Take advantage of your new environment by continuing to build your network. This will instantly expand your circles to include many other top business schools, creating new opportunities for the fall and for your career ahead!
1. Start right where you are: get to know your fellow interns early. Step up for committees seeking active internship participation, join the intern-employee softball team, or volunteer to organize an intern-only happy hour. Fellow interns will be a great source of connections throughout your career; 10 years out, I’m still regularly in touch with half of my intern class!
2. Network upwards: in addition to your peers, make sure you meet other employees at your internship. Consider this: if you’re in a consulting firm, the first year consultant you meet now will likely be close to a manager promotion when you return after b-school; if you do a PE internship, any of your colleagues could be in a position to decide whether to invest in your future business; and if you’re pursuing banking, you never know who’s going to be putting together the next great deal – but you do know you want to be on that team! If you can find a personal connection with an executive (a shared alma mater, hobby, or home town), don’t be afraid to reach out. You’ll want that network in the long term.
3. Remember your ultimate goal: this is especially important if you aspire to something other than an offer from your internship company. Proactively set aside time to continue networking towards your dream job. By leveraging LinkedIn and alumni databases, find the folks in your current city who have achieved that dream position. You won’t have this kind of time once classes start; what’s more, you won’t ever again have the perfect “in” (sharing that you want to explore as many options as possible in between your first and second years will be enough to convince just about anyone to talk to you).
4. Meet other people in your current city: combine the personal and the professional! When you are completing your goals, set yourself a target number of people you want to meet through extracurricular activities. To find individuals you will click with, check out meetup.com, networking groups, college alumni events, LinkedIn groups, and other event listings. If your internship does not demand 24/7 attention, consider volunteering in your local city to meet a diverse group of people (many cities have “[City] Cares” programs – such as Chicago Cares and New York Cares – which provide a diverse variety of one-time volunteer events; you also might consider using VolunteerMatch to find opportunities).
5. Utilize the 100 Week Sprint: would you like to meet other high-achieving MBA students from top schools? We are happy to facilitate a 100 Week Sprint get-together at some point over the summer, which will give you the chance to get to know other 100 Week Sprint members from both your own class and the class of 2016.