When Marisa Midyet started the Denver MBA program last fall, she had a lot on her mind. Not only was she navigating her new class schedule, tackling the program’s first core challenge, formulating her Personal Growth Agenda with a professional development coach and getting to know her classmates, she was also laying the groundwork for something that wouldn’t happen for another 10 months—her summer internship.
While it can be difficult to plan for something that’s nearly a year away, Midyet’s foresight and initiative helped her land an internship at Johnson & Johnson, where she’s spent the past few months creating a leadership development strategy for general managers. “It’s been an amazing experience for me where I’ve had the opportunity to make an impact,” Midyet said. “The culture at J&J is phenomenal. They focus on bringing your authentic self to work every day, which connects with my core values and what we’ve learned in the Denver MBA [program].”
Despite her busy schedule, Midyet carved out time to chat about her internship experience, including tips for making the most of it.
First things first …
Perhaps the most important component of capitalizing on one’s internship experience is finding the one that’s right for you. “If you’re looking for an internship at a large Fortune 500 company outside the Colorado area, you’ll likely need to travel to one of the large MBA career fairs,” Midyet said. “I first connected with J&J at the National Black Prospanica Conference in September. Then, I interviewed with the company at the National Association of Women MBAs Conference, which I heard about through [Daniels’] Women in Business [student group].” Since both of these career fairs take place in the fall—just a few weeks after classes start—Midyet stressed the importance of being proactive when trying to find the right internship. “You have to start [your internship search] early,” she said.
Network, network, network.
Midyet focused on building professional relationships to secure her internship at J&J, and now, as she heads into the last few weeks of the company’s leadership development program, she continues to see the benefits of a strong professional network. “Don’t underestimate the value of networking,” Midyet said. “Build it into your summer schedule because it’s easy to become so focused on day-to-day aspects of your projects.” She also emphasized the importance of networking with a variety of individuals within the company because it “helps you learn about different parts of the business, and it also allows others to get to know who you are and the work you are doing.”
Challenge the status quo.
Interns are expected to bring a fresh perspective to the company they’re working for, so providing a new point of view is often encouraged and expected. Midyet explained, “I learned how to collaborate with conviction by leveraging the skills I learned from the Denver MBA program and applying them this summer to bring a new point of view to my team. My teammates told me I brought value to the organization by offering different perspectives on how to approach a problem and helping the team move forward with a collaborative approach.”
Apply what you know.
Since graduate students often have years of work experience under their belt—as well as knowledge gleaned from the classroom—they can bring a lot to the table as interns. “The Denver MBA—specifically the coaching program and challenge-focused curriculum—has helped me understand how to work well in teams. I’ve learned about my work style and how I show up in a group, which has helped prepare me for this internship. I [also] learned I want to be in the healthcare industry. I found a company and an industry that resonates with my core values,” Midyet said.
In just a few weeks, Midyet will be wrapping up her internship and returning to campus. Despite the fact that she’s thoroughly enjoyed her experience at J&J, she’s looking forward to the final year of the Denver MBA program—especially the Global Challenge. “We don’t know where we are traveling yet, but I know there is a healthcare-focused project, so I’m crossing my fingers for that one.”
For more information on the Denver MBA, visit daniels.du.edu/denver-mba.