What would be the best approach for applying for Product marketing internships for MBA grads this summer?
The best approach would be to ensure you have some great facing public content that you can attach to your CV when applying for a job. Post-MBA PMMs tend to be content workhorses. Leaders need PMMs that can write clearly, concisely, and relatably.
I also recommend MBAs go out and get some practical demand gen marketing experience. Start a blog and then invest a few dollars to promote it. Try and get syndicated on a content hungry site like Business Insider, HuffPo, or Forbes. This will give you a great story in interviews marketing something that you're truly passionate about.
Network! I got my first foot in the door in the world of marketing through networking my rear end off. As a student, I attended one marketing event after another. The one that put me on my current career track is one I almost didn’t attend! I drove through two hours of mind-numbing Los Angeles rush hour traffic to a marketing networking event on the other side of town. I didn’t want to make the drive and I kept wanting to turn back around. But somehow, I made it there and talked to as many people as possible to try to learn from them. A few days later, I got an email from a marketing executive I had met who told me that I was literally the only person who didn’t try to sell him anything at the networking event, and would I be interested in an internship at his company? I went to over a dozen similar events that year, but that one blew open the gates to the world of marketing for me.
That was pre LinkedIn. Today you have a lot of online resources so you don’t have to slog through Los Angeles rush hour hell. Have you checked with organizations such as the ‘Product Marketing Alliance’ or ‘The Product Marketing Community’?
Congrats on the MBA! There are two types of internships: the internship you apply for and the internship you create.
For well-known PMM internships, you apply for an existing role. There is often a lot more demand (applicants) than supply (internships available) so honestly your best bet to stand out is to build relationships at the company and prepare a compelling application that shows you are a self-motivated, high potential individual.
But you might also consider creating your own internship. It takes work, but you can convince a company to build an internship around you. I should know, I hired an intern at AdRoll and my team hired an intern at Segment all based around a persuasive candidate.
How to get a PMM internship when the company doesn't have a formal program*:
- Define your own timeline, budget, and responsibilities
- Define the business impact you hope to help the company achieve
- Define your intentions for when the internship is over
- Sell the dream to the company
*This will likely only work at startups under 500 people! Once a company gets bigger, it's harder to make one-off exceptions happen!
The theme behind 1, 2, and 3 is to make it as easy for the company to say "yes" as possible. Here's what a prospective intern sent to me when I worked at AdRoll:
"I would like to intern at AdRoll for the next two quarters and help with [opportunity] which I noticed in your latest press release. I have experience in a similar area and I believe that I can help [business metric]. I would love to be considered for a full-time role after the six months, but I am happy to discuss that once I've started meeting or exceeding your expectations. While gaining experience is most important to me, I am exploring other opportunities where compensation ranges [desired comp]. I'd appreciate if I could make my case with you in a quick 15-min call this week. Let me know when is a good time to connect."
I took the call and they got hired as an intern (and then as a full-time employee). All because they made it very easy for me to make a business case and hire them.
1. Invest in a Linkedin Premium account
2. Create a list of companies you'd like to intern for
3. Inmail their Heads of PMM or VPs of Marketing.
A good place to help build that list is Wealthfront's annual career building companies list: https://blog.wealthfront.com/announcing-2020-career-launching-companies/