Pre-MBA internships are becoming a common practice for students who got admitted to MBA programs. Pre-MBA internships provide valuable working experience, career exploration, and networking opportunities for recently-admitted students before stepping foot on campus. In this article, we will provide you all you need to know about Pre-MBA Internship.

1. What are Pre-MBA Internships?

Pre-MBA internships are professional programs organized by major companies designed for admitted MBA students before starting their full-time programs. These opportunities vary in sectors, including investment banking, private equity, venture capital, consulting, marketing, and even non-profit. These programs offer a peek into how the industry and the firm operates and where MBA graduates can play a role. 

While there are many Pre-MBA internship opportunities out there, these opportunities can be categorized into two main types: Internship before Matriculation and Orientation Program.

Internship before Matriculation

Pre-MBA Internships before Matriculation are full-fledged, structured internship programs that usually last from one to three months. These internships are intended to deliver hands-on executive experience to the interns similar to MBA internships in the summer without having the same obligations or expectations. 

An example of Pre-MBA Internship before Matriculation is Barclays MBA Ambition Diversity Program. The program recruits MBA candidates with hopes of breaking into the finance sector. Pre-MBA students have the chance to secure an investment banking summer internship after their first year through this program.

Because of the value these internships provide, it is usually harder to secure one. Many competitive multinational companies only recruit participants from a handful of elite institutions for their Pre-MBA internships. 

Internships at smaller companies are available, but are very rare and non-standard. These opportunities are not advertised or listed on job boards. Usually, the applicants need to reach out to the firms by cold calling and cold emailing. 

Internships before Matriculation are challenging but rewarding experiences. If you’re competitive by nature, have taken senior positions before, and wanting to spend your summer before school growing professionally, then Internships before Matriculation are for you!

Orientation Program

Pre-MBA Orientation Programs are experience programs that introduce admitted MBA students to many functional roles in the company offered the program. The main purpose of these programs is providing participants opportunities to explore career paths after they receive their MBA career. 

Pre-MBA Orientation Programs are easier to find than Internships before Matriculation. One example is ExperienceBain. ExperienceBain is an opportunity foraccepted MBA students to connect with Bain’s offices around the world, network with their consulting team and peers, and experience the work of a strategy consultant.

Orientation Programs usually last from one to five days. They don’t require participants to undertake any responsibility. Their nature is simply “getting to know the company”. 

While short in duration, these programs are excellent for people who want to have surface-level and practical experience of working after their studies and connect with current employees, recruiters, and fellow peers. 

2. The Value of Pre-MBA Internships

Should you pursue a Pre-MBA Internship program? Deciding to attend one in the summer before the start of your degree can reap many valuable benefits. These benefits below can help you succeed in and after your MBA journey.

Test Your Interest Area

During this short stint of internship, you will have the opportunity to discover many roles in the industry you have committed. These experiences can help you identify your interest area. This will help narrow down the choices of areas you will specialize in. You can use this experience to decide whether to return to the same industry the following summer.

Expand Your Network

In the business world, your network defines your success. The earlier you gain valuable connections, the more successful you’ll be when you move up your professional career. Pre-MBA internships put you on highlight with potential employers, business partners, like-minded peers  before you start your school. 

Get a Headstart before You Study

Most Pre-MBA programs provide you with the professional environment and practical problems that you will face at school. Once you understand the nuances of how the firm operates and how the project pipelines are handled, you will be better equipped with pragmatic problem-solving skills in case studies presented in classroom sessions. 

Prepare for Summer Internship

Having prior experience in specific industries can give you a competitive edge among other applicants in the process of applying for Summer Internship. The skills you learned before are directly transferable to the roles you wish to apply. Many programs also provide past interns with return offers.

3. The Drawbacks of Pre-MBA Internships

While there are many benefits to spending your summer doing a Pre-MBA Internship, searching for one is a source of great concern. The huge amount of time and effort looking for an internship may have adverse consequences to your preparation of enrollment in the school. Certain priorities like financial aid, budget, housing, and continuation of work should precede finding a Pre-MBA Internships.

In addition, a Pre-MBA Internship may not be a financially sound option. Most of these internships often offer low salary packages to none at all. You may find it better to continue working on your current job or get a budget to prepare for the huge cost of an MBA. 

4. How to Get a Pre-MBA Internship 

If you have decided that a Pre-MBA Internship is on your to-do list, you will need to develop a plan to find one. In this section, you will find strategies and advice on how to get a Pre-MBA Internship.

Start Early

Your MBA program usually starts in the Fall. Therefore, if you want to have enough time to identify and do your internship, starting the process early is very crucial. Ideally, January is when you start figuring out the first steps of finding a Pre-MBA internship. 

The earlier you secure an internship, the more time and value you will contribute to the company within the internship period. This will potentially benefit both you and the company. 

Make a List of Companies You Want to Work

Determining your field and companies of interest will help you focus on what kind of Pre-MBA Internships you want to pursue. After the deliberation, there are many ways you can create a list of companies.

Searching through your MBA’s career service available opportunities is an excellent option that allows you to get exposed to companies of your interest. Another option is to utilize your network to find out companies that are hiring. If you have worked in the investment industry, for example,  it is a good idea to ask your former boss and colleagues about portfolio companies. Lastly, we have assembled a list of Pre-MBA Internships and Opportunities in section 4 for you to review.

Polish Your Resume

Your resume is probably the most important component of the application to Pre-MBA Internships. Because of the rarity (and prestige) of these programs, your resume may make or break your chance of winning the internships. 

Start identifying what your relevant experiences, particularly what you can contribute to the firm, and tailor those experiences to match the job descriptions. Highlight these skills in your work experience and remove any irrelevant experiences you may have. Finally, have someone review your resume for potential errors.

Reach Out to the Companies

Pre-MBA Internships applications don’t necessarily follow a simple process of submission and result notification. Oftentimes, to boost your chance of getting one, you have to become more proactive in your approach.

Start reaching out to specific individuals of the companies to ask for more information and opportunities at their companies. While the success rate may vary, cold emailing and cold calling are effective methods to unlock your chances of access to previously hidden working opportunities. 

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