Make the Most of Your Summer Internship

Congratulations! As your first year at Wharton draws to a close, it’s hard to believe it’s been nine months since you first set foot on campus. You’ve spent that time tirelessly researching, prepping, casing, networking, applying, waiting, and interviewing (and then more waiting). In just a few short weeks, you will embark on your summer adventures. We want to wish you good luck and share a few tips to make the most of your summer and internship experience.

  • Manage your timeline. Most internships are 10-12 weeks and they go by quickly. Draft a project plan with specific goals each week to ensure you use your time efficiently and avoid the risk of last-minute scrambling. Include periodic check-points with your manager and other stakeholders to get feedback – and gain buy-in – along the way.
  • Define expectations with your manager, and do so early. Learn how your performance – in terms of specific project deliverables and how the company will evaluate you for full-time offers – will be appraised and what defines success.
  • Be flexible and ready to roll with the punches. The ability to adapt to changing business priorities or other unanticipated events is an attribute highly valued by employers. How you respond to unexpected challenges during your internship is their litmus test for this skill. In the same vein, show that you’re a team player and will do what’s best for the company by getting in the trenches and doing the “grunt” work when needed.
  • Show your passion. Ask thoughtful questions. Develop an informed point of view on critical issues facing the industry and company. Speak up and share your opinion, but also be open to debate.
  • Test your passion. Think critically about your internship experience and determine if the function/industry is a good fit for your long-term goals.      
  • Ask yourself if you love the industry and work as much as your colleagues. The summer is a good time to do a “gut check” to make sure you are on the right career path for you.
  • Write three amazing bullet points. Our office will prompt you at the end of July to update your resume in preparation for full-time recruiting. Start drafting your changes while things are still fresh in your mind instead of waiting until the summer is over. Spend 5 minutes each Friday drafting new bullets describing your internship experience (action à result). Keep updating your bullets with your projects, accomplishments, and skills learned or developed.
  • Build your network over the summer. Your assignments are important, but don’t keep your head down! Set a goal of having a least two, 20 minute coffee chats a week. Start with alumni and then branch out to really get to know the business end-to-end. Also be strategic in how you prepare for these conversations, remembering that each new contact is a potential mentor, project collaborator, and/or internal advocate when feedback is gathered and offer decisions are made.
  • Get to know the city. If you succeed in getting a full-time offer, part of your decision will depend on the location and whether you can see yourself being happy there, so make sure to get out and experience it. Also check out the local Wharton Club and take advantage of opportunities to connect with alumni and other MBA peers in the area.
  • Don’t check out. MBACM will email you during the summer with important updates and deadlines for full-time recruiting, so keep checking your Wharton account.

MBACM will be hitting the road this summer to connect with companies across the globe, but we are always here if you need us. Send us an email or give us a call – our office is open all summer.

Good luck and enjoy your summer!