An MBA internship offers an insight into the inner workings of a company. You gain key industry knowledge, helping you decide what career path to take post-graduation.
Impress during your internship and you could find you land a full-time job offer. Erik Catton, MBA student at Copenhagen Business School (CBS), landed a full-time role with Fortune 500 logistics and supply chain firm, Maersk, after a successful marketing internship.
From Ford Motor Company to Copenhagen Business School
Born on the East coast of the US, Erik attended university in Ohio and began his career at a construction startup before landing a role with Ford Motor Company.
He worked at Ford for eight years across various departments including business development and sales. But he was interested in pursuing a career with more global opportunities.
“I was always really interested in working globally, that was my goal in life—to live abroad and work with people from around the world,” he explains. “I always find it fascinating from a cultural perspective to see how people do things differently, and I didn’t think I was getting that chance at Ford.”
Working within the automotive industry for several years, Erik felt it was time for a new challenge. He decided an MBA in Europe would allow him to change both his industry and location, and chose CBS as his destination.
“I’d been to Copenhagen before many times with friends,” he says. “Denmark is a very small but well-off country, Danish is the main language but everyone speaks English very fluently, and CBS was a good program because it was small but had a global footprint.”
Copenhagen is also one of the most sustainable cities in the world, something CBS promotes within the program. “As someone who works in branding and defining a company’s purpose, you really are purpose driven and I think the sustainability angle was also very interesting to me,” he adds.
Landing an MBA internship during the Copenhagen Business School MBA
Erik had a range of opportunities to develop his skills during the MBA. CBS students take part in a leadership program called the Leadership Discovery Process, which involves tailored mentorship, workshops, and a multi-day leadership simulator.
The program was the highlight of the MBA for David, tying together various skills he picked up in classes covering a range of business disciplines. Erik also spent time networking with his fellow cohort, which included students from the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
“The school does an amazing job of getting people from all over the world and different backgrounds — all very talented and smart. Since you’re in a small group, you really get to know them,” he says.
Arguably the opportunity that has had the greatest impact on his career: Erik landed his internship with Maersk after a job posting was shared internally by the CBS careers team.
While he initially applied for a role in the sales department, after a rigorous interview process Maersk decided Erik was more suited to a marketing role.
“I wanted to change my sector because I didn’t really want to be in automotive anymore, but I wanted to stay in marketing and branding. They offered me this marketing role and I felt really happy because I really wanted to work in Denmark,” he explains.
“Maersk is a very renowned company here, it’s a very old, historic company. In Denmark they’re very proud of Maersk,” he adds.
Turning an MBA internship into a full-time job
Erik approached his internship with a clear strategy in mind: network with as many people within the company as possible to build his reputation internally.
He found a mentor in the person who initially hired him to the company. With their help, Erik setup one-on-one meetings with members of the various Maersk teams including branding, product, and marketing.
He also kept a keen eye on any job opportunities that opened within the company. When a post became available within two months of beginning his internship, he wasted no time in applying.
“I applied internally for this job [before it was listed externally], which was a huge benefit,” he explains. “Then all of these people that I had met with during my one-on-one meetings could vouch for me.
After another rigorous process, midway through his internship Maersk offered Erik the full-time role working in strategy within the company’s corporate branding division. He began working before graduating from the MBA.
He feels having a plan was the key to his success: “It’s honestly the only way within a big organization: to have people know who you are is the only way that you can successfully get a job.
“Don’t be intimidated, work to make connections within the company and then if you find a job or they offer you a job at the end of your internship then people will know who you are.”
Today Erik works to help define Maersk’s brand image and regularly interacts with different members of the Maersk teams including sales, marketing, and investment. He has also remained in Copenhagen where he enjoys the diverse culture of the city.
“The MBA worked out to be a fantastic decision and I accomplished everything that I set out to do,” he says. “It’s a really nice feeling when you have goals and you’re able to achieve them.”
Copenhagen Business School (CBS)
CBS: efficient international network
CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.
Good academic career
I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.
CBS is one of the best!
All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.
The ideal business school
I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.
A Place of Personal Growth
In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.
The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.
Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!
Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.
A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment
I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.