Internships: Expect the Unexpected
By Erin Cyrier
A common reason why students complete an internship is to pave the way for a job offer. Part of Baylor’s MBA program is doing just this, and many of the students who completed an internship this summer returned with job offers. However, many of them would explain that while this was a major takeaway from their experiences, they gained intangible benefits that will apply far beyond their new roles.
As the assistant director of the Baylor Career Center, Amine Qourzal understands that an internship is more than a learning experience.
“Internships give students an understanding of their future career and job preferences,” Qourzal said.
More often than not, an internship is not “love at first sight.” Even if students come back with job offers at the end of their experience, this is not an indication of a perfect fit. A company’s culture, team structure, values, location and job function all play a role in defining the experience.
Not all hope is lost though because “love at first sight” can go the other way around. Qourzal shared a testimony of a student who had the opportunity to be an intern at a company but was highly skeptical if they would like the company. Once they completed their internship, they were blown away by their experience and went on to work for them full-time.
What can be gained from both perspectives is that the internship experience creates boldness in MBA candidates. One example of this is current Full-Time MBA student Anna Bilton, who moved to New York City, New York, for an internship this summer.
“Stepping outside my comfort zone and taking a risk by interning in a new city in a field I had little experience in gave me many opportunities to learn and grow both personally and professionally," Bilton said. "I gained valuable skills in marketing, but I also gained new perspectives by connecting with people from diverse backgrounds, developed resiliency through facing challenges and adapting to a new environment, grew my independence and confidence, and became a more effective communicator. While I expected to learn hard skills related to marketing and finance, I came away having unexpectedly developed many soft skills as well.”
Across multiple experiences, many students agreed that their internships did not go as planned, but they did not leave empty handed. Some key takeaways include being okay with failure, ranking company values with higher importance, important qualities to look for in a supervisor, how to be assertive, how to ask for more responsibility and the importance of effective communication on a team.
So, why is it important to complete an internship as an MBA? While it may lead to a full-time offer, students gain unexpected insights into their desired career field that either confirm their professional goals or lead them in another direction. Thus, the skills they develop during the internship equip students for any role they step into in the future.