5 Tips to Land Your Dream Internship

March 13, 2024
Stock photo of bank building looking up

An MBA student and career center professional reflect on winning strategies for landing an internship that launches a career. 

A student can learn the concepts of Business, Finance, and Marketing in the classroom, but there is something to be said about a university that prepares them to use these principles in the workplace.

At Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, every MBA student with less than two years of professional experience is put to the test through an internship after their second semester. For these students, an internship is more than a bridge between theory and real-life application. It is a bridge between educational and professional success. 

In 2022, Jude Enajero moved to Waco from Nigeria to pursue a dual MBA/Masters of Information Science (MSIS) degree. His passion for finance made an internship at Citibank an appealing choice. 

"I was looking for an opportunity to understand financial markets in a diverse global context,” Jude said. “Citibank was the perfect fit. I was able to leverage my analytical skills while learning from the best in the field.” 

Jude Enajero headshot
Jude Enajero
Laura Pahmiyer headshot
Laura Pahmiyer

Below, he joins Laura Pahmiyer, a career success professional at The Baylor University Career Center, to offer tips for success for students who come after him. 

1. Start the search as early as possible. 

Immediately after beginning his dual degree program, Jude connected with the Career Center and explained the type of opportunity he was seeking in the finance arena. With the help of Career Center staff, he revamped his resume and began an intensive search. 

“My best advice for a student looking for an internship in a competitive market is to get the earliest possible start and get as close to the Career Center as you can,” Jude said. “There are so many ways they will shape you for success.”

2. Start with your network. 

It is not uncommon to open a job posting and see that hundreds of other candidates have already applied. Networking offers candidates the best chance of sending their resume to the top of the digital stack.

Laura estimates that close to 80 percent of job candidates find success through networking. While first- or second-degree connections are most valuable, successful networking does not need to start with existing contacts. In fact, Laura often encourages people to go on LinkedIn and start sending messages to strategic connections. 

“Say you want to intern for General Electric in Chicago,” she said. “You can search by company and location to find Baylor alumni who might be willing to connect and share what their experience has been like. This is the first step to making friends and allies. Even if the person you reach out to is not the hiring manager, they may be the person who sends a resume to the hiring manager.”

Not long after Jude connected with Amine Qourzal, assistant director of the Career Center, Amine emailed him the job listing for an internship at Citibank. Jude had already met a recruiter for Citibank through the National Black MBA Association, so he reached out to his contact and let him know he planned to apply. Several interviews later, he landed the position.

3. Take advantage of specialized tools at the Career Center. 

In 2024, most recruiting software uses AI to weed out resumes before a human takes a first look. Sometimes it is something as small as having non-standard shaped bullet points, special characters or a header that triggers software to reject an application. 

Career Center staff leverage their knowledge of this software to help students remove any barriers to consideration. 

Students can also use a software called JobScan, which mimics the AI within recruiting software, to better match their resume to a job posting. If a resume mentions “strong communication skills,” for example, JobScan will prompt a candidate to change the phrase to “excellent communication skills” to match the language in the job posting. Small changes add up, raising a student’s chances of making it through the initial AI barrier. 

“When JobScan provides a match score of 65 to 75 percent, we can feel confident that a student’s resume will make it through the initial round,” Laura said. 

The Career Center also provides access to tools like Career Shift, which compiles job listings from internal company websites in addition to LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter and other professional websites to present students with as many options as possible. 

4. Prepare for a steep learning curve. 

Jude joined Citibank’s analytics team with several years of experience in finance, but his internship expanded his experience in ways he did not expect. 

“The finance world moves at the speed of light,” he said. “It is an exciting environment, not a relaxed one. You respond to emails immediately, not by the end of the day.”

It also took some time for him to adjust to the hyper-social culture of a large U.S. corporation. Once he settled in, though, he discovered countless connections with the people around him. A self-proclaimed foodie, he savored the challenge of making Nigerian joloff better than his Ghanean counterparts, or coming up with the perfect restaurant recommendations for interns who were new to Dallas. As he worked with colleagues to embed Generative AI into team processes, he found that the work was even more rewarding because of the social ties he was forming. 

5. Consider the fit carefully.

An internship gives students the opportunity to evaluate whether the daily tasks, job location, company culture and social environment are a solid fit. 

“Students should be asking themselves questions like ‘Do I like being around my coworkers?’ and ‘Could I see myself in this type of role or industry in five years?’” Laura said. 

When students utilize the Baylor Career Center, the benefits pay dividends. According to the Baylor Career Center Success Data, 95 percent of students were placed in a job after graduation. Laura advises students to maintain a connection with their former colleagues after the summer is over, checking in now and again to make sure they stay on the radar. 

“Keep it casual and cultivate social ties without being overbearing,” she said. 

This summer, Jude will rejoin Citibank in a full-time role as a Personal Banking Associate. 

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue growing in this environment,” He said. “Baylor gave me the foundation I needed to get my foot in the door."

Are you looking for an opportunity to launch your career? Click here to learn more about Baylor’s MBA programs or fill out this form to speak directly with an Enrollment Coordinator.