MBA Life: The Summer Internship

The MBA summer internship is one of the most misunderstood aspects of B-School life. The internship is usually where most students' (not all which is why this is confusing) full-time offers stem from. For many students recruiting begins before classes start. It is an intense and life changing experience for many, spouses and significant others included. Recruiting:

The months leading to the start of the academic year will most likely be full of networking events, parties, and career fairs. It varies depending on student career background, organizational involvement, and the business school one is attending. Offers are often extended after these events. My husband received an incredible offer (which he has accepted) before the official start of classes. It relieves a lot of the pressures of the formal recruiting season.

During the fall semester companies visit school and conduct interviews and extend offers through late spring. Your partner will most likely have to attend many dinners, parties, and travel for interviews. It's a busy time and a lot to manage as a new student (and supporting partner). It's an exciting time but the uncertainty is daunting at times. I am a planner, not knowing where I will be living in less than two years drove me insane for months. I eventually gave up and began to enjoy the excitement of the process. It is all completely out of my control so why stress?

Heartbreak & a change of plans:

Your SO will come to business school with a rock solid plan that will most likely not come to fruition. Each year thousands of students swarm business schools totally super positive that they are about to become a superstar McKinsey management consultant or a high-powered investment banker at Deutsche Bank. It happens but not for everyone. These are top schools where each student is one of the best and brightest. Obviously internship competition is fierce and highly competitive.

This time might be full of crushing disappointments that could make your partner question his or her decision to drop 100k+ on an MBA. It's hard to hear no after you've been wined, dined, and made it to a final round interview. I take it back, hard is an understatement, it's painful. The good news is that the pain fades and soon another fantastic opportunity will come your family's way.

Compensation & lifestyle:

Most students bring their families along for the duration on their internships. Some will live in corporate housing (us), others pay for their own accommodations, and some students live in the dorm apartments of neighboring schools. Experiences vary widely since students intern at a variety of companies all over the world.

Compensation varies as well but is tracked according to function and industry. The majority of internships are paid (some students choose to work for non-profits) and lead to job offers. I haven't experienced the summer internship firsthand (two weeks and counting) but I have lived vicariously through many friends. The summer internship is intense but usually a good time as well. The companies want you to like them and roll out the red carpet but conversely students have to maintain their A game around the clock. Leaving the internship without an offer isn't unheard of, sometimes it isn't a good fit, but it isn't most students' goal.

More recruiting?:

Perhaps the company your spouse interned with was not a good fit for your family. Or maybe your partner is hung up on getting that investment banking offer. There are more recruiting opportunities in the fall of the second year. Some students choose to shop around and interview with a few more companies before making a final choice. This might drive you utterly insane since you are *dying* to know where you will be moving in late May but try to keep it together. Before you know it graduation day will be creeping up and you and your family can begin a new amazing chapter in your lives.

My main piece of advice: don't get attached to anything,  keep an open mind, and remember that nothing is final until your partner signs on the dotted line of the job offer.

daddy and son at beach

Next week: The MBA social life. Does it exist for families?