During most of my first year at Johnson, I worked toward landing the best possible internship that would prepare me for a successful career. At the end of January, I was fortunate to join two other Johnson MBAs in accepting offers for the brand management internship program at Unilever, and thus spent the rest of the second semester celebrating that achievement. However, as the second semester came to a close, I became increasingly nervous about the summer. Was I ready? Would it be a good culture fit? Would I have access to resources I needed in order to succeed? Would I be as prepared as interns from other MBA programs?
After only a few days on the job, I was pleased to find that Johnson had prepared me with all of the tools I needed to succeed. After reflecting on my internship experience at the end of summer, I realized there were certain aspects of the Johnson MBA that allowed me and my Johnson peers to stand apart from other interns and excel with our summer projects.
- Experience managing large, nebulous projects. During the first year of Johnson’s Two-year MBA in Ithaca program, students complete an Immersion. While Immersion programs differ, each provides students with hands-on opportunities to practice dissecting projects that are vague and ambiguous into bite-sized pieces, focusing in on points that really matter. Most internship projects are similarly large and nebulous, and having had that hands-on experience just months before made all the difference.
- Teamwork. The curriculum at Johnson is incredibly community- and team-focused. While the internship experience is your time to shine as an individual, it is also a time to make good with other company interns and employees. Then you’ll be able to get the help that you need, when you need it, and find people who will be your advocate when it comes time to deciding which interns are going to receive full-time offers.
- Humility. One of the common traits of Johnson students is how humble they are, and in an internship setting this is critical. It’s important to show what you’re capable of, but employees who have been working at the company for more than 10 years are not going to be impressed if you act like you know everything. Asking questions when you need to and showing eagerness to learn from those who have been successful goes a long way and makes you stand out.
At the end of summer I felt a sense of accomplishment in being able to complete my intern project with confidence. It made me proud to be part of the Johnson community that supports and guides its students to be successful interns and business people.