January 30th, 2012 by under Career Strategy. 1 Comment.

My cohorts and I have been back in Van Munching Hall for one week, and during that time many of us have sat for several first round interviews. As most of you know, the summer internship is pivotal. It allows us to apply the skills we’re learning in class to actual professional situations.

MBA candidates use HireSmith, an online portal run by the Smith School’s Office of Career Services (OCS), to apply for summer internships in marketing, finance, consulting, and other functional categories.

Several of our recruiting partners—PepsiCo, T. Rowe Price, M&T Bank, and Campbell’s—have already been on campus or are coming to campus this week. During their visits, the recruiters from these and other partner firms review resumes submitted through HireSmith and select a group of candidates to interview.

Each interview structure is unique. For example, PepsiCo had candidates meet with two sets of recruiters back to back, while M&T Bank conducted a first round in Van Munching this week and will arrange for second round interviews in Buffalo, NY in the coming weeks.

Most candidates have been working with a career coach since August on all stages of the interview process. I wrote about networking tips earlier in the year, as well as tips on how to navigate the national MBA conferences. When it comes to internship interviews, our career coaches have been working with us on two major styles: behavioral and case.

Behavioral interviews are when recruiters determine your overall fit by asking questions about situations you have encountered at work, school, or in your personal life. Some questions include “tell me about a time you led a team,” “tell me about a time when you failed,” “tell me about a time when you had to rely on your ability to persuade someone,” etc.

Case interviews are a simulation where recruiters describe a set of circumstances and ask interviewees to talk (or write) about how they would interpret the circumstances and how they would respond to the circumstances. Cases are sometimes more nuanced and complex than most candidates know, but this is does not affect the outcome of the interview. Recruiters are looking for how you think through the case, and not necessarily on what you recommend.

Our OCS team is working hard to put some 120 hard-working MBA candidates in choice internships this summer; they deserve credit and praise for their work. If you are fortunate enough to interview at Smith in the coming months, be sure to ask your interviewer about internship placements and the OCS team!


One Comment

Alissa  on January 31st, 2012

Great blog post — Good luck in the interview process, Damien!