Summer Plans Are Just Around the Corner

Jimena Gutierrez, Community and Entrepreneurship Editor

Jimena Gutierrez (MBA ’24) interviews students who share reflections on their summer internship endeavors.

“What are you doing this summer?” That is the question that everyone is asking and being asked this time of the year. It brings excitement to some and anxiety to others.

People generally think of their internship as falling in one of two buckets: an experience aimed at either validating or invalidating a future career path, or an explorative experience simply to have fun. There is no right or wrong answer as to which bucket our internship experience should fall into, and certainly none of us should feel guilty after learning that a friend’s experience falls into a different bucket than ours.

For this article, I reached out to two RC classmates, who asked to remain anonymous so that they could speak more candidly. One is a classmate that will be spending his summer internship as a supply chain intern at Tesla, and the other is a student that plans to pursue the Rock Summer Fellows program and is thinking about founding her own venture. It was interesting to hear about different reflections on recruiting and to learn more about what went into each student’s decision-making process.

Corporate path: Supply Chain Intern at Tesla

What was your thought process regarding choosing how you wanted to spend your summer?

Initially, I was very thoughtful about which internship to apply to. I saw the internship as a gateway to a full time job and would not apply to companies or positions where I did not see myself working full time. After talking with a career coach and friends, I realized that although an internship could be a door-opener to a full time opportunity, it was still possible to secure full time opportunities without having interned at the company. This realization changed a lot of preconceived ideas I had and allowed me to widen my internship search.

How did you think about location vs. industry vs. function during your internship search?

At first, I wanted to tackle all three but soon realized that obtaining all three would be challenging. Since I am an international student, my objective was securing a full-time job in the US – which made location my top priority. I ranked the criteria as follows: location, industry, role.

What do you hope to get out of your summer internship experience? What excites you the most? Any worries or concerns?

The thing that gets me most excited is the opportunity to work in a highly innovative company. I want to be surrounded by people that challenge me so I can develop operational skills that help me position myself competitively for future professional endeavors. I only have experience in consulting, so being able to work on the operational side of a company is something I really look forward to.

Luckily, I was able to secure an internship that changes all of the three factors mentioned above. That being said, because I am changing both industry and function, my main concern is having the capacity to meet role expectations. I’m also slightly concerned about company culture – I know there are a lot of differing opinions regarding the culture of the company I am working for and I hope it is one where I feel I am a good fit.

What are your thoughts on the internship experience in the context of the HBS experience as a whole?

I think the internship is very important. I am pursuing an MBA primarily because I felt burnt out at work. I was sure I wanted to quit my job but didn’t know what to do next. Since the main reason I am here is for a career switch, the internship is a very important and practical way for me to experience a different industry as I continue my self-discovery.

Entrepreneurial path: Rock Summer Fellows

What was your thought process regarding choosing how you wanted to spend your summer?

I have always wanted to start something on my own. I read about the Rock Summer Fellows during the application process, prior to being admitted to HBS. I always thought of this program as an option for the summer and since school started, got involved at the iLab and all events related to entrepreneurship. I decided to participate in the Startup Bootcamp SIP and upon completion reaffirmed that I wanted to spend my summer as a Rock Fellow. 

What do you hope to get out of your summer internship experience? What excites you the most? Any worries or concerns?

Since the semester has been so hectic and I’ve struggled with time management, I look forward to having the time to work entirely on my idea. I know a lot of people will leave Boston during the summer for their internships, but I hope that the few of us who stay can find mentorship in each other and collaborate as we each pursue our entrepreneurial journeys.

What are your thoughts on the internship experience vs. broader HBS experience as a whole?

I am really looking forward to the internship; it will allow me to leverage a lot of the resources that HBS provides. I consider the internship a critical step in helping shape decisions for what I want to make out of the EC year.


As a final thought, there is no doubt that the labor market has made recruiting tough. Despite this, we should focus on factors we can control. Regardless of where we spend our summer or what we end up doing, it is on each and every one of us to make the most out of our summer and turn it into an unforgettable learning experience.

Jimena Gutierrez (MBA ’24) is originally from Monterrey, Mexico. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Finance. Prior to HBS, she worked in an industrial automation company in Monterrey.