Attending business school in the heart of a major city affords you many opportunities, one of which is taking advantage of the plethora of companies in the area. For students who are hoping to enter a specialized or niche sector, internships provide opportunities to build your resume or get your foot in the door of your desired company while still a student.
Having completed four internships, Mary Wang is one student who has taken full advantage of in-school work opportunities. I sat down with my friend (and roomate!) to learn more about her experience with internships at Booth.
1. Why did you decide to do so many internships? What were you hoping to gain?
Since I’m hoping to transition into venture capital without prior investing background, I knew that it would be crucial for me to get as much hands-on experience as I could to round out my experiences. Prior to Booth, I worked in corporate finance and investor relations/business development for the hedge fund industry and volunteered for a socially conscious jewelry startup. I knew that I was missing more industry experience and diligence experience, so I sought out internships that would give me these opportunities.
So far, I interned at the Pritzker Group VC during winter/spring of my 1st year for the PE/VC lab; I’ve been an investor fellow for Amplifyher Ventures since April 2019 (this is a role where I’m sourcing early stage companies and pitching companies to the partner of the fund); over the summer I interned in product management in digital health at Red Ventures, and currently I’m rounding out my startup operations skills through an internship with Ovally, an early stage company seeking to improve access to fertility treatments.
2. How has networking played into your internship process and success?
A big part of the venture capital recruiting process is about networking—with both VCs themselves and also startup founders and entrepreneurs. By immersing myself into the startup ecosystem, I figured it would help me with the networking aspect. I have found that I’ve been able to meet so many more entrepreneurs/founders through all of my involvements, which in turn has helped me identify promising startups to pitch to VCs, so it’s a very symbiotic process.
3. What have you gained from internships during the school year?
Through my PE/VC lab internship, I got an introduction into the life of a VC and it helped me confirm my career interests. Through research, I knew what an associate in VC would be doing, but I wasn’t sure if I would like the type of work and the unstructured work environment (relatively speaking, compared to what I’m used to).
This experience and my investor fellow experience through Amplifyher Ventures confirmed that I really enjoyed researching and diligencing companies, meeting with so many smart founders and interacting with a lot of different types of people. I’ve really enjoyed learning from veterans in the field and gained a better understanding of how an early stage investor thinks. Since I’m used to valuations and having financials or other quantitative metrics to guide investment decisions, it was very valuable for me to learn the important skill of pattern recognition from these mentors in VC.
4. How has Career Services and the Booth community supported you in securing internships?
The Polsky Center and Booth organizes the PE/VC lab program, which was extremely helpful. I also found the Ovally internship opportunity through GTS (Booth’s online job posting resource). Throughout the whole process, Booth alumni and second years have been extremely supportive with helping me to source new internship opportunities, making warm introductions, and preparing for interviews.
5. Anything else you’ve learned throughout your many MBA internships?
Having an internship during the school year also taught me how to prioritize. I’ve had to block off times in my calendar to work on assignments, and adopted the use of tools like Calendly and Boomerang to help manage the administrative tasks.