Here’s how to rock your MBA Internship (Part 1)

Editors Note: It’s MBA internship season! To guide MBA interns through their internship process, MBASchooled is doing a series on how to rock your MBA Intership. First up, is our interview with Jessica Tripicco, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School.


For many MBA students, landing an MBA internship through the recruiting process is a challenging experience. While many are elated to land the internship of their choosing, the fun starts when its actually time to get down to work. On paper, the internship is relatively clear – do the job you’ve signed up to do, be a pleasant and helpful colleague, and demonstrate professionalism and poise. However, there are many more nuances to succeeding in a summer internship than doing good work and being likable.


Jessica Tripicco, UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Graduate and Former Commercial Strategy MBA Intern, Delta Airlines

To gain a perspective of what actually goes on during an MBA internship we interview Jessica Tripicco, A recent MBA graduate of the University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler) Jessica interned in the Commercial Strategy Group at Delta Airlines last summer and shed some thoughts on what MBA interns can do to achieve their internship goals.


Find Your Support System

For Jessica, a big part of succeeding in her internship was finding the right support system to help her achieve her goals. “Find mentors immediately,” she says. “My mentors were so integral to my success – they helped me generate a plan for the summer, navigate corporate culture, and gave insight into how to be successful at my internship. They also helped me develop, refine and edit my project all summer long.


Furthermore, finding the right resources during your summer internship can be a challenge. In Jessica’s case, she needed a specific data set to help her build out her project. Fortunately for Jessica, she found the person she needed to help her obtain the data, and that person was so integral that Jessica said “she was easily the most helpful person during my summer internship. There was no way that I would have learned how to pull that data by myself. Also, this person provided insights I may have not learned on my own time.”


Understand Corporate Culture

Coming to a new organization means learning the ins and outs of the company. For a full-time hire, it can take years to truly understand. This is even more challenging for a summer intern who is only there for 12 weeks. Jessica said that navigating the corporate culture was one of the biggest challenges of her summer internship. “By the time I really learned the culture of the company, I was halfway through my internship. Being new at the company and now knowing who to ask and even who I COULD ask for what was the biggest challenge of my summer. “

Jessica going through safety training during her summer internship

Jessica going through safety training during her summer internship


Pay attention to influence

On a number of occasions, people told Jessica to run something by a specific person, even if what she was doing was in almost perfect shape or if the changes were miniscule. In retrospect, Jessica said she wishes she would have paid a little more attention to these comments, as in hindsight, they showed who in the company had influence. “ Looking back, I could have taken that advice more seriously early on and perhaps gained an additional ally”


The little things matter

When asked what advice she had for summer interns, Jessica said, “I can’t underscore enough how much the little things matter. Smile, come in early and stay late. Buy people coffee. Join for group lunches. Those things can go a long way to an offer.”  Simply doing a great job at your work is necessary but not always sufficient. In the end, the little things get noticed and also add up, and can often help pave the way to an offer at the end of the internship.


MBA internships go by pretty fast. Before you know it, you’ll be back on campus for your 2nd year of business school. By following some of these tips, you can increase your chances of coming back to school with an offer in hand.