The Hoos are National Champions! In case you’re curious, this was the scene last night in Cville. Needless to say, it is a great day to be a Wahoo. Congratulations to the UVA Men’s Basketball team!

This week is also an exciting one for our Career Development Center (CDC). This Thursday and Friday mark the occasion of Darden’s first-ever Spring Career Fair and today, our CDC colleagues will be hosting internship prep sessions for our First Year students. Read on to learn more, and be sure to check out our recent podcast interview with Assistant Dean of Career Development, Jeff McNish, our post about internship interview season, our Interview Forum coverage and our ongoing Career Spotlight series.

Spring Career Fair

Later this week, the CDC will welcome employers including Capital One, CarMax, UPS, Wayfair and more to Grounds for a Spring Career Fair.

As noted above, this is the first time Darden has hosted a Spring Career Fair, and the event is a win-win for both students and companies. It creates more opportunities for First Year, Second Year and Executive MBA students to engage with employers, and it also allows employers to continue their recruiting efforts after the traditional January/February recruiting season has passed. Programming will include interviews, a networking reception, panel discussions and office hours.

Internship Prep Sessions

And today, the CDC will also host internship prep sessions. Focused on a broad set of industries – Consulting, Banking, General Management, Marketing and Technology – these sessions will help ensure our First Year students make the most of their summer experiences. We recently caught up with Associate Director of Career Education and Advising, Margaret Weeks, to discuss further. Check out Margaret’s answers below!

What is the goal of the internship prep sessions?

We want Darden students to really thrive in their internships, so helping them think about how to do that is important. We include the clubs and Second Year students in these sessions so First Year students can hear tips and insights from their peers who had successful internships the year before.

What sort of topics will you be covering during the sessions?  

We’ll touch on a lot of different topics – What to do before your internship starts to get off on the right foot, how to set your objectives for the summer, how to think about internship networking, how to determine the best way to communicate with your manager. We try to help students think about their summer experience holistically, beyond just the immediate work they will be doing.

How long has the CDC been offering these sessions?

We have offered these sessions as part of our Career Education workshops for years now. We feel it is important to have students start thinking early about how they want to be great at their internships.

If you could give students one piece of advice about their summer internship experience, what would that advice be and why?

Set expectations early with your supervisor and mentors, and clearly understand your project goals and expectations. Students are often given really big, impossible to finish projects for their internships, where there isn’t really an expectation that the student complete the full project in a summer. The goal is to see how they prioritize their work, and how they think about solving big problems. Setting expectations about what you can and cannot do, and then delivering an excellent project, go a long way to demonstrating your value to a company.