The Gauntlet

An often under-reported trial of business school is the period during the first six weeks of classes known as the Gauntlet.  This is when companies descend upon the campus like vultures, trying to woo internship candidates.  You must be ready, or else…

Most b-school applicants are so thrilled to start their MBA classes that they don’t realize how quickly the offers for summer internships start rolling in.  Literally from the very first week of classes, top business schools play host to dozens and dozens of companies whose corporate recruiters swoop in with free beer, free food, and more SWAG than an insurance convention.

One important tip for handling the Gauntlet is to have an idea of what you want to do with the rest of your life.

You only get one shot at an internship, so choosing something in the same area (or even with the exact company) you hope to land in after you graduate is critical.  If you start business school with little or no idea about what you want to do, you will inevitably get sucked up into the tornado of opportunities and quickly become disoriented.  Plus, you simply cannot go to each and every corporate presentation.  There’s just not enough time in the week.  Remember the warning about drinking from the fire hose?  Your main focus is your education, so you must balance your evenings with company dinners, corporate presentations and group projects, not to mention the studying.

In addition to arriving with a plan in mind, make sure you also have a nice suit.

This is a tip that is often overlooked, since b-school students will wear very casual clothing to class.  Before you even begin your program, get fitted with a fine set of clothes, both business formal and business casual, because you will not only be attending these corporate presentations, but you will also very soon be interviewing for your actual internship opportunity.  And there won’t be time to go to the mall!

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