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How to handle your internship offer(s)

Posted by Khaled Kteily on in Networking & Reputation
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Full-time positions are tough to come by; internships are even more difficult by virtue of the number of positions available (generally a couple at each firm). Still - some students will be in the fortunate position of holding multiple internship offers. For those of you, congratulations! Here are a few critical points to keep in mind throughout the process:

1. Don't take forever to answer. 

This one is very important - the longer you take to answer a company, the less excited they think you are about joining. Don't keep a firm waiting for too long - a week or two is understandable, especially if they know you have other offers, but don't take longer than that, and give them a valid reason. At some point, you will have learned everything there is to know about the company - you don't need details about which cubicle you'll sit in, what type of laptop you'll get, and what the dress code is on Fridays. 

You've built good will by receiving an offer. Learn what you need to know and then make a decision. I've heard stories about students who received internship offers but took so long to reply that they lost all partner-level support - that hurt their reputation and prospects when they did accept the offer. Don't be that guy (or girl)!

2. Focus on what matters

This will likely be a few things:

  • Location and length of your internship
  • Type of projects you are likely to work on and your preferences
  • Travel requirements (heavy/moderate/light/none) and your comfort with each
  • Whether you have strong support internally - do you have partners who will try to get you on your projects? Do you feel you're coming with a strong reputation?
  • Culture - to a point. Have a few coffee or phone chats with consultants, but after you've been through the entire recruitment process as well as more of these, you probably have a good sense of where you're joining
  • % of interns who typically get a return offer
  • Whether you would accept a full-time offer, if received

3. Think about your objectives

When I was recruiting for internships, I was deciding between DHL internal consulting, L'Oreal, and Chubb Insurance. At the time, I was set on consulting, and knew that I wanted to strengthen my application for full-time recruiting. I reached out to 3 associates and partners I had met throughout the recruitment process to solicit their feedback (which helped build a relationship for Fall recruitment) and ultimately settled on the most analytical role of the 3, as I believed it strengthened the weakest area of my application. 

It's up to you to do the same. If you have consulting offers, are you looking to stay at the firm, or are you using it as a stepping stone to other firms? If the former, then get to know as many people as you can and focus on building strong relationships that will benefit you in the long-run. If the latter, then find a way to let other firms know you have offers in hand, so that you can turn that into an interview come full-time recruiting. 

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Guest Aug 16, 2018