I had it all planned out. Before I was even accepted into an MBA program I knew that I would be taking the summer off prior to starting classes in the fall. After working for nearly a decade and not really having a summer vacation since 1998 (summer before freshman year of college), I felt that I was due for two months of sleeping til noon, lazing around the house, traveling abroad for weeks on end, and living rent free at my parents' house while depleting the contents of their fridge. I had been saving for over a year so I figured I could afford to blow my annual bonus on trips and the minimal living expenses of a cell phone bill and Netflix account, thus reserving my cash reserves for the school year. My plan was foolproof.
Except for the fact that it wasn't. I forgot that I'm not really used to doing nothing. I took the week between Christmas and New Year's Day off from work and by day 3 I was climbing the walls of my parents' 4 bedroom suburban upstate NY home. Without a job to break up my internet surfing I soon realized that spending 16 hours online does not make for the most exciting day. So when my fellow GMAT Clubbers started talking of pre MBA internships I paid a little bit of attention. Not enough to actually pursue anything, but enough to know that they existed.
Turns out that there is a whole lot of stuff going on in pre MBA land, and very little of it consists of freeloading and beach time. It started with emails from both Wharton and Booth's offices of diversity notifying admits of a 2 day pre MBA program sponsored by Bain. Then came the notices for MBA Jumpstart, JP Morgan MBA Early Advantage Program, and a litany of other 2-5 day programs sponsored by the companies that will be recruiting on campus in a few short months. Even though none of these programs are in any way related to my post MBA goals, looking at my inundated inbox I started to think, "Should I be doing these?" My good friend LadyRoadWarrior told me an emphatic, "No!" She says these programs are really just PR machines and that if I'm not interested in banking, consulting, brand management and the like then it's perfectly fine for me to keep my happy ass on my parents' couch or a beach chair in Europe all summer.
But then I speak to my fellow minority admits and everyone is talking about Consortium Orientation Program (which I'm not eligible for since I'm not going to a Consortium school) and all of these diversity events. I start to feel left out of something I'm not even sure I want to be part of. When I spoke to my soon to be Booth roommate for the first time and she mentioned starting a pre MBA internship at a VC firm I felt the rubber stamp smack against my forehead leaving the word SLACKER in its wake.
Did I miss the memo? I thought the whole point of leaving my job before school starts was to give myself some time to relax before the MBA onslaught that will come this fall. It seems like many others are using this time to get a head start. Considering the fact that my MBA goals are quite untraditional I am starting to think my summer months should be more productive than I had originally intended them to be. Do I really need two months to do nothing? Maybe. However, looking at the mounting list of expenses that will be pulled from my bank account as no money goes into it I am thinking that I may not be able to afford to give myself two months of nothing. Although I won't be paying rent or utilties at Casa de Mami y Papi I forgot about the $200/month rent I do have to pay for the 10X10 storage locker that holds 95% of my earthly belongings. I also forgot to factor in the expense of moving to Chicago and paying 1st month's rent and a security deposit. When I planned to spend a month in Europe this summer I neglected to consider that cost in addition to the few thousand I am about to drop on Random Walk (FIJI!!!!). While I do not want to continue at my current job in order to cover these expenses, perhaps a pre MBA internship could provide some decent supplemental income while also helping me take a step closer to securing next year's summer internship.
The wheels have started turning and now they won't stop. I've already applied and was accepted to the MBA Jumpstart in July for Consulting and Finance. I am still questioning that move, but it might net me some contacts within JP Morgan's Corporate Responsibility department. I've also reached out to people in several companies' Community Partnership/Corporate Responsibility/Community Action departments. From my understanding pre MBA internships are usually secured through networking. If I can network my way into an offer by the time I leave my company then I think I'll do a 6-8 week internship. Booth orientation doesn't start until September 5 so I should still have several weeks to unwind and Random Walk before the program starts. If I can't finagle an internship then I think that's my cue to take LadyRoadWarrior's advice and be a lazy bum all summer. I am sure my mother is looking forward to me borrowing her car, eating her yogurt cups, and leaving my dirty dishes in the sink. If she complains I'll say, "LadyRoadWarrior told me to do it!"