Virtual internships: What MBA students should know

SOURCE: Alex Edelman/AFP
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By U2B Staff 

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Not all MBA programmes require its students to undergo an internship, but the experience is useful for those considering a career change or wish to improve their chances of getting hired upon graduating.

For instance, GMAC – the owner and administrator of the GMAT – said internships often give MBA candidates a leg up in securing a full-time position following graduation, while their survey has shown that 59% of companies will increase the number of internships offered to MBA students.

Despite the benefits of an MBA internship, COVID-19 has meant that many MBA internships have either been scrapped, rescinded, or postponed. 

In the US, research by Glassdoor found that internship opportunities across sectors declined by 52% between March 9 and April 13. They added that all industries have seen a decline in internship openings over the past month. Travel and tourism were hit the hardest, with internship openings falling by 92% since March 9; accounting and legal saw the smallest drop, with a 22% decline in internship postings.

Despite that, accounting and legal, manufacturing, computer software and hardware, retail and healthcare, and hospitals are the industries with the most internship openings as of April 2020. While not all companies are operating on-site, this has paved the way for the rise of virtual internships.  


Virtual internships to the fore

Many companies have had to make swift adjustments as the global health crisis disrupts operations. Unsurprisingly,  MBA students might have to double up efforts to secure a virtual internship from companies that offer them. 

It’s worth highlighting, however, that virtual internships may vary from traditional on-site internships as companies navigate these unprecedented times. 

A PwC spokesperson was quoted saying by Business Insider that the MBA internship will be four weeks long, which is shorter than normal. Its US$2,500 to US$3,500 stipend offered is also a decrease from previous years.

In a separate report, Rod Adams, US talent acquisition leader at PwC, told Business Insider that roughly 200 of this year’s interns are business school students and that some MBA internships might not be virtual, depending on how the country opens up by July. Rather than work directly with clients, this summer’s business school interns will focus on learning digital skills, analysing company case studies, and networking with leaders at the firm.


Management consulting company Bain & Company is also offering MBA students virtual internships where students can expect to gain new skills, experiences, and connections with their people and affinity groups.  

Some other companies also slated to offer virtual internships for MBA students include Bloomberg, JPMorgan, PlayStation, AIG, Expedia, Warner Media, and Waymo, a subsidiary of

Big corporations aside, MBA students who are keen to join a startup environment can also try Hire A Startup MBA, which connects startups with candidates that best match their requirements.

While virtual internships may mean that current MBA students lose out on experiencing work in an organisation’s ‘natural’ environment, they still offer students an opportunity to connect with professionals and get to know the company culture better. Do a good job and the experience may culminate with a job offer in hand.