at the end of the interview. Use this time wisely and ask thoughtful and interesting questions that will leave a memorable impression with your interviewer. To do this, prep your questions in advance so you don’t walk in empty handed. Sure, you may improvise one or two on the spot that are relevant to what you discussed in the interview but make sure to take advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate your thoughtfulness and interest in the opportunity.
Keep Doors Open
There are very few hard “No’s” in the interview process. As such, if you’re still interested in a company (even if you think you aren’t) it never hurts to keep doors open. You might end up recruiting there for full-time, or, end up looking there again later in your career. For some, it may even come sooner. For instance, the company that I interned at originally turned me down for a different position. When I was looking later on in the recruiting cycle I saw they had a similar position but on a different team and reached back out to the recruiter. Since I had already interviewed and had done good enough they put me on the list for this new posting. That never would have happened if I hadn’t stayed in touch.
Regardless of the outcome, many of you will be interviewing with the leading companies, non-profits, and startup organizations in the world. Getting the chance to intern for one of these leading organizations is pretty cool! Yes, your future is important – take the process seriously, but don’t forget to take a step back and remember that this is a privilege to be grateful for. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to demonstrate your gratitude. Be polite and gracious to those who you meet in the process. People will respect you for it and you never know when karma will come back around.