Many MBA students aspire to gain some overseas work experience through their MBA. Several of our IESE Class of 2020 students successfully achieved this last summer and worked with companies across the globe. In a recent webinar, Suryansh Shrivastava, Marika Morita and Seung Ri Baek (Felix) talk about their summer internship experiences outside of their home country and provide some tips on how to secure yours. Here are some highlights.
Introducing our MBA Class of 2020 students
Suryansh Shrivastava, India
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Civil Engineering
4 years at Flipkart, Supply Chain Manager
Internship at Rakuten, Inc. Tokyo
Marika Morita, Japan
International Christian University Tokyo, Liberal Arts Development Studies
4 years at Nomura, Sales Project Manager
Internship at DOQ Sydney, Johnson & Johnson Jannsen Tokyo, McKinsey & Co. Tokyo
Seung Ri Baek (Felix), South Korea
Yonsei University Seoul, Public Administration
7 years at POSCO E&C (Construction), Corporate Finance Manager
Internship at Schneider Electric Barcelona
What did you do for your summer internship?
Suryansh: Rakuten, Inc. is an e-commerce company in Japan, I had secured this internship through career services in IESE and was part of the CEO internship program. My intern role was to work on strategic alliances with global enterprises to enhance Rakuten’s technology capabilities through either a Merger & Acquisition or partnership deal. The geography that I covered included Japan, Austria and India.
Marika: I had three objectives for my summer internship. Function-wise, I was looking for marketing and consulting roles. For exposure, I wanted to work for larger multi-national companies. In terms of location, I was open to working in and outside of Japan. To maximize my internship experience, I participated in 3 summer internships. DOQ is a marketing agency in Sydney and I had secured the internship through my personal network. I worked on a targeted project where Japanese clients wanted to expand their business to Australia. I was involved in the market research phase and overall marketing plan. For Johnson & Johnson Janssen in Tokyo, I had secured the internship through career services in IESE through an online interview. I joined the International Recruitment and Development Program (IRDP) as a marketing intern where I communicate with internal and external stakeholders, proposing solutions in reinforcing Salesforce for medical representatives. For McKinsey & Company in Tokyo, I had secured the internship through career services in IESE with a face-to-face interview. I was part of a one-week program specific to Japan where I experienced the working life of a consultant, interacted with partners and participated in mock projects.
Felix: Schneider Electric is a French company, specialized in energy management. I had secured this internship through career services in IESE and my intern role was to lead a project in designing a strategy to re-use the batteries from electric vehicles instead of disposing into landfills.
What did you learn?
Suryansh: As the CEO internship program takes on interns from different schools around the world such as Harvard, MIT, Chicago Booth, Wharton and LBS, it was enriching to meet and get to know all these people. From an experience point of view, I was surprised they were relying very much on my expertise. What I was taught during the MBA and the knowledge gained really helped in delivering a good project.
Marika: I leveraged my IESE experience by applying frameworks that I have learned through the courses during my internship. Soft skills are essential, such as communication with various stakeholders to get a better understanding of the company and their business problems especially since I come from a different industry and position. I also learnt the importance of gaining mutual support with colleagues and asking for help when you need it, since you are new to the environment.
Felix: Companies that hire MBA students will pose challenging projects and have an expectation that you have the maturity to handle work independently. It is important to learn to manage ambiguity and be flexible in developing strategy to get the information you need, potentially by utilizing your personal network.
How can I find my dream internship abroad?
Suryansh: There are various resources in IESE that can help you. Firstly, our Career Services team, essentially a group of professionals specialized in each field where they help to source for opportunities and train you to get jobs, from interview preparation to mentorship and general career advice. Secondly, the professional clubs organized various webinars and workshops. They would bring in an external industry specialist to help with interview preparation or discuss how to manage expectations of careers in different industries. Thirdly, our Career Forum that takes place twice a year. Many international companies come to our Barcelona campus, where they share an overview of the company background, culture of working for the organization as well as the kind of profiles they are looking for.
Marika: I recommend leveraging on your personal network in sourcing for a job, as companies are always in need of MBA students to help the business grow or support them in short-term basis. Sometimes the company may be of a smaller scale or do not have specific MBA internship program, so it is important for you to reach out and proactively talk to the recruiters. Applying to many international MBA internship programs also helped me to better prepare on how to deal with the interview as internship processes differ depending on the region and industry.
Any other advice?
Suryansh: Before your MBA, have a thoughtful plan on what you want to achieve post-MBA. At the same time, be open to changes as you will network and learn from people with diverse backgrounds.
During your MBA, with all the ongoing activities and academic assignments it is essential for an MBA student to prioritize to keep you focused throughout your MBA journey.
For networking, some people adopt a “less people more” or “more people less” strategy. Ultimately, it is important to not only expand your professional circle but also to forge lasting relationships with your teammates, seniors and/or alumni or people that are working in the industry that you are targetting post-MBA.
Felix: Networking is very important. Connect with people in industries that you are interested to work in because they can provide you with some valuable insights apart from any paid or public information that you can find. In your job, if you have more information you can gain an edge on the negotiation table, negotiating with buyers of your products or with investors etc. It is essential to build your own network, IESE MBA is good in that sense as the MBA is all about diversity and will enable you to be exposed to people from various backgrounds.
Any tips on how to network effectively?
Hear their answers and watch the full webinar session on “My Summer Internship Abroad” here.
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