Internship Recruiting – Insight from Berkeley Juniors

Note: This post was uploaded on behalf of one of my awesome bloggers, Ashley Mello. – Catherine Limcaco, Editor.

As a transfer student, I came to Haas thinking, “Hey, I’m at one of the best business schools in the country. Internships and jobs will basically be handed to me on a golden platter.” As arrogant as that sounds, I didn’t mean it. I mean, I came to Haas with “confidence, without attitude,” but with all new experiences, there was a bit of natural ignorance present as well. Not to say as a transfer student you can’t get an awesome internship at say Bain, Deloitte, JP Morgan, or Levi Strauss, for example; you can. But, like all great things in life, landing that internship offer comes with preparation, practice, hard work, and dedication. My peers and I, both transfers and continuing students, have some pretty awesome summer internships lined up. I interviewed some of these people to get some insight on their recent experiences with the recruiting process. Hopefully this will help any future Haas students and current students still going through the process, or pretty much anyone wanting to learn about internship recruiting.

Before we get going with the student experiences, I would like to address that a summer internship is not by any means essential for full-time recruitment success or landing a great job after graduation. Seeking a summer internship is a personal choice, and while it has its benefits, I know many amazing students who have other plans for summer such as travel or research projects, and completing these things have equal, if not greater value and speaking points during full-time recruiting interviews. It’s up to you which path you choose for summer, but it must be the right choice for you.

Chris Klein – Business Administration, 2013

As a transfer, I was unprepared for the seriousness and competitiveness of the recruiting process at Haas and learned many valuable lessons throughout the process, albeit through failures. Here are some tips that can help.

  • Take it seriously. Don’t assume that because you are a Haas student you are going to have an internship handed to you. Competition is stiff from Haas and Non-Haas majors and the market is favored for business right now. Candidate pools are large and position openings are small.
  • Research the companies you are interested in. This can’t be emphasized enough. Just as much as you are looking for a good fit, they are as well and showing that you have done your due diligence by researching the company will show your commitment towards a potential internship opportunity.
  • Go to info sessions! Don’t just go there, but get there early. Company representatives are available for valuable networking opportunities. Sometimes the individuals there will be directly involved with the interviewing/hiring process. The chance to talk one on one with them is not available at the end of the info session. Everyone will rush the company reps and you will have no chance to standout or create any meaningful connection with them. Get there early, no one else will be there and if the reps are willing, you can get a great chance to meet and talk with them.
  • Put the time into your cover letters! Don’t copy and paste company info and change who the letter is addressed to. Tailor your letters to each company you are applying to. Try to include relevant information into each letter, and if you can mention company specific events or individuals you’ve talked to do so. Don’t try to over “name drop” it must be done tactfully. The goal here is to again show that you have spent time looking into the company and talking with employees to better inform yourself about the company. It takes practice but you should try to find a balance of showing your efforts into informing yourself out the company, presenting reasons why you can provide value to the company, and expressing humbleness and respect regarding a potential interview.
  • Have your resume reviewed. A lot. Don’t think that your resume is fine as is. It never is. There are always additional things that can be added, tweaked, etc. You may also want to create multiple resumes for different types of positions to highlight specific skills and accomplishments relevant to the different positions.
  • Practice interviewing. Don’t go in to an interview thinking you can wing it. Have answers ready for many different types of behavioral questions. If its a technical position try to look into the broader picture of what skills are needed and see if you can relate that towards existing skills you have or go through a quick self motivated educational “training” session to learn what you can.
  • Apply everywhere. Assume that you might get a call back from at most 25% of your applications. This number may fluctuate but the point is to not box yourself into the thought process of “I want these three positions so I won’t apply anywhere else”. If you don’t hear back from them you may have missed out on many opportunities for other firms due to closed deadlines.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Your probably going to be meet with a lot of no’s, thanks but we went elsewhere, etc. It’s part of the process. Learn from each interview and continually try to relate that information to future interviews.

Iann Wu – Business Administration, 2013

  • Create your Linkedin profile and use Inmail function to reach out to people, especially Cal alumni, within the companies of your interest. Set up coffee chats and gather as much information as you can. The key to informational interviews is to become likable.

Ben Dubois – Business Administration, 2013

  • The Career Center talks / recruiting prep events seem to skip over one of the most vital resources Haas furnishes for carving out a career and getting a good job: your professors. I received more good career advice, networking tips, and interviewing tips in an hour meeting with one of my professors than I did from any other source. Professor Holly Schroth is especially helpful with career advice (OB and negotiations).
  • I think it is very important for people to research as early as possible the type of interview process they have to go through in their chosen field. Some fields such as consulting and ibanking have case interviews where it may be necessary to practice for interviews starting months in advance. For consulting cases, a great resource is the book Case in Point and the website caseinterview.com.

Justin Hoffmann – Economics, 2013

Do’s:

  • Focus solely on getting the highest GPA you can during your first semester. This will be the GPA you present to firms on your resume during winter/early spring recruiting season. Also, try to get involved in career-related extracurriculars (e.g., UFA/UMCG, BC), business fraternities and/or case competitions to help create a background of demonstrated interest in the career field.
  • Do research on networking etiquette and learn about the industries/firms you’re interested in. Also, attend firm-led informational events and begin developing a network of professionals with whom you can speak with over the phone to learn more about what they actually do.
  • Craft your resume so that it creates a storyline that reveals a solid background of demonstrated interest related to your desired career field.

Don’ts:

  • Do not mess up your first semester GPA.
  • When networking, do not ask general/boring/predictable questions that the professional has heard a million times.
  • Do not think that anything is guaranteed; don’t become complacent just because you got into Cal/Haas.

Final piece of advice:

  • Work hard, and be as strategic as possible. Learn from successful peers. Reach out to alum. And finally: Do not ever give up until you get what you want.

That’s all for now, everyone. Good luck with your interviews and go land that offer!

Ashley Mello 13′

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