By Iliana Bobova
Head of MBA Admissions Consulting, Access MBA Reach
Internships are the bridge between education and the requirements of the real business world. Internships are a flexible opportunity to gain hands-on experience on different positions, sectors and companies related to your education. They are a practical tool to develop skills and attitudes and test how adequate they are to the employers’ demands, as well as to your personal preferences. This will help you adjust both your studies and career development plans. In addition, having done an internship makes a huge difference in you communication with future employers – you already have your real examples, success stories, achievements and lessons learned in a business environment. This creates a common language with the recruiters.
How internships help your career development
If you have done one or several internships before your first full-time employment, the chances of selecting a job which you both enjoy and are good at are higher. Internships are short, flexible and a great learning experience without the stress of high responsibility. You can learn and experiment. You can observe the other roles in a company in addition to being focused on your responsibilities. This experience contributes to your maturity, and makes your choices of full-time positions and career progress better informed.
“My experience in Shanghai and my internship have shaped my future. Through this program I now know three things I didn’t know before coming here: I want to go into digital planning, I want to work abroad, and I want to live in China. I could never have predicted any of those things in my life. This has been the best and most eye-opening 10 weeks, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I will always remember everything and everyone from this adventure and can’t wait to see where the experience takes me next.” shares M. Boling, Chapman University.
The famous Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs are focused at professionals who are clear that they would like to develop as business leaders and managers. MBAs are demanding and require a great investment of effort, time and financial resources, so you need to be convinced of the benefit you will gain from an MBA, and carefully evaluate the return on your investment.
How internships matter for your MBA experience
The classical MBA will require that eligible applicants have at least two or three years of full-time work experience. Internships are often not counted in this case. However, they add to the quality of your later full-time work experience, and you need to reveal and illustrate these benefits in your application package, particularly in the essays and your resume.
It is worth mentioning that there are some MBA programs which are targeted at fresh graduates with zero or up to two years of full-time work experience. In this case, your internship will bring much value both to your MBA application and chances for admission, and to the actual MBA studies. It makes a great difference in the MBA classroom when you have hands-on experience, even through an internship.
Internships are often a part of the MBA studies as well. If you have done one during your undergraduate studies, you will be much better prepared and focused to maximize your benefits from the MBA internship as well, which is often a step to your career growth and new opportunities.
Undergraduate internships are a good first step to your first full-time job. Often you can stay with the same company after your internship. Doing a voluntary internship also shows that you are committed to practical knowledge and achieving results, you are active and open to opportunities, learning and development. These skills are a must in the successful managers’ portfolio. Work on them now.