Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Steps to Finding the “Perfect” Internship

A search for an internship is kind of like a Mission: Impossible movie but less Tom Cruise and more disappointment. Same amount of stress though.

From the beginning of spring semester, I knew that I was already behind on finding what to do for summer 2017. While many of my peers had already secured internships and leadership programs with big banks and companies, I had lagged behind and was unsure on what type of internship I was searching for; the only thing that I knew was that the location of this internship would have to be in New York. And so began my search.

Step One: Searching
I combed through job board websites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn and kept my ears open for any opportunities through Babson or my organizations on campus. As I want to concentrate in Marketing, I specifically searched for internships in the field of Marketing. In total, I applied to over thirty different internships by the end of the semester but only received responses from five (which varied from rejections to next steps). I soon learned that this was the reality of applying to internships as many of my friends shared similar experiences and I was beginning to lose hope of securing an internship before the end of the school year.

I applied to Kapten & Son because I was already familiar with the brand and the internship would work directly under the Brand Management VP in New York City. It sounded great from the start but I was skeptical about whether or not I would get a response. One week later, I received an email from Ashley (the Brand Management VP and my eventual supervisor) to set up a phone interview.

Step Two: Interviewing
Ok. Great. A phone interview. Much easier than an in-person interview or Skype interview right? WRONG (at least for me). As someone who gets nervous asking for more ketchup packets at McDonald’s, the thought of having a phone interview made my stomach turn. However, with guidance from my friends and trusted mentors, I prepared for the interview by doing my research on the company and preparing a list of questions.

To be frank, the interview was terrible. I studied the company and its history as best as I could, but nothing could stop my nerves. As many of my Chi Omega sisters know, during the interview I sneezed, blessed myself, and then proceeded to thank myself for blessing myself. In addition, when asked where my location was (because she knew I attended college in another state), I replied “Coleman;” yes, as in Coleman Hall. I had never wanted to hide under a rock more. After the interview, I made sure to send a followup thank you email to my interviewer, cringed at myself, and crossed my fingers.

Step Three: Have faith!!
Initially, I did not receive an offer from Kapten & Son. By then, the spring semester had already ended and any hope of having an internship for the summer was dashed so I focused more on finding odd jobs around my hometown, such as working in a food truck or a bubble tea shop. Kapten & Son seemed like it had the perfect mix of startup culture and established organization leadership so I was very disappointed. My motivation was very low after not receiving an offer and I felt insecure about my abilities.

Fast forward two weeks and I receive a call from Ashley. At that point, I was in the interview stage for another internship but I did not feel the same level of excitement that I did for Kapten & Son. I was offered the internship position at Kapten & Son and I was ecstatic. This was my first real internship and I was very excited to start learning.

Overall, not a very smooth process. I thought that finding an internship was as easy as submitting a resume but had no idea about the time commitment and effort it takes to find a “perfect” internship.

tldr; here’s what I learned on my internship search for summer 2017:
1. The perfect internship does not exist. Find what you’re interested in and what kind of company culture you like best and with any luck, they may overlap.
2. Research, research, research! Treat an interview like a quiz and study up on the company history. Being overprepared is better than being underprepared and shows the company that you care about its values.
3. Interviews are tough, but they go better than you think they do. I asked Ashley about my interview and she didn’t even recall my awkward monologue – just what kind of questions I asked and how much I knew about the company.
4. Keep the faith. Companies, more often than not, will probably not get back to you after you apply but as they say: when one door closes, another opens. Everything is a learning experience and as long as you put in the effort, it will pay off.

Stay tuned for more updates on my life as a Kapten!!

– Sharon