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Is it possible to get a good summer internship while completing a part-time MBA?


Brooklyn Academy Of Music Hosts Career Fair For Job SeekersMark from the University of Colorado at Denver asked: 

Is it possible to get a good summer internship while completing a part-time MBA program?

Hi Mark –

To be completely honest – it’s going to be challenging.  Not impossible, but challenging.

People enrolled in part-time MBA programs are typically (or thought to be typically) employed full-time.  Why else would they be in school only part-time, right?

So, the general perception what a “part-time MBA student is” will be working against you.  Perception can be more powerful than reality, so you have to manage that message carefully.

So, where do you start?

How do you define a “good summer internship”?

This is a really important questions because your definition of “good” may be very different from someone else’s definition of good.

What industries are you hoping to explore through this internship?  What kind of experience are you seeking?  How competitive are the fields you wish to enter?  How much do you hope/expect to earn during the internship?  How far are you willing to travel to do the internship?

Put your MBA training to work: Do a quick SWOT analysis on yourself and the job market in the fields you wish to enter.  Layer these analyses on top of each other to see where your strengths and opportunities align with those of the fields you are targeting and to identify the obstacles and threats you may be facing in pursuit of the internship.

Are you using the resources available to you?

Are you using Graduate Career Connections at CU Denver?  Are you taking advantage of the resources and services provided by the CU Denver Career Center? They cannot place you into an internship, but they can be a good source of opportunities, connections advice and assistance. Don’t neglect the help available on your campus.

How hard are you willing to work to find an internship?

As I mentioned at the start, you face an uphill climb.  You have to make you understandable, relevant and desirable to potential employers. You have to give them reasons to consider you.  They don’t inherently “get” you, what you want, or what you offer.  If you can’t tell them why they should hire you, how are they supposed to figure it out?  Managing your message is really important.

You may be well down this path already – I hope so! Regardless, finding a “good” internship is a process not a transaction.  Approach this process the same way you approach a sales and marketing case study in grad school.  You have a product to sell (You!).  Develop a thorough understanding of your product and the ability to position it to potential buyers (employers).  At the same time, do your market research to identify the best opportunities.  Then, pursue those opportunities and try to make the sale!

Good luck!



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