Choosing the best MBA internship is a process of a student finding the program that offers the best fit for personal, academic and professional goals. The student should begin the process by setting standards in each of these areas and determining which of the criteria are negotiable. Working through all available resources, including the school’s placement office, professors, the Internet and personal networks, the student compiles a list of all available internships. By comparing the list of criteria to available programs, the student can narrow the field and apply only for the programs that are the best fit for him or her.
At the MBA level of education, an internship program is an important part of the learning process and a major career development tool. Many MBA internship programs are used by company’s to find potential employees. Students use the programs to validate career field choices, expand knowledge and prepare for an after-graduation job search.
Begin with developing a list of personal items important for any MBA internship to have. For many students, the program needs to be located near a specific city where the student will be living. Other students will want to travel to a program in a new location. Students must determine if they must have a paid internship, as not all programs offer paying positions.
The MBA internship also must meet academic criteria for the student. Some MBA programs count the internship as coursework. In these cases a company must be willing to accept the student and provide required documentation to the school. If the MBA program requires an internship in a certain field, the student must narrow the field of choices to account for that as well.
A good MBA internship program meets professional criteria, as well. The best internship will be in the field the student hopes to enter for a career, providing a real-world look at the work he or she might do for a lifetime. Even if the MBA is not in a specifically desired career field, it can expose the student to other work he or she might like to do, or confirm that that career is indeed not the right choice.
Information on internships is generally available through participating companies, but students should cast a wide net initially, gathering data on as many programs as possible. An initial comparison of program requirements and benefits to the list of personal, academic and professional needs will narrow the list. Students should consider, if possible, talking to current or past interns at these programs to further refine the list. The student should then apply to programs that meet the largest number of criteria and come with the best recommendations.