As I entered my first year at the Rady School, I prepared to hit the ground running in search of my summer internship. It is true what the Careers Connections team warns about during orientation – the recruiting season is well underway by the time first year students start at Rady. It is important to start the job search early! In October of 2017, I attended an on-campus IBM panel featuring IBM employees in different roles, including distinguished engineers, offerings managers and Summit Program representatives. After the event, I used LinkedIn to connect with the Summit Program panelist to set up a call to get a more detailed perspective on what the Summit Program entailed. The Summit Program representative had gone through the program and was able to answer my questions and provide guidance on how to apply for the internship successfully. What I was not aware of initially was that this representative had direct access to the program’s recruiting team and recommended me on the back-end for a position.
A few months before the start of the internship an IBM in San Francisco, the Summit Program managers paired me with an industry leader for the State of Washington. My assignment was to conduct a sales prospecting analysis to help implement best practices for the territory sales team. Working closely with each team member was valuable in that I got 15 different perspectives on what it is like to be an IBMer and learn about the company culture simultaneously.
The Summit Program sponsored travel to Dallas for orientation and to your host region for summer assignment purposes. Since the territory I was assigned was Washington State, my host manager and I planned for me to fly to Seattle twice, one for client-facing meetings and the second for internal planning meetings. The opportunity to travel was a nice perk to have as an intern and it also gave me a taste of life at IBM.
Participating in a summer internship is an invaluable experience for an MBA student pursuing the corporate track. What better way to “test drive” a new industry, company and geography? My experience this summer allowed me to explore the tech industry and live in the Bay Area where tech is king. While my summer was filled with travel and a heavy workload, I was able to find networking opportunities inside IBM and in the San Francisco area. Needless to say, it was nice to have a month off before my second year at Rady commenced!
Elizabeth Castaneda is a member of the Rady School of Management Class of 2019 MBA cohort. She is also the president of the Women of Rady student organization.