By Michael Xie, MMS student in the Class of 2014.
Jobless in November
As mid-November rolled around, I was not one of the fortunate few who had already landed a job offer, and therefore able to spend winter break in blissful relaxation. After speaking to my career coach about my resume and career goals, we determined that lack of experience was the biggest problem with my resume. Doing a Winternship was the best option for me to remedy that.
Since I was pursuing a career in strategy/consulting, I limited my search to opportunities that either centered on strategy or business planning in order to gain relevant experience. A couple Winternships fit the bill, but a posting for a Strategy Analyst position at Strayer Education caught my eye. Brand name, strategy, salary, two (out of four) weeks working remotely, around the holidays…Bingo. I applied and reached out to our contact there for some more information about the position. I talked briefly with one of their Senior VPs about the company and the project I would be working on, and received an offer for the internship a couple weeks later.
Strategy, Scheduling, and Modeling
My Winternship lasted four weeks. I spent the first week at the Strayer Education HQ in Herndon, VA, then worked remotely for the next two weeks. The last week I returned to the office to wrap up my project with them. My first day involved being introduced to people around the office, getting a short rundown of Strayer Education, and sitting in on a team meeting with the scheduling team that I would be working alongside in the upcoming weeks. Work started quickly and I was immediately presented with long-term goals and deliverables.
Over a four-week period I was able to work on a fairly big-picture strategic level, gain extensive experience with excel, and work on marketing and implementation as well as strategic design and planning. I was honestly shocked with the level of engagement in the internship and how much of a contribution I was allowed to make. After doing so many cases in classes at Fuqua, it was really rewarding to be able to work on an actual business case, and create and implement a recommendation. I was not only heavily involved in the project, but I was able to see its launch during my time there.
To Spring and Beyond
In reflection, my Winternship met all of my goals going in—and more. I have now worked in a strategy role that gave me not only solid experience to put on my resume, but helped me apply what I learned in class to a real-world environment. and I also confirmed my desire to pursue work in strategy after graduation. The structure of the Winternship, which allowed me to spend two weeks working remotely, gave me the opportunity to gain experience and still spend time at home in California with family and friends during the holidays. One term later, I have already been able to utilize my experience to get interviews and I have also received my first offer. I highly recommend pursuing a Winternship or a pre-Fuqua summer internship to gain some real work experience and boost your resume with relevant background in your chosen industry or role.