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Nobody Said It Was Easy

Posted by Jenny on 19 February 2010

For first year students at London Business School, December to June is internship hunting time. Now halfway through the process, here’s my rather candid take on what it’s been like:

NOVEMBER: Career Services keep on talking about preparing for internship applications. We shrug and think to ourselves summer is too far away. We travel, meet people, go to parties and of course go to class (not in that order). Meanwhile, our CVs get slighted, butchered, and then resurrected—all in a good way—by Career Services. We feel invincible; life is good.

DECEMBER: Applications for Asian offices of the bulge-bracket firms become due. We hastily write our Cover Letters and submit 6 applications in a day. We go on our Christmas vacation and internships are relegated to the back of our minds.

JANUARY: We come back from vacation all suited-up. At the Corporate Partners Week, we elbow our way to the side of the bosses from Goldman and McKinsey and ask them intelligent questions—the same questions we will ask the bosses from Morgan Stanley and BCG. Meanwhile, we still aren’t sure what we really want to do so we follow the crowd and submit our applications to all the biggest companies in the market.

FEBRUARY: Companies start shortlisting interviewees or—to put it another way—they start sending out rejection letters. At interviews, we proclaim our love for our potential employers while at the Windsor we proclaim ourselves as the King (or Queen) of Dings (TM by Mayank & Co.). We start philosophizing the meaning of rejections in life as Career Services assures us that job offers peak in April and May so we should not lose hope. Meanwhile, we act on our Plans B and C (and D) and apply to all job postings in the Portal—much like throwing wet paper towels onto a wall and seeing (hoping) that at least one would stick.

Now it’s still February so I have to end my errr….narrative here. Some of us have been fortunate to land positions—which might be not our first choice, but we’re grateful nonetheless. Some of us are still riding it out but regardless of the stage we are in the process, one thing’s for sure: this internship hunt has so far been exciting, quite stressful and surprisingly self-revealing. (In my case, I’ve learned that I need to read the FT and the Economist more. That and that I’m more likely to land a job in finance than in the non-profit sector. But that’s an entirely different story altogether.) In any case I’m still hoping that in my next blog I would say something in the lines of, March, April, May: Everyone gets offers for their dream jobs and we all live happily ever after. Riiiight. I’ll keep you posted on that.

________

Having said that, there actually IS life beyond internship applications.

One of the good things about doing your MBA is the many opportunities you get to meet bigwigs from big companies. The FMCG Summit on the 25th of February is a good example. The conference boasts of speakers from established companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Unilever and other interesting companies such as Sense Worldwide and Dunnhumby. Alan Moore, author of Communities Dominate Brands, will come to speak as well. Conferences like this are good opportunities to network with leaders, alumni and students and you never know – it might be your lucky day and a conference just might lead to a golden job offer.

________

And then there are the exchange programmes. To apply, we have to submit by March 1st a 500-word essay for each school we’re interested in (maximum of 3) and we have to convincingly write why Columbia, Chicago, or whichever school we have our eyes set on, is right for us (it’s like MBA applications all over again). I’ve been working on my essays and here are my top 7 reasons (7, not 10 because I can only think of 7 – you probably have more) why I want to go on exchange to Columbia (and no, these will not go into my essay):

7. It doesn’t rain as much in New York.

6. I want to do the cheesy Sex and the City tour.

5. I need a break from fish and chips.

4. American TV shows.

3. They call their tomatoes to-may-toes and not to-maa-toes.

2. They sell kebabs and hotdogs outside the school.

And the number one reason why I want to go on exchange to Columbia is…

1. If you’re at the TOP there’s nowhere else to go but down (to the next best thing). Oh yeah. 

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