Illinois MBA candidate '15
Senior consultant, Illinois Business Consulting (IBC)
Consumer banking intern, Bank of America
Q. What led to your Bank of America internship?
A. Before entering the MBA program, I’d narrowed down my list of the industries I most preferred to work in, post-graduation, to financial and consumer products. As my first semester in the program progressed, I began leaning more towards financial—the opportunities that exist in that industry are closely aligned with my skill set and personality. Bank of America was one of two banks I looked at; it quickly became number one due to its great culture, strong MBA leader development program (a big plus for me), the feedback I was getting from network connections at the bank and those who had worked for the bank, its headquarters in Charlotte, NC (near my home city of Atlanta), and various opportunities to grow within the bank.
Q. Which internship program are you doing at Bank of America? What are your responsibilities?
A. I’m in Bank of America’s Consumer Banking MBA Internship Program. I’m working with the business control team that deals with customer experience for retail and preferred customers. My responsibilities include developing reports on which operational metrics each channel utilities (channels = banking centers, call centers, ATM, and online/mobile) that have been most effective in driving the strategy or measuring the strategy derived from the leadership team. How this information is handled and how it results from the operational metrics get to each line of business (home loans, credit cards, small business loans, saving/checking products, and Merrill Edge, etc.) to make sure they’re most effectively implementing the overall strategy of the leadership team.
Q. Tell us about the best part of your internship.
A. The best part is realizing that my work is making a difference; I have opportunities to converse with executive leaders who are willing to listen to my results and recommendations. Bank of America is a very big company, so to have this level of access is great.
Q. What advice would give MBA students about the internship process?
A. When searching for an internship, DO NOT simply cast your net wide and hope something catches. You need to focus on 1) the type of skill set and knowledge you possess, 2) the industry, and company within that industry, you want to work for, and 3) the networking opportunities you’re taking advantage of and people you’ve gotten to know. My personal experience with this is that I networked and got to know one of the top HR employees for Merrill Lynch (owned by BofA). She’s the one who helped me land this internship. It can’t just be you by yourself. Having help, especially from someone within the company, goes a long way.
A couple more things I’ll say: Be proactive and engage with your future. Don’t just relax and put up your feet, thinking Business Career Services (BCS) is going to do most of the work. Also, develop your communication skills. You’ll be surprised how communicating better propels you.
Q. What’s something you learned during your first year as an Illinois MBA student?
A. I learned that collaboration and teamwork carries you a long way. Also, I learned not to be afraid, and to get my ideas and views out there. Simply being a shadow on a wall doesn’t benefit you—if you want to get ahead in life you have to speak up and be heard.