I came to the HBS summer internship process with considerable trepidation, worried about having only two years of work experience, and unfamiliarity with MBA recruiting. As a “nontraditional candidate,” I felt that I might not be sufficiently qualified, and spent many an hour silently panicking about potentially not finding an internship.

As it turned out, I shouldn’t have worried so much. It’s completely possible to find a great internship if you’re proactive, thoughtful, and willing to trust the process.

When I matriculated at HBS, on top of my worries about my qualifications (or lack thereof), I wasn’t sure what industry/sector I wanted to pursue for a summer internship. After some research and reflection, I focused on manufacturing. I was an aerospace systems and standards engineer prior to HBS, and I thought the manufacturing sector would provide me with opportunities to combine my technical skills with the business skills I was acquiring at HBS.

Towa Adegboyega (MBA 2024)

Having learned about the Career and Professional Development Office (CPD) during the summer prior to the fall semester, I reached out Kristen Fitzpatrick, the CPD coach who covers the manufacturing sector, to ask questions about how best to go about searching for an internship. She explained the different potential roles available to me and gave me a shortlist of companies to research.

A few weeks into the semester, I received an email from a recruiter at Corning Incorporated, which was one of the companies Kristen had suggested I apply to. The recruiter and I shared a personal connection – her father was from Buffalo, my hometown in Western New York. As a child, I took a family weekend vacation to the Corning Glass Museum, located in Corning, NY. Our conversation quickly turned to the potential opportunities at Corning, and I decided to attend the in-person info session hosted by a few Corning employees that was scheduled to take place in a few weeks. At that session, I had the opportunity to speak with an HBS alum employed at the company and inquire about the firm’s culture to see if it might be a good fit for me.

While I was putting applications together, another HBS alum now employed at Corning as a manager reached out to me to tell me more about her journey at HBS and at the company. The more I learned about Corning, the more attractive working at the company sounded. I was fortunate to receive an offer of an interview during the winter break period and made use of the advice I’d learned in CPD-run behavioral interview seminars to prepare. A few days after the interview, I received a telephone call from HR at Corning, offering me a position as a strategy intern for the summer. I was ecstatic.

As the spring semester winds down, I’m very much looking forward to my summer internship, and reflecting on some lessons I learned during recruitment. It’s alright to be confused at first about what you want to do over the summer or after HBS; there are so many resources and opportunities available to help students refine their interests. Talking with section mates about what they did prior to HBS is a great place to start; they are a fountain of free knowledge! During recruitment, it’s important to ask probing (but polite!) questions about the company at info sessions and coffee chats; it’s better to have more information, not less. CPD is a fantastic resource, but the best way to make use of their services is to be specific in requests for help. Regarding applications materials, CPD is immensely helpful. Their resume and cover letter reviews are fantastic, offering detailed professional feedback and a fast turnaround time.

Above all, I learned to be patient, trust the process, and stay open to unexpected opportunities. I’m incredibly grateful for the lessons I learned along the way.