To ensure Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) students are well-equipped to tackle the working world, ESSEC Business School has made it mandatory that they complete three internships: A three-month summer internship at the end of the first year, a one-month humanitarian or social work project, and a final, longer six-month internship nearer the end of their undergraduate journey.

But how do students with limited prior work experience go about securing these positions, especially those in competitive industries like finance or beauty?

We spoke to Janice Liu and Radhika Tandon, interested in the beauty industry, and Simran Hathiramani and Siyi Chen, keen on the finance sector, about how they scored their dream internships.

1 | Network, Network, Network

Siyi, who has at least four internships under her belt—and counting—across areas like compliance, product management, and investment banking in Singapore and China, recommends contacting ESSEC alumni for advice.

In her experience, they’ve been beneficial: While one gave her tips on improving her LinkedIn profile when she first started her internship hunt, another offered to connect her to a hiring manager for a potential position, she recalls.

Echoing her sentiments, Janice shares that she managed to score her dream internship at LVMH by networking at one of ESSEC’s career fairs.

She adds, “I’d also recommend researching the team and people you’re interviewing with so you understand their profiles before you meet them.”

2 | Keep Your Connections Fresh

This is particularly important in ensuring you can build relationships with the people you network with and don’t simply come across as “job-hungry,” Simran chimes in.

With the wisdom of someone who has done nine internships, she advocates for following up with each connection and genuinely trying to get to know people, not just the role you are interested in.

After all, impact investing platform Bamboo Capital Partners had not been hiring when she first spoke to them. Still, they remembered her and eventually offered her an internship because she followed up. Her favorite internship, as a Sales & Trading Summer Analyst at J.P. Morgan, came for similar reasons: She had applied for a different role and, despite not being selected, reached out to thank them for their time—which impressed the hiring team enough for them to recommend her to another department, she says.

3 | Reach Out for Referrals

Experience has taught Simran that it helps to get referrals from people you have worked with in the past.

“People in the higher levels, especially in finance, might not take out much time for you if you don’t have a referral,” she muses, adding, “Try to get your past bosses to give you a letter of recommendation or even drop a note to the new hiring manager to vouch for your abilities,” she recommends.

4 | Get Creative With Your Search

There are also many ways to catch a recruiter’s eye. Radhika, for example, created a “web resume”—a three-page website—that helped employers get to know her better. This caught the eye of the French visual communication agency Your-Comics, and despite the weak job market during the COVID-19 pandemic, they took her on for a digital marketing position.

She believes that researching a company goes beyond just reading about it. To land her dream internship at L’Oreal, for instance, she took part in the 2021 L’Oreal Brandstorm Competition. This helped her better understand the organization’s culture and values, and the fact that she won the contest at the national level only boosted her chances.

5 | Keep An Open Mind

Face it—you might not know what you like or don’t like until you try it. After all, Siyi and Simran had no idea they would be keen on joining the finance sector when they first started their journey at ESSEC Asia-Pacific.

“My career service advisor, Cerella, told me not to limit myself, but I didn’t believe her and kept applying for marketing positions,” Siyi recalls. “When I didn’t get in and ended up in product management, I began to realize she was right, and there were so many other things I could explore.”

In the same vein, Janice, who today works in human resources (HR) at Unilever, also discovered her passion for HR because of an internship she had landed.

In the words of Cerella Sim, Global BBA Career Advisor: “Don’t be fixated!” The world is your oyster, and whether it’s advice on your resume, tips for your interview, or simply a listening ear, ESSEC Career Services and the community are here to help.