Why a MBA / Leadership Development Program (vs. direct hire)?
The MDP program provided exposure to multiple departments (R&D, Marketing) and contacts that allowed me to get a feel for the business. Because it is offered to MBA students that are completing their program, it was a good way to get exposure while still retaining the flexibility to return to school full time after the completion of the internship.
What are the key advantages / disadvantages of being on a MBA / Leadership Development Program?
You get great exposure to senior leaders in multiple departments. They are willing to help guide and mentor you. The program I was in exposed me to alot of brilliant people in both the marketing and R&D departments, and they were very open in sharing their knowledge with me.
A disadvantage of the program is its length. Three months is a very short time, and so you have to really be on top of your game to get your work/projects done, network, and make sure you are meeting with all the right people (as well as people from other departments who you might potentially want to work in).
How does the MBA / Leadership Development Program fit in your career goals?
The program gave me a great deal of insight into how cross functional teams operate in a large organization. I was exposed to the internal procedures as well the unique challenges that different departments face on a daily basis. This gave me a good perspective on what to expect after I finished business school and moved on to my next full-time position.
How strongly did you weight the location of the program?
The location of the program was not ideal (I was a "local" candidate and my commute time was often up to 90 minutes one-way), but I deemed the experience valuable enough to warrant the commute. The distance was not a determining factor in my decision to join the program.
If I was an out-of-town candidate joining the program for the summer, I probably would have had an easier time. The program provided nearby housing for the non-local candidates and so they were able to focus more of their attention on work than on logistics like commuting.
What to look for in a MBA / Leadership Development Program?
I would seek out companies known for their name/reputation, professional growth opportunities, and culture. Ideally the company should have a structured program in place that they have operated for at least a few years, so that they have experience in growing new hires as well as the ability to clearly articulate what it takes to succeed in the internship.
Can you summarize the recruiting process you went through and how long it took?
I submitted my resume and online profile early in the year and was contacted by HR about 2 months before the program started. They scheduled two follow-up phone interviews with present employees. About two weeks after the second phone interview I was e-mailed an offer letter.
What were the required skillsets and prior experience and how were they evaluated (behavioral interviews, case studies, assessment center, panel interview, etc)?
Standard interview questions were asked during the phone screens. They are looking for candidates who can work well in teams, deal with conflict, have organizational interests in mind, and can fit in with the company culture.
What advice and tips can you share with those interested in MBA Development Programs?
Get your work done, but don't forget to network. I would actually place equal emphasis on work and with networking. Meet as many people as possible, and if you connect with someone particularly well, get to know them. They can alert you to future openings in their department even if your desired future position doesn't pan out.