What's the best part of the country to look for an unpaid internship for an MBA student?
January 10, 2004 8:46 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend is almost finished with his MBA from a state university, with focus in marketing and human resource. He struggled just to come up with an unpaid internship. He is not a US citizen which complicates his finding job. Is there much hope out there for him finding a job that has something to with his degree, aside from selling clothes in a department store, like some other MBA grads we know. What is the best part of the country to look for a job? Any advice is welcome.
posted by Recockulous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Recockulous, I'd say go with the same advice given here.

I would only add that HR and Marketing jobs are VERY hard to come by in any city right now, and that he will need to build on unpaid internships, volunteering with his local SHRM and AMA groups to make contacts and let people see how he works, and start now.

One more thing - he should take pains when volunteering or interning to focus on the more humble aspects of the task at hand, rather than working on "strategic" projects and the like. It makes a difference to an employer when someone is willing to start at the bottom.
posted by pomegranate at 9:38 AM on January 10, 2004

What everyone else said about starting at the bottom. Also, he should work with his school's career placement departments closely -- the school of business that he's getting his MBA from should also have one as well as the college as a whole.

Unfortunately, he picked a really bad time to graduate and REALLY REALLY bad fields to get a degree in. Those are the two least-demanded business fields. A lot of the people who graduated in the past year with those degrees from my school of business (Portland State U) are coming back and getting third or fourth degrees in finance or logistics management... those being the two in-demand fields.

The only other thing I can suggest is to find a non-profit and offer to volunteer... and eventually work his way into a position as a volunteer coordinator. It's as good as an internship in HR with a big company, and he'll get the chance to figure out what he likes and doesn't like about the job.

Does he have any other work experience?
posted by SpecialK at 10:30 AM on January 10, 2004 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: His undergrad degree is in accounting but he has not taken that CPA test or whatever it is called that US accountants take. He has some experience with an accounting firm outside the US.

He would kill me if he saw me posting something like this :)

Do you have to be a US citizen to get a govt job? the reason i ask is because he is considering another intern with a city department of human resource and i didnt know if that would be able to lead into a real job with them.
posted by Recockulous at 10:46 AM on January 10, 2004

Might try the field of government contracting. Best place for that is the DC area. You can learn a little about the field by starting here. I recommend it because there are many many small gov't contracting startups, and since contractors supply workers for federal projects, that seems to fit the marketing and human resources area. One does not need to be a U.S. citizen to work for these companies.

A sample gov't contractor. Another one.
posted by JanetLand at 11:57 AM on January 10, 2004

Response by poster: I'm going to check out the volunteer groups pomegranate suggested and also look into janetland's suggestions, thanks.

The school career services center is pretty lame. He does meet with an advisor regularly. It seems like our school is so big the individual means nothing to the most of the staff outside of professors.
posted by Recockulous at 3:27 PM on January 10, 2004

Not to derail the thread, but what's a good degree to get into? I realize that degrees should be long term and not short term -- but if an MBA with marketing is bad... what about international business, finance and economics? Something along those lines would be better? Also how helpful is a degree outside of business along with a business degree (english lit, history, etc.). I realize these are questions for counseling but they seem really out of touch to the current economic climate. I was told int'l business with finance and economics and a third outside major would be a good way to get ahead quickly, but I'm very cautious...
posted by geoff. at 5:22 PM on January 10, 2004

International business, finance, supply and logistics management (although these are rare) and anything that ISN'T marketing (unless you plan on going into SALES), HR, or general management, UNLESS you already have work experience and have no problem getting jobs in those fields.

Why? There's too many people with marketing degrees, and marketing budgets have been small in recent years. Same thing for HR. Basically, you want to be in a field that can create real savings for a company in a down economy -- finance and supply/purchasing are two of those fields. HR, Marketing/Advertising (unless you're planning on entering sales), and general management are all cost centers that don't typically make the company money back, and all of those departments have been trimmed way back in recent years.

A degree in business with an additional external degree might be good if you're going into a field that would require it. For instance, if you're really interested in running non-profit organizations, you might get an additional undergrad in communication, counseling, or philosophy, depending on the type of non-profit you want to work for. Or, if you'd like to manage an art gallery, get a degree in business and a degree in art history.

But ... before you decide to get a second degree, figure out what you want to do. And make sure it's what you want to do. The year before you graduate is *not* the time to be going "Uhhhh... now what?"
posted by SpecialK at 5:49 PM on January 10, 2004

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