Lessons Learned from Top MBA Internships

Internship 1
Jon Gulbransen, Intel
Internship 2
Everett Betts, L'Oréal USA
Internship 3
Kristin Beehler, Regions Bank
Internship 4
Kristin Beehler's thank you note from co-workers

This summer, 100% of the full-time MBA students from TCU Neeley School of Business participated in challenging internships across the country, working with some of the nation’s biggest companies: FedEx, Danone, AT&T, Merck and Oncor, among others. We asked several of these students about what they learned in their internships and how the experience will impact their careers going forward. Here’s what they had to say:

Jon Gulbransen (MBA, '18) Strategic Finance Intern, Intel, Chandler, Arizona

“My biggest takeaway from my internship is that organizations expect MBA graduates to provide value from day one,” according to Jon Gulbransen. Prior to starting his MBA, Jon was a financial data associate for Moody’s Investors Service and is a former minor league pitcher in the Chicago White Sox organization. At Intel, Jon was tasked with developing an investment strategy for network products, which involved building a ranged market model using a program called Decision Quality in Excel. While his internship put his technical skills to the test, Jon said his data analytics course had prepared him well.

As technical as his internship was, Jon was reminded “how important soft skills are as an MBA.” He added, “As an MBA, we are not hired to be spreadsheet drones. We are expected to be critically thinking about how to move the organization forward.”

How did he perform? When it came time to present his findings to Intel executives, Jon felt that his presentation was far more refined than those of the other MBA interns. He credits TCU's focus on experiential learning with making his internship successful. As he says, "case competitions and the Neeley and Associates consulting group provided me with experience that proved incredibly valuable and highlighted my abilities when it came time to present." 

The Intel executives must have agreed – Jon received a full-time offer on his last day of the internship. Whether he accepts that offer or not, the internship experience has impacted his path forward post-MBA. “This was my first corporate finance experience and one that I enjoyed greatly,” said Jon. “My goals have shifted to pursue strategic roles that drive organizational growth.”

Everett Betts (MBA, '18)Sourcing/Contract Manufacturing Intern, L’Oréal, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey

For career-changer Everett Betts, one key lesson from his internship at L’Oreal’s secondary headquarters in New Jersey was “learning how to navigate through a larger organization, identify the key stakeholders and seek out the information I needed.” The former Marine credits Neeley with “giving me a strong foundation of core business skills, and that enabled me to feel comfortable asking questions — and for help." Those were essential skills for someone working in an unfamiliar industry. Everett’s internship involved a deep dive analysis of makeup powders, the goal being to develop a three-year roadmap for the company’s supplier base while identifying cost saving opportunities across brands.

So how did someone with experience in gun powder end up charting strategy for makeup powders? After working closely with his career coach, he applied for the position online. It was a competitive process, and to stay in touch Everett even participated in one of his interviews by phone while on a TCU study abroad experience in Chile. Once on the job, Everett was ready. He said that his Neeley experience gave him “the confidence to handle my project and still take advantage of the networking and extracurricular opportunities that are a big part of the internship experience."

His internship also gave him perspective on steering his career path going forward. Everett says that the internship will help “shape my expectations of potential employers and identify other areas of interest that I can take my career.”

Kristin Beehler (MBA, '18) — Commercial Lending Intern,Regions Bank, Birmingham, Alabama

Working for Regions Bank at their corporate headquarters in commercial lending and financial analysis, Kristin Beehler relied heavily on the coursework from her first year at TCU Neeley to get the job done. After all, this former U.S. Army officer and West Point graduate knows the value of preparation. “My finance and accounting courses at Neeley enabled me to quickly and effectively perform financial analysis and come up with an appropriate risk rating for each company,” she says.

What was Kristin's principal takeaway from her experience? Beyond knowing what tools to use in order to succeed in her position, Kristen singles out how her internship broadened her horizons in unexpected ways. “Never underestimate the value of networking. Building relationships across the organization is essential, not just within your own department,” she observed. While Kristen enjoyed her commercial lending role this summer, she may try to branch into marketing later on. “I was fortunate to make connections in the marketing department while I was there.”

“I also learned that company culture and fit make a big difference in your experience,” she said. “I was privileged to be at a company with a great culture and surrounded by kind, positive people every day.”

If you're looking to alter the trajectory of your current career arc, an internship can both inspire and transform your outlook. Learn more about how TCU MBAs make the most of their internship experiences by visiting the Neeley School of Business website.

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