The Great MBA Summer
Saurabh Kumar Apr 12,2010
There's so much of build-up around summer training these days that you never realise when you completed the entire first year. And the build-up starts happening just three months after starting the MBA journey - when corporate start announcing summer trainee requirements, when students start discussing the areas to work on during summer training, discussions on dream companies start, dream projects become the buzz on campus.
It's like the first rain after sweltering summer, the first sign of light after a night's darkness.
Summer training is the first brush of an MBA with the corporate world. It is an integral component of MBA curriculum at all business schools.
The objective of summer training from academic learning point of view is to provide an interaction with real world and understand the problems, issues and challenges being faced by corporate world, and to give an opportunity to the student to apply the learning at campus. The trainee is expected to work on live projects and work out a feasible solution for the same.
For the learner, it is an opportunity to understand about the functioning of the organization at broader level, understanding and experiencing what to expect after joining the corporate world. It is an opportunity to understand work culture, expectations and demands of various profiles; an opportunity to explore; an opportunity to earn first paid assignment after a year of academic download. Some people look at this as an opportunity to get a pre-placement offer. Some people prophesise that it's not the company, but the project that matters, while some people feel brand name is more important, while some people are calculating the implications of doing a project in emerging areas.
Some people advocate getting into well-established business line, some people feel that stipend is not important while some say the amount of money that you get determines the importance of the assignment... all this and many more questions arise while making a decision or a choice for summer training.
How should one prepare for summer training?
Start with identifying the area that you want to specialise in... say finance, marketing etc. Look out for the emerging areas in the area of specialisation. For example, in marketing retail is an emerging opportunity; similarly competency mapping in HR is a hot area and modelling of marketing ROI (Return on investment) can be a challenging field
Do your own research on companies which are engaged in your area of interest and explore possibility of joining. Prepare data and background on companies engaged in your area of interest; develop your own outline with the help of professors. And then approach these companies and see if they will be willing to entertain you.
You can use your placement division to help you with this.
This is the most difficult and challenging route because you are on your own and seeking your dream project. A little help from seniors/alumni can help in reaching out.
The other approach is to look out for the corporate coming on campus for summer placements and start applying to them. However, you should thoroughly prepare details about the organisation before going for the interview. It is handy to brush up your concepts before you go for the interview because the organisation would like to test your theoretical understanding of the subject to deliver on the project.
The summer training interview can be as demanding as the final placement if the organisation is serious about the project work. Therefore, it's advisable to leave nothing to chance.
Stipend or No Stipend
Most organisations pay stipend for summer training and also bear the expenses borne while doing the project. Certain organisations might pay less while certain organisations pay more. This will depend on the organisation policy. However, payment is not the right yard-stick to judge whether the project is worthwhile or not.