This year’s coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted businesses around the world, and those ripple effects extended to MBA summer internships. Internships are traditionally held in-person for 10-12 weeks, but many companies pivoted to virtual versions, and some also shortened the timelines to better accommodate shifting schedules. Despite the changes, many MBA students still had a positive experience at their virtual internships; 6 members of the Class of 2021 share their thoughts below.
Kaitlyn Wilson, Bain & Company
“My 10 weeks working at Bain this summer flew by. My case focused on product development and included team members from Bain’s Advanced Digital and Product Team (ADAPT) and Next Generation Software Solutions (NextGen). Our team also used agile principles, such as 2-week sprints, so we could more easily adjust and adapt throughout the product journey. It was my job to conduct a full analysis of the competitor landscape to both validate the market opportunity and inform marketing and pricing strategies. I frequently found myself referencing my experiences from the ‘Strategic Innovation’ class led by Dave Owens.
One of the elements I enjoyed most about the summer was Bain’s approach to training and professional development (PD). Even though our internships were virtual, we still kicked off with a full week of Global Summer Associate Training, featuring speakers from across the firm, small group workshops on Bain’s strategic toolkit, and technical lessons. As the summer progressed, I had PD check-ins every other week with my manager to discuss my strengths and development opportunities. This real-time, actionable feedback really focused my efforts over the summer and helped me identify areas I want to focus on as I head into year 2 at Owen.”
Sarah Quigley, Apple
“Interning with Apple this summer was an absolute dream come true. Both my iBuddy and manager were so welcoming and helpful, especially in the first few weeks. The team always cleared time on their schedules to answer my questions and check in on how my summer was progressing. Across the board, everyone I met this summer struck a great balance between being laid-back while maintaining an intense commitment to the products and customers.
My project this summer involved exploring diversification options for the iPad team. Coordinating the cross-functional alignment of so many different teams gave me a 360 view of Apple that reinforced its commitment to product excellence. Learning the ins and outs of Apple was the most regarding part of the internship — but the swag was definitely a close second!”
Bernardo Simoes, Mars Petcare
“During my summer at Mars, I worked on the Sheba brand and had 2 projects: first, a strategic one focused on developing a competitive analysis and making recommendations on how the brand could improve some of its opportunities; and second, a creative project in which I got to work closely with an agency to create an engagement and data collection campaign. Both projects were challenging and important to the brand’s future strategy.
It was a great experience that allowed me to experience a brand management role. Plus, Mars has an amazing culture! I got to meet some of the most amazing people that were available to help and support me to be successful this summer.”
Stephanie Jones, Deloitte and My Life Legacy
“This past summer, my plan was to be in Atlanta as a Summer Associate with Deloitte — and then COVID-19 hit the United States. My Deloitte experience became a 2-week virtual internship (plus a full-time job offer!) but I suddenly found myself with more free time than I had previously anticipated. I began the internship search again to fill my days, and, thanks to a classmate, I was able to connect with an Executive MBA grad who was looking for someone to do marketing and strategy for her tech startup.
Thus, I began the summer doing project work for My Life Legacy — a web and mobile document storage platform in the early stages of development that focuses on preserving its users’ important documents in addition to their life story. I really was able to get my hands in everything, from competitor analyses to a pitch deck and marketing segment breakdown to the actual development of the platform.
The last 2 weeks of July, I switched gears to the Deloitte internship. During the 2-week experience with Deloitte, I got a taste of what life was like at the firm. I was able to participate in conversations with the Chair of Deloitte’s Board Janet Foutty and Consulting CEO Dan Helfrich. We had wellness activities and diversity discussions, as well as project spotlights on actual projects that practitioners had worked on with clients. We also had a ‘Power Up’ competition, working with a team of other Summer Associates to create a solution for a client project that we ultimately presented to Deloitte senior leadership. Both experiences gave me unique perspectives that I will be sure to take with me post-graduation.”
Burke Wiggins, UBS
“My first year of classes at Owen provided me with the necessary foundation of technical and collaborative skills to succeed in my summer internship. I worked in the industrials group at UBS, where I was tasked with researching and identifying strategic acquisition opportunities for an existing client that operates in the commercial services space. I was also given a case study where I had to evaluate a hypothetical merger between 2 home building product manufacturers. It culminated in a presentation to junior and senior bankers where I had to defend my projected merger valuation range and purchase recommendation based on industry research, trends in residential home building, comparable company analysis, and valuation modeling. We were also given ample opportunities to engage with senior bankers throughout the internship in order to learn more about the services the bank provides and the collaborative UBS culture that ties everyone together.
Owen’s course structure and engaging atmosphere prepared me in a way I never thought possible. I relied heavily on the fundamental skills I was taught in my finance and corporate valuation classes to help me analyze and evaluate firm financial performance, and the collaborative nature of the school — from the students and faculty, the finance club, and beyond — supported me immensely throughout the fall and spring semesters. The internship was the perfect way to cap off a busy, stressful, and unpredictable first year, and I can’t thank the Owen community enough for helping me learn and grow along the way.”
Sasha Salenko, JLL
“This summer, I worked with JLL’s Marketplace team on how to improve their platform’s supplier diversity program. I worked with numerous people across the organization, conducted market research, and got first-hand experience devising strategy for a multi-billion dollar company.
Even though my internship was virtual, I was able to interact with coworkers and learn about the company’s great culture and work environment. Everyone I worked with took the time to get to know me, loved their job, and were more than willing to help me succeed. JLL is at the top of their game in terms of commercial real estate technology, and being able to see the company innovate and strategize around the unprecedented pandemic was an incredible learning experience.”