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The Lighter Side of HBS – What Should I Do This Summer?

In these trying economic times, the rabbit has become even more elusive. HBS Career Services cite a 27% decrease in internship postings with the Finance, Real Estate, and CPG areas hit especially hard.

As HBS students struggle to find summer internship opportunities, one student turned to her section for creative ideas.

Like Alice in Wonderland, students in the HBS bubble find joy in its magical insulation. Walking outside in the winter? We have tunnels. Boring classroom lectures? We have case discussions. Bland cafeteria food? We have the international buffet and brown rice sushi! Yet, as great as it in inside, we all know that this happy state is ephemeral. Come December, we all start chasing the white rabbit. We preen for calls with alumni hoping they can help guide us on our quest. We run around scrambling to get our cover letter done. Anxiety echoes through the halls of Spangler, “I’m late! For a very important date! I need a summer internship!”

In these trying economic times, the rabbit has become even more elusive. HBS Career Services cite a 27% decrease in internship postings with the Finance, Real Estate, and CPG arenas hit especially hard. They warn that times will get worse and our EC brethren have it far worse as companies are even reluctant to recruit full time employees they do not know if they will be able to afford. They urge RCs to focus and be flexible. They remind us to talk to alumni, ECs, and our RC classmates.

With a ruffled petticoat, I am one of the many students still at the tea party. I persist in my quest for an internship in the industry I desire. I remain intrigued by its Cheshire allure and hope someone will soon be swayed by my experience and passion. With that said, I could not resist asking the mad hatters around me for their craziest ideas as to what other options I should consider. With a smile, I posed the question.

“What should I do this summer?”

Alan Braly, former Biomaterials Scientist, suggested finding employment as a: “part-time tasting editor for a ‘recession-proof’ cookbook titled, “These Trying Times: 101 Recipes with Velveeta and Spam. Seems like you might find a lot of customers among local MBA students paying ~7% on their loans.”

Annie Gossett, Marketing Maven, recommended: “Get inspired by your first entrepreneurial venture and start a mobile ‘lemonade’ stand for the 21+ crowd. Partner with Smirnoff, make special appearances outside Boston hot-spots, and have your success story published in an HBS case. Or, just spend your summer drinking the lemonade, which should set you up well for full-time interviews this fall.”

Ambar Bhattacharyya, Venture Capitalist, shared his personal “what if” scenario: “go through my 1990s hip hop CD collection and finally learn all the words to ‘Gin and Juice’ – lifetime aspiration – or work on my story for re-applying to business school for the class of 2012.”

Roy Ben-Dor, section career representative and former consultant, offered a Minto-structured plan: “Dig for gold. Step 1: Work on your body. Learn another language. Study art and music. Step 2: Locate a member of a royal family or an heir to a multi-generational fortune. Step 3: Begin digging.”

Friends outside of HBS offered similarly helpful ideas ranging from “start a psychiatry clinic. trying times call for therapy” to “come be my personal chef!” My sister, an ecologically-minded college student added her two cents, “Why not come live on a farm with me?ÿ Rent is only backbreaking labor.ÿ Comes with a free intensive tan or, in your case, burn.” Although my thirst might be quenched by lemonade or Gin and Juice and it’s hard to resist a third-degree sunburn, I’ll stick with plan A and hope that the Queen of Hearts lets me keep my head!

March 9, 2009
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