MBA Internship Experiences – Class of 2023
MBA students come to Foster with varying objectives – switching careers, changing industries or leveling up in their existing function. Their summer internship gives them the first chance to try on a new role and put their newly acquired business skills to practice. We spoke to a few students from the Class of 2023 to learn about their internship experiences and how they utilized their first year at Foster to succeed. These experiences span a variety of fields – consulting, operations, technology, finance and many more.
Olivia Garcia – Consulting
My role this summer was as a Summer Associate at Bain & Company in the Seattle office. A key highlight of my experience was being included and welcomed to my case team from Day 1. We were working on a challenging business problem for our client and even though I was new to the work, I felt as though my contributions and perspectives were still valued. I also appreciated that my colleagues and mentors at Bain were invested in my professional development which in turn, made me more excited about the internship and the prospect of a career at Bain. The frequent opportunities for reflection and feedback allowed me to learn and grow a lot in just a few months. Beyond the work part, meeting and connecting with the other Summer Associates in my cohort was a wonderful experience. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences but were able to support each other and have lots of fun throughout the summer.
Though I learned so much during my summer at Bain, I am also grateful for the way my first year at Foster prepared me for the experience. The core courses, particularly finance and accounting, helped me quickly understand the way a business’ operations tie to their profits and losses. Applied Strategy during winter quarter prepared me well for the intricacies of interacting with a client, changing scope and the way you react to new information while also continuing to make progress. Lastly, many of the concepts I learned in the Operations Management course were extremely relevant to the specific case I worked on over the summer. I feel fortunate to have had an impactful and unforgettable internship as a part of my MBA experience.
Grant Cohen – Finance
This past summer, I interned with Google as part of their marketing finance organization. As part of the group, I acted as a business partner to marketers, providing analytical support for financial decisions. The main highlight of the role was getting the opportunity to dive deep into the company’s financial data, providing organizational visibility into the marketing spend breakdown in key areas. The Data & Analytics Club at Foster ran a SQL Workshop series that ended up being very useful during the internship. Having the ability to pull information quickly from company databases is becoming an important skill to develop as part of a corporate finance group. As a result, having this background knowledge made my project significantly easier to accomplish.
Operations – Wilson Zhang
I interned as an Operations Manager with Amazon in the summer. My job was to find a way to optimize the flow of a fulfillment center and increase the capacity of the inbound cross dock. The internship had two major parts – data and people management. For me, the highlight was when I provided the leadership team with hard data to show that my solution can improve the building’s capacity. The management team provided me lots of support to get everyone onboard and pushed against all the obstacles to implement the solution. Everything moved really fast and we were able to see the result in 12 weeks. Another part was engaging with different stakeholders. I had worked with more than 100 associates and managers in the fulfillment center. Almost everyone tried their best to help me on my project, gave me feedback and shared their knowledge and insights with me.
At Foster, the core Operations Management class helped me understand the basic concepts and ideas to evaluate the flow of inventory. Moreover, Applied Strategy gave me an opportunity to learn about generating insights from data to validate your solution. Lastly, all the MBA social events made me more comfortable and confident to talk to all the managers and associates.
Angela Yang – Healthcare
My internship this summer was at Biogen as a US Commercialization Strategy Intern. I worked within the business insights and analytics team. This was my first experience in biotechnology and it was fascinating to learn about how the different field sales, marketing, access and reimbursement teams worked together to bring Multiple Sclerosis therapeutics to patients. I worked on streamlining their performance metrics, which meant I got to work across all teams to understand their data collecting and reporting needs. My winter Operations class helped me to understand how they track shipments and inventory, which contribute to how quickly patients can get the treatment that they need. My Applied Strategy experience also provided me the experience in conducting market research and translating consumer data and insights into recommendations for better tracking performance.
Brent Aoude – Marketing
My role this summer at P&G was interning as a Senior Brand Manager for the Bounty brand (aka the Quicker Picker Upper!). The key highlight for me was having an opportunity work on such a recognized household name from a holistic brand lens. This included developing a go-to-market strategy for a key consumer segment, collaborating with an entire cross-functional team, and partnering with a creative agency to develop social media assets for an upcoming marketing campaign. Two instances from my first year at Foster that helped prepare me for my internship were my applied strategy project and the Consumer Insights course. Both provided me with first-hand experience conducting market research, which helped me speak more fluently with cross-functional partners and tactically translate consumer insights into strategic recommendations.
Cynthia Vargas – Human Resources
I was part of the Talent Management team that falls under the Talent, Learning, Insights center of excellence at Microsoft. I had two projects during my internship, one related to a mentoring platform for employees that was being developed and the other one was a learning path strategy for employee career experience. I was part of a small cohort of 12 MBA students that were recruited for this program. For me, the highlight of this program was having round table sessions with VP level executives within the many functions and businesses of Microsoft Human Resources. We had one lunch with the Chief People Officer, Kathleen Hogan, who reports directly to Satya Nadella and is responsible for the people strategy of Microsoft. That was a wow moment for me! The most memorable moment was the end of my internship celebration for the HR Rotation Program. The Chief People Officer grabbed the mic and said, “the twelve interns in this room, call your families and tell them that you all have an offer to come back full time”. This was such a beautiful surprise, and I loved how Microsoft really cared about making our time there very unique, meaningful, and fun.
At Foster, the core classes helped me feel comfortable in both my interview process and once already in, understanding key business concepts was key to a successful internship. Leadership positions, such as being the President of GBA and helping organize events for the Foster community helped me build my confidence and practice leadership that I could directly take to Microsoft. Lastly, leveraging the alumni network was also valuable because one of the consultants working on my project in Microsoft was a Foster MBA alumni, so I was able to connect with her and ask for feedback.
Neha Siwach – Product Management
I interned last summer as a Senior Product Manager (Technical) at Amazon. I worked with the Finance organization and my project had two key objectives. First, a pricing strategy for the externalization of a brand new product. This also involved creating a 5-year P&L along with the year-on-year growth in market capture. Second, I created business requirements for a billing module, tying the pricing strategy to the product.Collaborating with different stakeholders and dealing with ambiguity in all different phases of the project were the key highlights from my internship. One of things that best prepared me for the internship were the core classes. As someone with a technology background who had never worked with P&Ls before, the accounting and finance core classes really helped me prepare and feel confident in my ability to make detailed financial projections.
Marcel Gremaud – Sustainability
This summer I interned at DroneSeed, a tech-driven reforestation startup based in Seattle. I was drawn to DroneSeed after reading an academic paper that laid out how “nature-based solutions … can help stabilize warming to below 2 °C.” Given my background as an ecology major, and my MBA concentration on climate change, I wanted to understand how these solutions were applied in practice.
My focus at DroneSeed was building an economic model and data process that a variety of teams could use to quickly predict the financial returns and feasibility of a potential reforestation project. Building such a model required working across finance, product, and business development teams, talking with foresters both within and outside the company, and diving deep into carbon models built by third-party registries. I was often pushed outside my comfort zone, but the challenge was rewarding.
The highlights of my experience were getting to visit the nurseries where the company grows millions of seedlings, learning about the entire reforestation supply chain, and joining senior leaders in their strategic planning discussions. My first year finance, LTO (Leading Teams and Organizations), and Applied Strategy experience at Foster helped prepare me for this, even though the work was unlike anything I had ever done before. If you are a first-year reading this, I highly recommend using your internship experience to push yourself, to explore new potential career paths, and to work on something that will make the world a better place.
Learn more about internships at Foster here. You can also learn more about Applied Strategy projects here.