MBA students share top 5 benefits of an internship

MBA students share top 5 benefits of an internship

Published 14 November, 2018

As a postgraduate student juggling work, study and other commitments, you might find yourself questioning the benefits of an internship. Is it simply a box you need to tick off to finish your degree, or will putting in the extra work to maximise the experience pay-off?

Overall, research indicates that internships can be very valuable, particularly when students have clear objectives in mind. Our statistics show that 78% of KBS students who completed an Academic Internship went on to secure employment in their chosen field within nine months.*

Getting an internship

Being strategic about how you find and select an internship is key to reaping the benefits at a later stage. Working with your school’s career centre can be the best way to secure an internship that will most closely align with your goals and objectives. One KBS student reflects on her interaction with Kaplan Business School’s career resource, Careers Central:

One of my favourite services at Kaplan Business School is Careers Central. From day one I was given advice about Academic Internships and professional help in securing one. But I also really valued the psychological support in having the confidence to interview well
and work to a high standard at an international and highly reputable company. – Erdenetsetseg Tumurjav

(completed an internship with Accor Group)

Internships often come with a stigma of ‘working for free’, but what really happens is an exchange of your time in return for valuable experience within an environment that will improve your future employability.  

We chatted to current and past MBA students who have completed an academic internship, to get their insights on the matter.

They believe that the top 5 benefits include:

1. You can learn technical and ‘soft’ skills that only come with experience

A 2018 QS global survey of almost 11,000 employers, showed that the development of soft skills, had become almost as important as technical skills. These are skills such as communication, teamwork, resilience, flexibility and problem solving – essential skills you can only gain through experience.

QS CEO Nunzio Quacquarelli said it was becoming more vital that education institutions prepared graduates for the world of work by providing opportunities for internships, overseas study, extra-curricular activity and active learning.

Reflections from our MBA students:

My experience improved my soft skills and capabilities in the workplace, such as time management, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. Zhanna Kurenkova (completed an internship with Trisco Foods)

The advantages I’m working towards include the ability to communicate with people, to understand leadership roles and to become a great manager. – Grace Lopez (MBA graduate, completed an internship with InDebted)

MBA graduate Grace Lopez

2. You’ll gain insights into the Australian business environment and your industry

No business or industry operates in quite the same way, but this is an insight that it’s virtually impossible to understand until you work for one! For many businesses, their unique internal operations can make all the difference between success and failure.

Reflections from our MBA student:

 It was interesting to learn about the Australian work culture. The Careers Central team was polite, keen to share information and prompt with responding to all my enquiries. From my internship, I’m learning about all the processes that form part of the HR function, and I can see first hand how this supports the business.  Erdenetsetseg Tumurjav

MBA student Erdenetsetseg Tumurjav – right

3. You can make connections that lead to paid work

Network building is one of the key opportunity areas when undergoing an internship. As with most professions, in business ‘it’s not what you know – it’s who you know.’ Internships are a great way to get a foot in the door, learn from more experienced professionals and make an impression.

Reflections from our MBA students:

I made a lot of professional connections and received excellent recommendations that have already helped me to find work. I’ve recently been hired by a large Australian electronics company as a quality and compliance specialist.  Zhanna Kurenkova

4. You can test out the course material you’ve been learning

Until it’s tested out in the real world, everything you learn in class is theoretical. When you complete an internship as part of study, you get a feedback loop that enhances your learning. Your course content guides your actions in the workplace, then you can use your experiences to reflect on the theory. Plus, you get to do assignments while working. It’s a win, win!

Reflections from our MBA student:

 I think knowledge learned through books alone can’t help us to face all the contingencies that we would meet in real life situations, so an internship gives us the best chance to practice. Erdenetsetseg Tumurjav

5. You will learn about yourself and gain confidence

Whether you’re sitting in a job interview or trying to run a team of staff – confidence is key to your success. But despite what some people think, it’s not something that can be faked. One of the best ways to grow as a person and to gain confidence is to put yourself in situations where you’re challenged. Undertaking an internship will certainly test your skills in various ways, but that makes it a great opportunity to develop your resilience.

Reflections from our MBA students:

During this internship, I was really able to develop my self-confidence by working on my interpersonal skills, my professional competencies and my ability to immerse myself in the organisation and engage in critical thinking. Erdenetsetseg Tumurjav

The internship helped me to reflect on my personal strengths and weaknesses in the context of stakeholder management at the workplace. Zhanna Kurenkova

MBA student Zhanna Kurenkova

Make sure that when you choose an MBA program, your institution provides opportunities for an internship that will be targeted to your individual needs.

See here for more information about academic internships as part of Kaplan Business School’s flagship MBA program.

*Based on students who completed an Academic Internship between September 2017 and June 2018.

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