Summer Internship ‘Aha’ Moments
Lessons from our Full-Time MBAs
Our Full-Time MBA students shared a glimpse into their internships at top companies like Microsoft, Varian Medical Systems, Intel, AT&T and others on Instagram this summer. When asked to share their biggest ‘aha’ moments of the summer – whether about their industry experience or professional growth – here’s what they had to say:
Setting goals is important, but don’t get caught up on ticking boxes on some to-do list. I had three projects I wanted to do while at Zazzle, but only ended up finishing two. But, during my time there I found other ways to contribute, and completed two more projects not on the original list. I’d argue these projects were more valuable for Zazzle because they were tailored to their needs. Plus, they offered valuable new skills for the resume and some interesting challenges!
The main thing that I have learned through this internship experience sounds a little selfish, but it is to focus on myself. When I hold myself to my highest standards, my best work gets done. I found it was always better to challenge myself and my peers, not compete with them, because that was how the best work gets done overall. I allowed myself to be very open and honest about what I am looking for in a company to work with, and by doing that I am able to make a clear decision moving forward. I also focused on having fun. Meeting new people, expanding my network and enjoying my time here at Intel really helped me have a very positive experience overall.
One of the executives at Varian Medical Systems started out as an intern there. He told us a story about one of his young children who had a brain tumor only a couple of years ago (spoiler alert: the kid is doing just fine today). While his son was being scanned at the hospital, the machine broke down. Complete failure. Although this machine was not one of Varian’s, it re-affirmed his belief in the company and the need to make the best products available; not to drive profit or revenue, but because people’s lives were literally on the line. That sentiment, lives depend on us, is everywhere at Varian. I learned a great deal about market analytics, strategic plans, and was able to work on my time-series forecasting muscles (thanks Professor Tsai), but knowing I was working for a company that not only saves lives, but makes it a core value and part of the culture, was amazing.
This summer internship at Dolby Labs and Academy Gold has been the most amazing opportunity I’ve ever had. It is so inspiring to meet all these experts in the entertainment industry who have pursued their passion to the fullest. I am blown away by all of the amount of work that was put into both programs to help us thrive in the industry and launch our careers.
I was nervous about starting my internship with AT&T Entertainment Group. It had been years since I myself had been an intern rather than the person managing interns. Many things were new to me: the industry, the department with which I’d be working, the size of the company, even working at a desk. The first few days were overwhelming and I was hard on myself for not understanding everything right away.
As I started to settle in I reminded myself to take it one day at a time, building a new knowledge base from the ground up won’t happen overnight – or even over the course of a ten-week internship. Once I re-framed my thinking, I was able to recognize even the smallest accomplishments as victories. Before I knew it I had become confident in what I knew and the work I was contributing. Just this week a colleague from a different team came to me with a question, knowing I would have the answer. I’m proud of all that I have learned during my internship as result of being open to change and embracing some growing pains along the way.