5 Tips to Secure a Dream Internship

ESSEC Global Bachelor in Business Administration (GBBA) students and alumni give us the lowdown on how they secured dream internships with leading global firms.

To ensure Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) students are well-equipped to tackle the working world, ESSEC Business School has made it mandatory they complete three internships: A three-month summer internship at the end of the first year, a one-month humanitarian or social work project, and a final, longer six-month internship nearer the end of their undergraduate journey.

But how do students with limited prior work experience go about securing these positions—especially the ones in competitive industries like finance or beauty?

We speak to Janice Liu and Radhika Tandon, whose interests lie in the beauty industry, as well as Simran Hathiramani and Siyi Chen, who are keen on the finance sector, about how they scored their dream internships.

 #1 Network, Network, Network

Siyi, who has at least four internships under her belt—and counting—across areas like compliance, product management and investment banking both in Singapore and China, recommends reaching out to ESSEC alumni for advice. 

In her experience, they’ve been extremely helpful: While one gave her tips on how to improve her LinkedIn profile when she first started her internship hunt, another offered to connect her to a hiring manager for a potential position, she recalls. 

Echoing her sentiments, Janice shares that she managed to score her dream internship at LVMH from networking at one of ESSEC’s career fairs. 

“I’d also recommend researching the team and people you’re interviewing with, so you understand their profiles before you meet them,” she adds.

#2 Keep Your Connections Fresh

This is particularly important in ensuring you can build a relationship with the people you network with, and don’t simply come across as “job-hungry”, Simran chimes in.

With the wisdom of someone who has done nine internships, she advocates for following-up with each connection and genuinely making an effort to get to know people, not just the role you are interested in.

After all, impact investing platform Bamboo Capital Partners had not been hiring when she first spoke to them, but because she followed-up, they remembered her and eventually offered her an internship role. Her favorite internship as a Sales & Trading Summer Analyst at J.P. Morgan came for similar reasons: She had applied for a different role, and despite not being selected, reached out to thank them for their time—which impressed the hiring team enough for them to recommend her to another department, she says.

#3 Reach Out for Referrals

Experience has taught Simran that it helps to get referrals from people you have worked with in the past. 

“People in the higher levels, especially in finance, might not take out much time for you if you don’t have a referral,” she muses, adding “Try to get your past bosses to give you a letter of recommendation, or even drop a note to the new hiring manager to vouch for your abilities,” she recommends. 

#4 Get Creative With Your Search

There are also many ways to catch a recruiter's eye. Radhika, for example, created a “web-resume”—a three-page website—that helped employers get to know her better. This caught the eye of French visual communication agency, Your-Comics, and in spite of the weak job market during the COVID-19 pandemic, they took her on for a digital marketing position.

She believes that researching a company goes beyond just reading up about it. To land her dream internship at L’Oreal, for instance, she took part in the 2021 L’Oreal Brandstorm Competition. This helped her understand the culture and values of the organization better—and the fact she won the contest at the national level only boosted her chances.

#5 Keep An Open Mind

Face it, you might not know what you like, or don’t, until you try it. After all, Siyi and Simran had no idea they would be keen on joining the finance sector when they first started their journey at ESSEC Asia-Pacific. 

“My career service advisor, Cerella, told me not to limit myself, but I didn’t believe her and kept applying for marketing positions,” Siyi recalls. “When I didn’t get in and ended up in product management, I began to realize she was right and there were so many other things I could explore.”

In the same vein, Janice, today works in human resources (HR) at Unilever, also discovered her passion for HR because of an internship she had landed.

In the words of Cerella Sim, Global BBA Career Advisor: “Don’t be fixated!” The world is your oyster, and whether it’s advice on your resume, tips for your interview, or simply a listening ear, ESSEC Career Services and the community, is here to help.

For more information about the program, please visit: https://www.essec.edu/en/program/global-bba/global-bba-international/

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