You’ve spent the past three months working hard at your MBA internship and chances are, your days have been jam packed. Between learning the ins and outs of your role and getting to know the lay of the land, you may have missed a few small yet important details — details that can make or break your internship experience.
You see, successful MBAs don’t just put in the work and walk away with a list of accomplishments at the end of their internships. They make some specific strategic moves that help them nail down their future full-time role. The good news is that there’s still time for you to do the same! Here are seven important action steps you can take today to put yourself ahead of the competition come recruiting season.
- Don’t coast.
A top performer like you would never let the last few days of lazy, hazy summer get the best of you, right? Sure, it can be a little tempting to give yourself a break as the end of your internship looms on the horizon. But even if you don’t pursue a full-time role with your current company, it’s important to maintain a good impression among your colleagues. After all, you still need good references to help you land your next role!
So resist the temptation to take an extra long lunch break or cut out of work a little early. If you’re feeling burned out, schedule time for self care or even a mini-getaway on the weekends so you can return to the office refreshed and ready to work.
- Schedule a review for feedback.
If a review is not part of your current internship program, it should be. Take the initiative to schedule one and prepare an agenda in advance so your manager knows which skills and talents you want him or her to assess. Use this time to get a crystal clear view of your strengths and weaknesses so you can hone or improve those skills in the coming year. Having this information will also give you a good idea of the types of projects or challenges you should pursue during the school year.
- Secure at least two LinkedIn recommendations/references.
Speaking of references, it becomes much harder to nail down busy managers and colleagues once you are out of sight in the Fall. Before your internship ends, request two or three LinkedIn recommendations while your work is still fresh in everyone’s minds. Even then, you may need to jog their memories with a few bullet points outlining your accomplishments. And while you’re at it, make sure these same colleagues are willing to give references on your behalf.
- Choose a mentor.
If your internship doesn’t have a formal mentor program, hopefully by now you’ve grown close with a senior colleague who is a good candidate. (And hopefully, this person is already on your reference list!) If no one comes to mind at the moment, it’s not too late to find a good mentor. Think about your ideal mentor profile (read this advice to get you started). Once you’ve determined the qualities your mentor should possess, share it with your colleagues to see if they have recommendations. Reach out to that person for a quick coffee or lunch and begin building a relationship with them.
- Update your job materials right away.
The MBA recruitment season starts earlier each year and moves fast. Even if you receive a full-time offer at the end of your program, it’s best to be prepared in case it isn’t quite what you want or, worse, it falls through. So update your job search materials with your accomplishments and learnings while they are still fresh in your mind. Besides your LinkedIn profile, resume, and online portfolio, don’t forget to update your WeSolv profile so recruiters on our platform know what you’ve been up to this summer.
- Sign up to attend an employee resource group (ERG) meeting.
Many companies offer employee-led groups commonly referred to as ERGs or affinity groups. Themes can run the gamut from interests like volunteering to underrepresented groups. Even as you wrap up your internship, these groups are worth attending to network beyond your business unit. It’s also good to observe how these groups impact the the company’s policies and culture.
- Get clear on the culture.
It may seem that the length of an internship offers limited opportunity to fully assess a company’s work environment. But if you are anxiously waiting for a full-time offer, now is the time to dig deep and ask some important culture questions like the five featured here on the Achievers’ blog. Carefully consider how the workplace handles communication, conflict, diversity, and inclusion. You don’t have to be a culture expert to figure out if a company offers the right environment for you to pursue your greatness!
Take advantage of the last weeks of your internship and the opportunities it offers a high performer like you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tanya Stanfield is the Director of Operations and Communications for WeSolv.