Graduate Students Diversify Skills with Summer Internships

Student poses wearing her cap and gown

The interview process—whether for a summer internship or for the next big career move—can be daunting and stressful. But, it’s also a prime opportunity for candidates to stand out from dozens of applicants and demonstrate they have what it takes to fit in and get the job done.

In addition to researching companies and roles, Babson College graduate students share a knack for nailing the interview because of their extensive preparation. Through the Graduate Center for Career Development (CCD), grad students take part in mock interviews with seasoned executive coaches.

By putting in the extra effort, recent and current grad students have secured coveted internships at companies such as American Express, Kraft Heinz, and Wayfair to help further prepare them for their next career step.

We recently caught up with three students from the MBA and Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) programs about the steps they took to find their internship opportunities and the support they received from CCD to advance their professional careers.

Don’t Wait to Meet with CCD

Making connections with the CCD office early and often is a critical first step—even if students don’t know exactly what they want to do.

“Being proactive and starting early is so important,” says Lily Awad, senior associate director at the CCD. In the beginning, Awad and her team organize sprints, running between two and six weeks, that cover behavioral interviewing, case interviewing, networking, negotiations, and more.

portrait of a young female
Alenny Acevedo MSBA’22, intern at American Express

Alenny Acevedo MSBA’22 found her fit this summer as a senior analyst intern for the credit risk and fraud team at American Express, based in New York. Opting to get out of her comfort zone and leave Massachusetts for the competitive role, Acevedo spent time every other week refining her interview answers and building her confidence with Awad and the rest of the CCD team, giving her the right mindset to tackle any question that came her way. One method that she used consistently to frame her answers was the STAR formula: situation, task, action, result.

“I felt like I could go into any interview and tailor my experiences to the job description,” Acevedo said of the tried-and-true method. “I would always prepare for an interview, but honestly, it was nothing compared to the CCD’s help.”

Cultivate Soft Skills

In both the classroom and the workplace, technical skills are necessary to excel and get the job done well. However, what may set a candidate apart from the rest are the less tangible skills—confidence, creativity, and mindset.

portrait of a young female
Mamta Thakker MBA’23, intern at Wayfair

This summer, Mamta Thakker MBA’23 chose an internship opportunity at Wayfair in the Partner Operations Physical Retail Department. Though she is using all of the technical and tactical skills she has learned, she also has found that the special “flavor” Babson brings to all facets of the institution has positively contributed to how she approaches a challenge, both in her job search and while at work.

“The MBA program has greatly contributed to the way I think and act, be it in personal life or professional life,” Thakker said. “Having a decade of work experience in corporate, I had quite an operative mindset. I must admit each course at Babson has that flavor of leader and entrepreneur. With this mindset and the help of CCD, I have been able to crack case interviews successfully.”

young man sits at a high top table
Gaurav Mishra MBA’23, intern at Kraft Heinz

Gaurav Mishra MBA’23 feels similarly and has applied countless soft skills to his work this summer at Kraft Heinz in Chicago. He is working on a project to devise an investment strategy for a leading e-commerce sales channel for Kraft Heinz, blending strategy, finance, and analytics into his output. Knowing he wanted to pivot from his previous industry and role and deciding between several offers, Mishra took advice from CCD and his own growth plans into account to ultimately land at Kraft Heinz as the best internship opportunity for him. In his role, he has relied not only on his ability to effectively listen and present with confidence, but also to lean into his own curiosity when faced with a problem and how to solve it.

“Most importantly, Babson’s Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® (ET&A™) methodology has helped me embrace and confront uncertainty rather than avoiding it,” Mishra said.

View of Chicago from the top of a skyscraper
View of Chicago from the Kraft Heinz office, image courtesy of the @KraftHeinzCo Twitter account.

Not only has he found the right internship to help him make the career changes he desires, but Mishra also has enjoyed some great food-tasting activities and panoramic views of the Chicago skyline from the 76th floor of the Kraft Heinz office.

Stay Connected Beyond Graduation

In addition to refining their interview approach and building the skills they need to rise to the top of the candidate pool, Babson grad students also put time and effort into networking. These three students leveraged the extensive Babson alumni network to make connections at their desired place of work, and have continued those connections while interning in each of their roles.

“If there’s anything Babson has taught me, it’s the importance of networking and leadership,” Acevedo said. “I’ve leveraged these skills to take the initiative and reach out to people in all areas of the business.”

While the Babson alumni community is dedicated to supporting each other, so is the institution itself. Awad and the rest of the CCD emphasizes that these career resources are available well after students graduate, whenever that career shift may be on their radar.

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