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"Build your network before you need it."| A UPenn Student's Advice on Finding College Internships

We had the opportunity of interviewing Uday Tripathi, a student at the University of Pennsylvania about: Exceptional Programs

Uday is:

  • The President of MUSE Consulting,

  • The President of Engineers in Medicine,

  • An Engineering Teaching Assistant,

  • Co-Founder of Golden Gate Editing (college application consultant),

  • Valedictorian of his class in high school,

  • Scorer of 5s on all of 8 of his AP exams,

  • Achiever of perfect scores on three SAT subject tests,

  • A Merit Semifinalist,

  • and a Scholar Athlete.

Uday shares with us:

  • "Freshman and sophomore year internships are far less structured and require the most individual work to find..."

  • "Alumni are great and always willing to help..."

Q: How did you find internship opportunities in college?

A: Freshman and sophomore year internships are far less structured and require the most individual work to find, even at a school where the on-campus recruiting opportunities are some of the best in the country. For these, I dug around Handshake (Penn’s internship database), emailed alumni using Quaker Net, and did LinkedIn cold emailing. This required a decent amount of time but it ended up being fruitful at the end. Alumni are great and always willing to help and I could find several alumni at each of the companies I was interested in - that’s actually a big reason I landed my sophomore year gig. Junior year internships are mostly run through on-campus recruiting and the process is far more structured. I had no trouble navigating the process that year.

Q: Could you compare and contrast a couple of these internships?

A: My two most formative internships were my sophomore and junior year ones, at AbbVie (as a marketing intern) and at McKinsey (as a summer business analyst). The former gave me a good look into big pharma and I worked on an internal project that had a sizable impact. My engagement at McKinsey that I was staffed on happened to be in big pharma as well, but this time I was on the external side, advising our client on a new initiative. While both experiences were excellent and gave me two different sides of pharma, I thought the summer at McKinsey was much faster paced and I found myself learning more and being more engaged in the work than I was at AbbVie. I think that had to do with the slow corporate culture that’s present in big companies rather than being unique to AbbVie. The AbbVie internship was in person, however, while the McKinsey one was remote (due to the COVID-19 pandemic), so I did find my relationship with my team being slightly more personal at AbbVie. At the same time, McKinsey did an excellent job of making me as close to my team as was possible given the circumstances.

Learn more about Uday and his experience on his LinkedIn account.

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