Internship Opportunities Crucial When Choosing B-school, Say 2012 MBA Interns

Post date: Jan 10, 2013 9:39:37 AM

MBAs from Chicago Booth, CEIBS and the Australian Graduate School of Management tackled strategic issues in consulting, logistics, tech and real estate

Four MBAs tell us that while getting an internship wasn't their top priority when choosing a business school, having completed internships at market leading firms they'd now put it much higher up their list!

Brianna Ragel, Brenda Desino, Susie Zhang and Kenny Jiang interned at firms that are all major players in several markets. They all landed their internships through their business school career services or alumni network.

What was most gratifying to the interns was the level of responsibility they were given. All of them analysed and made recommendations for key strategic challenges facing the firms, from opening a new division of Brazilian firm AGV Logistica, to a growth plan for Thomson Reuters. Read on to find out more!


Brianna Ragel spent six months with boutique consultancy Brainmates in Australia. The internship was offered through the career services at Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) and she worked 20 hours a week from October 2011 to April 2012. She hadn’t considered getting an internship as a crucial factor when choosing a business school - location, brand and ranking were more important to her. However, it was a “nice to have” on her list.

Brianna applied for the internship with Brainmates because of the opportunity to experience being a project lead from the get go. This meant working with clients independently, and really testing the knowledge and hard and soft skills she developed through her MBA studies.

She was given the chance to work as a product marketer for Brainmates. One of her responsibilities was to develop and write thought leadership papers, blogs and columns in order to promote Brainmates' services and share their expert industry insights with the market.

She completed one extensive piece of research on the Australian retail industry, which was then used to write and publish a White Paper titled 'A Fresh Perspective on Australian Retail'. It received some positive media coverage and reviews.

Additionally, she produced a comprehensive analysis of Brainmates’ business itself, their competitors, customers and industry - and captured this data in a 'Market Requirements Document'. This detailed document included market insights and recommendations, which Brainmates then drew on to define their next horizon business strategy.

Brianna was offered a full-time position at the end of her internship and she gladly accepted it although she did interview with other companies, and received offers from both Unilever and Fairfax Digital, a leading Australian publishing company. Brianna also received a high distinction for her internship!


Chicago Booth MBA Brenda Desino was a summer associate for AGV Logistica SA. AGV Logistica is a leading Brazilian third party logistics company, and also a portfolio company for Tarpon Investimentos, a Brazilian private equity firm.

Tarpon likes to keep a close eye on its portfolio companies and often hires staff to work directly in those companies. The alumni network at The University of Chicago, Booth School of Business was instrumental in landing Brenda this internship. One of the managing partners at Tarpon is a very active Booth alum. Also, the new CFO of AGV is also a Booth alum. There were also a few other interns at Tarpon and their investment companies from Chicago Booth.

Over the summer, Brenda worked on a strategic planning project aimed at reshaping AGV for the next three years. Her responsibilities included developing the structure of the project, conducting benchmark research, planning and executing a week long road trip to the US to visit industry analysts and C-level executives at North American logistics firms, planning two workshops to involve employees in the transformational process of the company, and writing a feasibility summary for a potential new division for the company.

Brenda had worked in logistics prior to joining Booth and planned on changing industries after the MBA but she took the internship because it offered her first-hand experience of an emerging market, the opportunity to interact closely with a successful private equity firm, and be deeply involved in developing strategy for an organization.

She had never been to Brazil and it was on the list of her places to go. While on the internship she worked on learning Portuguese through listening and having conversations with people. By the end of the summer, she could get by in restaurants, greet people, and engage in small talk. She also got to spend weekends traveling to Rio de Janeiro, Paraty, Buenos Aires, Iguaza falls, and the Brazilian countryside.


Susie Zhang spent the summer with Thomson Reuters in Beijing. She joined the company after they presented at the China Europe International Business School School (CEIBS) campus in Shanghai. She applied via the internal jobs posting system at CEIBS, and finally got the internship offer after several rounds of interviews.

When Susie was choosing business schools to apply to, the reputation of the school, its ranking and employment placements of students were her top priorities. However, after being on the internship she realized that the chance to work in the industry she was trying to switch into was invaluable.

Susie joined Thomson Reuters on their Summer Associate programme, designed for the company’s future leadership development programme. The project itself was very challenging and required integrating the skills that Susie had learned during her MBA. For example, she worked on a project that involved macroeconomic and political risk analysis, industry expertise, market analysis, financial forecasting, "suggestion formation", and a strategy roadmap.

Susie told us that Thomson Reuters recruited around 20 MBA students globally for that internship programme, in locations such as New York, London, Beijing, and Buenos Aires. The MBAs were grouped in virtual teams of five to develop a strategy plan for the company’s future development. Susie got to work with students from CEIBS and Tsinghua University, and two students from London Business School.


Former Ernst & Young auditor Kenny Jiang’s main reason for doing the CEIBS MBA was to move into the real estate industry. He felt that an internship was a good way to get a full-time post after the MBA and so applied to work at industrial real estate investment company Maple Tree in Shanghai.

He applied for the position through the school’s