Arvind Meganathan

“I’m learning to walk on fire.” That’s how Arvind Meganathan (MBA ’20) explains his Tesla internship experience this summer. “Everything is so dynamic and fast-paced that you always need to be ready to adapt to new situations and execute tasks quickly,” he said.

Each summer, full-time MBA students at the Eli Broad College of Business are challenged to spend their time interning at top US organizations. The purpose of the challenge: for students to put learned skills into practice and connect with professionals working in their areas of interest. The Full-Time MBA career services team makes it a priority to help students land internships; coaching and providing resources for them throughout their search.

The projects Meganathan has been tasked with as an intern don’t involve busywork. Quite the opposite, actually. He’s managing critical supply chain initiatives like strategic sourcing for an upcoming Tesla passenger car that will be manufactured in China.

Charles Fobbs (MBA ’20) is spending his days this summer helping Facebook improve its data center processes (Facebook continues to expand its data center infrastructure worldwide). Although internships are a program requirement, Fobbs says he wasn’t necessarily just looking for an internship — instead, he was in search of an experience that would help shape his career.

Ayla Olvera (MBA ’20), an intern at Intel, was also looking for something beyond an internship. She wanted to make global connections across technology and supply chain management that will help her career go international as she gains more experience.

Charles Fobbs

To land some of the most coveted internships in the US, all three full-time MBA students took a different approach. Meganathan applied to open positions on Tesla’s website and was recommended by current Broad students interning there. Fobbs met a Facebook director during a class presentation and stayed late to introduce himself and ask about internship opportunities. Olvera interviewed with several Intel professionals within the company’s Global Reverse Logistics group to secure her spot.

They all agreed that choosing an internship wisely is essential to landing on-the-job experiences that let students assume project ownership, take responsibility for crucial work and try new ideas.

By researching available opportunities and speaking to other Broad MBA students who interned at the firms he was interested in, Meganathan found exactly what he was looking for. “Interns here are treated like full-time employees,” he said. “I was given projects on the second day and am learning on the job. I’m given projects that full-time employees would have worked on in my absence. There’s been no situation where my ideas and decisions weren’t valued just because I was an intern.”

Ayla Olvera

When Olvera landed her internship at Intel, she worried about whether she could meet with the high-level executives she hoped to network with. Instead, she’s had the opposite experience. “I’ve been able to reach out to new contacts across groups and across oceans to set up calls and get help with my projects, regardless of my tenure with the company,” she explained.

Working at a fast-paced company like Facebook has given Fobbs the break he was looking for as well. “Instead of keeping the pace, I’m setting the pace,” he said. “Considering how fast we move, I’m surprised at how efficient meetings are and the fact that emails are reserved for ‘when necessary.’”

To help MBA internships play out successfully, Olvera said she has learned some valuable lessons: “Start networking as soon as you start the program, don’t be afraid to connect and message new LinkedIn contacts, and start practicing your pitch and interviewing as soon as you can. And don’t take rejection personally. It’s all part of business.”