How Business Students Should Spend Their Summers

On top of that, Deloitte had a mentorship system in place to help her transition from school to working. “I had a councilor who was at the senior manager level and I got an advisor who was at the first-year level – and I had this for both rotations, so I had four people who were guiding me throughout the internship. I was able to talk to the first years about the process of being recruited and about the transition from interning to working full time. With the senior managers, I was able to talk to them about their life at Deloitte,” she recalls.

Undergraduate Research with Business Professors

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There are a number of reasons for doing undergraduate research with a business professor. For one, a research job will almost definitely be intellectually challenging, and an internship may or may not. You also have a good shot at getting a position, particularly if you participate in class and your professors know who you are. You’ll have gotten to know the professor you want to work for before you apply, or at very least, he or she can put you in touch with your desired faculty member.

Undergraduate research may conjure up images of test tubes and teenagers in oversized lab coats, but in business, the research is more likely to involve data analysis or testing new business theories.

Professors at the MIT’s Sloan School of Management – and at other business schools – conduct cutting-edge research, and an opportunity to participate in this can offer students a glimpse into what working in business will be like in the future.

Take MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), for example. The program is very institutionalized, professors are used to having multiple undergraduates work for them, and the opportunity is considered one of MIT’s undergraduate highlights.

Sloan professors are currently working on projects like measuring collective intelligence – by studying the ideal number of participants that maximize a group’s productivity – and exploring how technological developments like 3D printing will eventually change companies.

There is, of course, a downside: A research position comes with fewer potential contacts than a company internship. However, you’ll leave with some solid work experience, and you’ll have a leg up when it comes to applications next year. Plus, you don’t necessarily have to quit when the school year rolls around, so this is an opportunity to get to know someone well enough that they’ll write your rec letters for years to come.

Summer Language Intensive

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Most universities will offer summer language intensives – possibly as an alternative to a general language requirement. Requirement or not, business students should seriously consider learning a second language, especially if they aren’t leaving town and have easy access to their school during the summer months.

Knowing a second language is particularly important to students majoring in international business. However, according to Georgetown Professor Ricardo Ernst, who heads global initiatives at the McDonough School of Business, it’s a skill that every business student should possess.

“Business school education is moving toward emphasizing languages because companies need managers who are movable now,” Ernst says. “Companies want managers who can be moved around the world – so you can imagine how important it will be to know a second language.”

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