One of the top priorities for first-year Full-time MBA students is finding a great internship opportunity. It’s also at the top of the list for the Graduate Career Center, or GCC for short, at the W. P. Carey School of Business. The center is involved from the very beginning—helping students with resumes and cover letters, conducting mock interviews, and coordinating information sessions with prospective employers.
The GCC was an integral part of my internship search, a significant support structure along the way. This summer, I will be interning in Charlotte with Bank of America, and I’m grateful to the GCC for guiding me through the internship process. In my case, the center helped by providing advice about the following: preparing application materials, gearing up for interviews, and making a decision from different offers.
There are six career coaches and two employer relations staff with experience in career counseling, human resources, and industry. Jennifer Whitten, the center’s associate director, recently took some time to share how the GCC helps students during the internship phase of the program.
Q: What role does the Graduate Career Center play in helping students obtain their internships?
A: We provide superior personalized service to understand the needs of our employers and connect them with talent leaders to reach their business goals. We work with students on identifying their strengths, interests, values, and goals, as well as how to communicate them in a competitive MBA job market.
Our dedicated employer relations team works to create opportunities for students to interact with employers on campus or off campus, in formal and informal networking. Most importantly, we meet with students individually so we can get to know and truly help them create a customized plan.
Q: What does the center do to help students prepare for their internships once they’ve received offers?
A: We offer a Quarter 4 class in leadership communications which prepares students for navigating the pressures of a 10-12 week MBA internship and teaches how to polish their presentation skills, which they will need for presentations at the end of their internships.
In addition, we conduct an internship kickoff meeting to go over best practices in the internship and how to evaluate your fit during the internship.
During the summer internship, all students will have a check-in call with their career coach to talk through how the internship is progressing, accomplishments, and career goals. At the end of the internship, students will receive 360-degree feedback from their internships that focuses on the leadership competencies they have learned.
Q: To what extent does the GCC tailor its approach to the individual needs of the students?
A: With a small class size, I would say this is our strength. We have experienced coaches and a dedicated team that just love getting to know our students.
I see this as a partnership, we work together with a student to help them, we can’t do it for them and we can’t tell them what to do, but we are there guide them help them make decisions.
Q: What does the center do behind the scenes to help students?
A: We are always talking to employers, thinking about events that would benefit our students, presenting at conferences on best practices, managing the technology needed, and establishing relationships with key stakeholders. We are involved in a lot.
Q: How is it rewarding for you in helping students throughout the process?
A: Incredibly. I have worked with all different types of people, and what I love the most about this job and working with W. P. Carey MBA students, is it is a journey with twists and turns, but always a great ending.