So how did some of us T-birds spend the Summer this year? We decided to ask some of our peers about their internship experiences, and here’s what they had to say:
“My internship experience was very helpful in making me realize what my strengths and weaknesses are and what I really want to do in life. I was able to leverage classroom learning as well as time management and multitasking skills acquired from my time at Thunderbird to drive organizational changes and to exceed expectations.”
Wentao (Tony) Dong, MSGM ’13
Purchasing & Facility Assistant, Southwest Behavioral Health Services; Phoenix, AZ, USA
“My internship has taught me a tremendous amount about the telecommunications industry and how to better work in an international environment. I contributed to a wide range of projects from market research to five year financial planning, and gain important exposure to how upper management makes decisions in a large company. I also got to improve my language skills and use them on a daily basis.”
Kyle Mahoney, Traditional MBA ’14
Segment Marketing Intern, Deutsche Telekom; Bonn, Germany
“A summer internship is a necessary step and experience for finding a full-time position. My summer with L’Oreal has been challenging but rewarding. The employers really have high expectations of an excellent performance and want to see the results upon the end of the internship. Be social and finish the projects above and beyond what is expected!”
Monica Zhou, Accelerated MBA ’13
Summer Intern, L’Oreal USA; New York City, NY
“Since my undergrad was in finance and I am specializing in Marketing at Thunderbird, this internship was the perfect transition for me. It involved a lot of analytics. I was part of the media buying agency, Magna Global, where we analyzed past trends using data from third party resources to enable in negotiating a good pitch with clients. My day-to-day job involved working with a lot of spreadsheets, 3rd party softwares and proactively looking for data through the company’s internal softwares to support my analysis. Besides this, we had intern lunch and learn sessions which taught a lot about the media industry in general and about different agencies under the IPG umbrella.”
Sonia Ahuja, Accelerated MBA ’13
Technical Analyst Intern, IPG Mediabrands – Magna Global; New York, NY
“I worked as a graduate intern in Coca-Cola’s Corporate Sustainability Office during the summer of 2013. My responsibilities required me to work across various divisions, departments, and geographies, allowing me to interact with employees at all levels of the company. I led several programs aimed at increasing the efficiency, effectiveness, and global reach of Coke’s sustainability programs, and was directly involved with its 5by20 initiative and sustainability communications strategy. The internship gave me broad exposure to the challenges and opportunities that exist in the realm of corporate responsibility, and introduced me to the inner workings of one of the world’s largest and most global companies.”
Katie Emick, MSGM ’13
Sustainability Intern, The Coca-Cola Company; Atlanta, GA
“Developed diversity and inclusion strategy for sales department by conducting internal and external research, having interviews with directors, sales managers and sales reps and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, and gave a presentation to senior management team on the last day.”
Takahiro Sato, Traditional MBA ’13
Lilly Leadership Development Program Intern (HR), Eli Lilly and Company; Kobe, Japan
“I learned a lot about the nonprofit world and about myself while interning with Catholic Charities during this summer. During my time there I was a project manager for 3 different projects that at the time seemed very small, because I had yet to see the impact of them. I got to further develop skills and understand how important it is to stop and look at the world around us and figure out how to make it better. It seems hard to understand how simple projects can change a person’s life but I can now see how they do. Because of this internship I can now say that Corporate Social Responsibility will be a strong focus of my future career.”
Alejandra C. Fernandez, Traditional MBA ’14
Summer Intern Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services, Catholic Charities; Phoenix, AZ, USA
“I worked for 2 months for Denox, an Endeavor affiliate in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. It was perfect for me since I own a small business and hope to not have to get a real job again, I therefore treated it as a consulting project to add to my portfolio. My employer/ client was extremely accommodating and I learned a lot about Brazilian business culture, the electronics industry, and got pretty good at Portuguese to give my final presentation in the language. I very quickly made a lot of good Brazilian friends, developed an addiction to chicken hearts, enjoyed a lot of the wild side of Brazilian social life including my favorite football soccer team, Atletico Minas Gerais, winning the South American championship and the mayhem that followed.”
Karl Weinhold, Accelerated MBA ’14
International Expansion Strategy Consultant, Endeavor Global
“When I first arrived the BCG Shanghai office, I was impressed by the glorious building that was in front of me. Located in the CBD center with all the transparent window bricks, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the building. I knew this would be a start of a great experience.
There were around 100 associates and consultants working in the Shanghai office. It was a very young group consisting of people around 25-35. They were all graduates from the top universities in China or from a prestigious university like Harvard or Stanford business school. People were sharp, detailed-oriented and results-driven. Most associates and consultants who were on-going projects would work more than 12 hours a day. And a project usually lasted 2-3 months. The work pace was intense but people really enjoyed their work and being part of BCG.
My team was working with a Japanese client in the wedding services industry. I worked with another four people on the project, a team leader, two consultants and two associates. As one of the associates, I really appreciated the support from my teammates. They walked me through the project and cheered for me when I did well. I know the trust from my team was cultivated along the way. The team would give me “bigger” projects to do once I completed the smaller ones well.
During my whole internship, my biggest take away is that a great attitude will open doors. However, staying up till the midnight without any sufficient output is meaningless. At least to me, result is more of what the consultants care about.”
Chao Zhang, MS-Marketing ’14
Summer Associate, The Boston Consulting Group, Shanghai, China
“Working in China I had my apprehensions. This would be my first time working in a corporation, first time working in OTC, first exposure to Chinese digital media and first time with so many unknown variables in a foreign context. I reported directly to the Director of Marketing and on my first day after I said hello, she turned to her assistant and asked, “Do we have a desk for him”. They did. But from then on, I knew my internship experience in China would be significantly different than my classmates in the west.
Work was stressful and challenging as the bar was set high. It was my job to learn the 4 core brands, their customers and the Chinese digital media environment (social media and digital advertising including banners). My job was to fit these 3 parts into a strategy that Bayer Consumer Care could use to market the entire umbrella company in digital media. They knew I was an intern right? There was little mentoring from the director which consequently meant that I branched out to everyone: not only the brand managers and the marketing managers who managed them but also other marketing agencies from the creative agencies like JWT and BBDO to international media buying and media tracking agencies. Essentially, what the internship lacked in guidance was more than made up for in empowerment and the ability to connect with everyone including the country manager and even a town hall with the global CEO. By the end of the internship I gave one presentation to the marketing team, one workshop to the marketing team and country manager and left them with a digital media library including a step-by-step approach to investing in digital media. I was happy and tired.
For those looking for a similar opportunity in China: be prepared to work long and hard, there will be some 14-16hr days; network: within the office, alumni, Chambers of Commerce; and, be frugal: all those networking lunches and dinners add up so save money where you can. If anyone has any more questions feel free to contact me to arrange lunch or drinks: email@example.com”.
Patrick Mah, Traditional MBA ’14
Digital Media Strategy Intern, Bayer Consumer Care, Shanghai, China
Share your Summer internship experiences with us by commenting below!