By Liz Warren-Pederson
Summer is prime internship season, so it’s no surprise that Eller MBA students have spent their summers hard at work, testing the coursework from their first year of classes in the corporate setting. Eller Buzz checked in with three MBAs to see how their internship experiences went, and how those experiences will help shape their final year in the program.
I worked as a project manager in the strategic business development unit at Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA). This opportunity essentially reaffirmed my decision to pursue my MBA. The SBD group is small and agile; it identifies and pursues new opportunities for SCEA. I worked on project for the Playstation 3 that targets a new market and sets up incremental revenue streams and extends the life-cycle of the console. It has been around a while, but never had a dedicated resource to figure out the specifics. After I caught up with the research that had been done, I spent the next 12 weeks taking ownership of the project while wearing multiple hats. I actually got to use all of the MBA skills I have gained from my education here — business strategy, economics, marketing, and finance — while at the same time using my background as a producer to generate the creative specifics.
SCEA has a dedicated university relations HR team that went out of its way to make sure all of the interns are getting the most out of their internships. I had a few career counseling sessions with a recruiter who gave me insights into how I can make my resume stand out even more in this competitive industry. The team also organized a few gaming and networking events over the summer, and gave us the opportunity to have a Q&A with SCEA’s president and CEO, Jack Tretton.
I found that I really enjoyed the business development side of the games industry, which requires an understanding of all areas of business. I’m glad I’ve taken a variety of different classes, and plan to keep that variety for this coming year. I’m continuing to aim for a career in the games industry, and my internship with Sony has shown me that I can do it.
My undergraduate degree was in chemical engineering. Prior to coming to the Eller MBA program, I was a nuclear operations engineer at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, where I worked and trained with the U.S. Navy. This summer I had the opportunity to intern for Emerson Network Power, a large company with many divisions. One of the biggest highlights of my internship was traveling to Chicago for the company-wide board meeting. It was an extraordinary experience to meet some of the most important executives in the company, from all over the world. I was able to attend their presentations and learn about the different business units. I also had the opportunity to have dinner with executive vice president Jay Geldmacher and receive career advice.
My internship was diverse, allowing me to pursue several interests including finance, marketing, and operations. Going into my second year, I am focusing more on operations courses, including one about supply chain and another in project management. The experience also emphasized the importance of communication, especially with upper management. I was able to share one of my projects to several VPs of the company, and I learned how to better present to an executive audience.
After earning my MBA, I hope to work in operations management. This internship helped teach me about the terminology used in operations, as well as the use of relevant software; it also helped solidify my interests. This experience gave me an opportunity to apply what I learned in my introductory MBA courses in a corporate setting, and I feel prepared for whatever I do next.
Before entering the Eller MBA program, I worked as an event coordinator for United Business Media, Game Developers Conference Management Team in San Francisco. My first job after college was working for a wholesaler in interior design in a project management sales support role. I also had experience working inside sales for an IT consulting firm and worked as a sales associate in several boutiques while in college.
During my internship with AT&T, I worked on projects designed to improve social media and digital care awareness through adoption of sites such as YouTube, Facebook, att.com, and others. I was asked to investigate industry standards and capabilities to help define the
social media strategic plan for search engine optimization, review AT&T presence on those sites, and develop
commentary and recommendations for leveraging customer searches.
AT&T is a strong company and this internship will open many doors for me. I was able to come in with little background in search engine optimization and deliver results. The experience has made me confident that I can go into any situation and hit the ground running to have a positive impact on an organization.
The first year of the MBA program was tough. It definitely made me doubt myself at times. I did not have nearly as much confidence in myself and my abilities as I do now. This internship really helped me believe in myself and my ability to succeed.