London, summer, the Olympics, international work experience at a leading telecommunications provider… what’s not to like! I felt very fortunate going into my internship at British Telecom in London! As the summer wraps up, I can only say that I enjoyed it even more than I anticipated. I joined BT as part of their MBA Leadership Programme (that is how Program is spelt in BritainJ), which gives you the opportunity to work in various functions and divisions across the firm. While the Full time program is rotational, I bid for a project of my choice this summer.
I wanted to gain strategy and marketing experience and chose a project that focused on these, for under-performing products in BT’s Wholesale business. My job involved researching and understanding the products, market and competitive landscape, devising product and sales strategies and launching a marketing campaign. My typical day included meetings and interviews with people across the board – from sales, marketing, products and strategy – to gather insight, discuss the proposed strategy and campaign, and get stakeholder buy-ins. Due to the breadth of products and number of stakeholders involved, people management was a very critical and challenging part of my project. Persistence in reaching out to people, keeping stakeholders involved through the process, providing updates to ensure commitment to the strategy, and getting senior management involved when required - all these tactics helped me manage people effectively. And through the many interactions, I learnt a ton about BT and built a strong network.
The MBA Leadership Programme (MLP) had a great network of interns, full timers and alumni, where I found people who had experience related to my project or were generally eager to help, discuss issues and brainstorm ideas, which made the internship experience enriching, even outside the project. We had fun outings such as a ropes course and bowling, and weekly after-work events that made the program feel like an extension of b-school!
It was phenomenal to be in London during the Olympics, particularly at BT - the official communications provider for the games, delivering the entire broadband network and hosting the London 2012 website. As part of the MLP, we got an opportunity to meet with the MD responsible for this project. It was exciting to be closely engaged with the team and envision the possibility of leading such major undertakings in the future.
It’s probably a bit early to start doling out advice to the First Years… but since recruiting will creep up before you know it, here are a few pieces of advice.
Keep an open mind going into recruiting – you may discover interesting industries / functions that you didn’t consider originally. Being at a top b-school gives you a great breadth of options, make the most of it!
During the internship, learn about the company, network with people and get involved in activities beyond project work. This will help you create a positive impression on the firm and help assess whether the company is a good fit.