Leverage Your Summer Internship for Future Success

Lindy Keyser and Cameron Mitchell
As summer comes to an end, TCU MBA students are wrapping up internships at top companies like Bank of America, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, and AT&T. They have worked in locations spanning from New York City to Buenos Aires to Phoenix, as well as the thriving DFW Metroplex.

Since many full-time MBA students are career changers, these internships can be a crucial opportunity to enrich the students' resumes with demonstrated results or skills sets in their targeted new field.   

“The summer internship is a prime opportunity to incorporate all [a student’s] newly acquired skills and knowledge,” says Ashley Feldhues, Assistant Director, Career Education and Advising. “Internships are designed to apply classroom theory and experience to a practical work environment.”

Internships can be one potential steppingstone to a post-graduate career, allowing many students to turn their summer stints into full-time job opportunities. An internship also provides students and their employers to feel each other out and determine if the arrangement is a good long-term fit.

Given these far-reaching implications, a summer internship is not something to take lightly. As you step into this next phase of your MBA education, keep these tips in mind for leveraging your internship to set yourself up for the future.

Seek certainty. “You should be looking to confirm that your function and industry are a good fit with where you see yourself long-term,” says Feldhues. “Be assessing whether the position uses all of your strengths, as well as what challenges you’ll encounter.”

Solicit constructive feedback. You should walk away from your internship with “practical, constructive feedback on your performance as an employee,” Feldhues says. “Part of your supervisor’s role will be coaching you toward being an effective team member, and this feedback will no doubt shape your next position.”

Form positive connections. Your internship should leave you with a newly formed network of connections that you can leverage in the future. “Whether you’re interning for a small or large company, you will be working among experts in the field who have great advice and suggestions for who else you can get to know,” Feldhues says. “Take advantage of being in the office every day, because it’s easier to have a 30-minute meeting with leaders of the company when you’re already on site.”

TCU’s Graduate Career Center staff work closely with students during their first year to assess internship opportunities, build a strong resume and develop dynamic interviewing skills. Following the internship, Graduate Career Center staff help to “provide a framework around asking the employer about a full-time offer,” says Feldhues. In the student’s second year, the staff works with the student to “capture their summer experience on their resumes for a full-time career search.”

Using the support, resources and toolkit provided by the Graduate Career Center, you can parlay your summer experience into a full-time employment opportunity.

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