By Kevin Friedenberg T'16
Originally from Needham, MA, Kevin Friedenberg graduated from Swarthmore College in 2010 and spent four years as a management consultant prior to coming to Tuck. For Kevin, Tuck represented an opportunity to switch careers, with the goal of joining a company’s internal strategy team or leadership development program. This summer, Kevin will be working directly for Siemens USA CEO Eric Spiegel T’87 as a member of the business development and strategy team. He enjoys playing ice hockey, spending time on the Connecticut River, and raising his puppy.
Carpe Diem: An Anecdote on Internship Recruiting
It’s pretty amazing to take a moment and reflect upon how all the small decisions that you have made throughout your life and career have amplified over time to lead you to where you stand right now. When Tuck alumnus and current Siemens USA CEO Eric Spiegel T’87 came to speak to our Analysis for General Managers course this fall, his introspection on a successful career as a consultant and as the leader of a $22B business, suggested to me that he also reflected in this way.
One particular “leadership lesson learned” that Eric touched upon was the importance of being able to recognize and seize opportunities as they arise. It was during this presentation that Eric himself issued an opportunity to the Class of 2016. He mentioned that if, during his discussion on some of the key challenges his business was facing, students had a few strategic points that they felt might help him address these challenges, that we should write them down on a piece of paper and turn them in to him after the talk. Eric would then pick a few papers that resonated with him and invite these students to potentially interview for his personal internship in Washington, D.C. this coming summer.
Following the wise words of Wayne Gretzky—“you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take”—I decided to share my perspectives.
Three months later, I accepted an offer to join Eric’s team for the summer and remove myself from the recruiting processes of the other companies that I was interested in. But as I reflect upon what ultimately led me to this amazing opportunity, what were the key lessons that I learned?
Take advantage of the opportunities that visiting companies provide you
Perhaps the most important thing that I have learned during the course of internship recruiting is that Tuck creates an unbelievable amount of opportunities for students. Whether it is a visiting executive having dinner with a group of a students, a company hosting a happy hour at Murphy’s, or even just the chance to sit down and have coffee with alumni on-campus, Tuck can really open a lot of doors for its students. The key though, is taking the initiative to walk through those doors. These are the types of small decisions that Tuckies must make during their first-year recruiting efforts—and it is not uncommon for these decisions to lead to further networking opportunities, interviews, and potentially offers.
Keep an open mind regarding industries and companies during the internship search
The summer before coming to Tuck, one T’15 gave me an invaluable piece of advice. She said to explore 5 – 10 companies that I had either never heard of or would never have thought about working for previously. During the course of recruiting I was amazed by how outgoing, passionate, and candid the Tuck alumni who return for recruiting activities are. These interactions really enabled me to learn about different industries, functional roles, and cultures. Having the chance to experience so many different companies during the fall also helped me understand and hone which criteria were truly important to me when selecting firms and positions to apply to.
Leverage the resources the school gives you access to
Many students take the opportunity to pursue their MBA as a way to help them switch careers into different industries or functional roles. Given how hectic the fall term is, this can be a stressful time—but fortunately we students do not walk alone. Before even coming to Tuck, the Career Development Office provides its students with a few different diagnostic tools to help first-years explore potential careers and cultural styles. Coupling the results of these assessments with individual counseling sessions with members of the CDO allowed me to figure out the types of companies that fit my criteria and suggested the names of several alumni that I should reach out to in order to learn more. Organized career-oriented treks to NYC and Minneapolis also allowed me to experience these companies first-hand. Even so, nobody at the school will force you into these activities, you must decide for yourself which you want to take advantage of and why.
While internship recruiting can seem like a daunting task amidst a busy fall term, it is also a hugely valuable way to learn about companies and careers and to meet Tuck alumni. My two cents would be to have fun during it, and use this unique environment to help you find the opportunities that interest you the most.