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Summer Internships Give EC Students First Chance to Utilize HBS Skills

The summer internship is considered a cornerstone of the HBS experience: a chance for entering EC students to apply the skills they so carefully cultivated throughout the RC year, such as finance, marketing, accounting, and arrogance.

“I really loved my summer at Morgan Stanley,” gushed Lizzie Sanders (OB), “I spent 10 weeks performing multiple valuations on telecom companies, as well performing valuations on my fellow interns from other business schools.” Sanders reports that she values LinkWorld Telecom at $1.2 billion, Pan-China Cellular at $4.8 billion, and the Kellogg MBA at a minimum of ($120 thousand). “Can you believe that WE get the reputation of being a ‘fluffy’ program?” asked an incredulous Sanders, “I’ll never forget the look on that guy’s face when I pointed out that not only did he forget to unlever his beta, but that the comps that he chose were utterly irrelevant. Thank goodness that at HBS we learn not only how to perform these calculations, but also how to perform a triumphant little snort when explaining these things to people from other business schools!”

Jen Russert (OJ) spent the summer working in consumer product marketing, and says that she really enjoyed applying what she’s learned. “This summer, I developed an impressive matrix that brilliantly ranked our product lines’ performance across the ‘4 Ps’,” exulted Russert. “Unfortunately, my fellow intern from Stern wasn’t nearly as impressive. If I had to do an analysis of her 4 Ps, I’m afraid to report that she would be seriously lacking in all of them, especially if those ‘Ps’ are ‘persuasion’, ‘perspicacy’, ‘panache’ and ‘pintelligence’.”

Other students working in various fields had similar experiences. “Strategy consulting was fantastic! I used the ‘five forces’ day in and day out – what a practical, applicable framework!” John Kelso (OL) said. However, he had less glowing things to say about his fellow summer analyst. “Dude, the only forces that guy knew how to apply were the forces of laziness and mediocrity – he consistently spoke so timidly and softly, even after I repeatedly knocked on the client’s conference room table! Sure, his idea might have saved the client $5 million, prevented the CEO from having to fire the plant workers that desperately depend on these jobs for their livelihood, and developed a solution to getting affordable prescription drugs to the developing world…but hey, any idea presented in such a wussy tone of voice clearly deserves a big fat ‘3’ in my book, no matter how many ‘lives’ it ‘saves’!”

These experiences extended to learning from supervisors too. “OK, so maybe my boss knew a little bit more than I did about some obscure FIN stuff like trading foreign currencies, but please – as we learned in LEAD last year, in the grand scheme of a leader’s life, is that what’s really important?” asked Amanda Hockner (OD) who spent the summer interning at the division of a bank that solely exists to trade foreign currencies and whose employees do nothing more day in, day out than live and breathe to trade foreign currencies. “I thought I had done such a good deal – buying 100 Indian Rupees per US dollar! Which is a good deal, considering it’s usually only about 45 per dollar, so I was psyched. Then, I realized that I hadn’t purchased Indian Rupees after all, but Indonesian Rupiah, which apparently is like, not the same thing. My boss was so mad! And she had the nerve to still be angry, even after I patiently explained to her that, while my blunder may have cost the bank a few million dollars, ‘learning from past mistakes’ is one of the most valuable things there can be in a leader’s life, so , actually she should have been thanking me. I even offered to give her a copy of the Josie Esquivel case, but she was still immature enough to be upset! Well, I wasn’t enjoying the unsupportive corporate culture that she was creating with all that screaming, so I turned right around, left the office, and went a got a pedicure.”

“I deserved it after having to put up with her.”

September 13, 2004
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