Is a Summer Internship Necessary in a One-Year MBA?

Adam Janikowski left his job as a vice-president of investment banking at BMO Capital Markets in Britain to pursue an MBA at INSEAD in France. However, INSEAD offers a ten-month MBA, rather than the traditional two-year stint offered by other schools such as Harvard and Wharton. So would pursuing a summer internship still be desirable, or necessary, with the shorter program?

For those pursuing a traditional MBA, the summer internship gives you a chance to “test the waters” at an investment bank, to make sure you are choosing the right career path. It also dramatically improves your chances of landing a full-time position with the same firm after you graduate.

INSEAD’s program runs from January to December and gives students a full two months off for the summer. Students can choose to use the time for a summer internship, or to travel, volunteer, or just relax at home with their families. INSEAD doesn’t require students to do anything in particular at this time.

However, according to Janikowski, who offers his perspective on the program in an article for the Globe and Mail, 56 percent of his classmates found an internship and spent their summers working. This compares to 100 percent of MBA students who participated in summer internships at Harvard.

One interesting side note on INSEAD: of the students who did spend their summers working, the vast majority of them did NOT go to work for their summer employer. In fact, 95 percent decided to try something new!

However, the reverse is also true. INSEAD Career Services advises students who are interested in moving into an investment banking job, particularly in a bulge bracket firm such as Goldman Sachs, that a summer internship is crucial. Many bulge bracket firms will only make full-time employment offers following an internship program.

“Participating in an internship gives you the opportunity to experience a career change without actually having to make a commitment. Almost all of my fellow students who worked over the break felt that the experience will be useful in their future career. An internship is also a good opportunity to earn some money at a time in one’s life when there is only cash outflow,” writes Janikowski.

Did you do a summer internship during your MBA program? Did you receive a job offer as a result? Add your comments below.

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