On Thursday, May 6, to a Zoom audience of fellow students, faculty, staff, industry mentors, and invited guests, twenty MBS interns outlined their experiences as participants in MBS's Graduate Internships Program. With academic concentrations spanning the spectrum—from personal care sciences to data analytics, to drug discovery & development, biotechnology & genomics, and user experience design (UXD)— presenters explained how they purposefully applied their blended, advanced scientific and business knowledge throughout their internships.
MBS's Graduate Internships Program has long connected students with some of the nation’s top employers, and this semester was no different. In addition to established companies like Colgate-Palmolive, GitHub, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and CitiGroup, several interns worked with startup companies including Cosmosafe and HABIT (both in the personal care sciences sector) as well as a scientific blog, “ReAging.” (A full list of internships can be found here.)
In her introductory remarks, event host, executive coach, and internships facilitator Kathleen Cashman-Walter emphasized that the presentations were meant to highlight “the intern’s experience, not [talk about] the company.” Accordingly, students’ presentations focused on showcasing the high-level projects they completed throughout the semester—all of which were impressive—as well as the skills and industry knowledge they gained.
Faces from the Crowd: the virtual audience was comprised of MBS students, faculty, staff, and alumni as well as company mentors.
Projects Included: analyzing the effectiveness of cosmetics sanitizers, launching a blog, developing a TiKTok ad campaign, performing important quality-control testing, conducting consumer-product market research, reworking a web platform to make it more user-friendly, and carrying out risk analyses for a financial services firm.
In addition to working for their respective employers, interns also enroll in MBS’s Professional Internship course, led by Cashman-Walter—who also teaches MBS’s fundamental Principles of Communication & Professional Development for Science & Technology Management.
This blend of experiential education and formal instruction—which literally enables students to take classroom learning and apply it in real-world situations—has proven to be highly effective: The approach has resulted in an overall internship conversion rate of 85 percent, meaning that at the conclusion of students’ internships, they are either asked to continue as interns or they receive job offers. This percentage has held steady throughout COVID-19 and stayed on target again this semester: 17 of the 20 students (85%) were offered either a continuation of their internship or full-time employment.
Finally, interns discussed the skills they honed over the semester—communicating effectively in a virtual world, employing solid time management, using creativity in problem solving, and regularly goal-setting. Many students noted that the internship experience built their self-confidence tremendously. For seventeen students, their hard work also provided a “next step.”
“When you can add value to a company,” says Cashman-Walter of the interns’ hard work, “it speaks volumes of you—making it more likely you’ll be hired.” It also increases the scope and value of your network, she says, adding that the more relationships people make, the more likely it is that an ideal opportunity will open.