Facebook Internship : Self-reflect, challenge yourself, make the most of it!
Victoria Henderson (MBA2021)
I’m currently halfway through my summer internship in the Business Planning & Operations team at Facebook. TMC asked me to share my experiences so far - I’ll touch on some preparation tips for recruiting and how you can maximize your internship once you’re on the ground.
Know your strengths and show them off
One of the core components of any business school application is your story – what brings you here? What do you want to achieve? And perhaps most importantly, what experiences and skills can you contribute? Although you’ll be tempted to push these personal anecdotes to the side once you get to campus, this framework is a great way to prepare for your interviews.
What brings you here and what you want to get out of the internship are fairly easy to answer. Tactically – know the company. Prepare by reading their annual reports, look for news of recent funding rounds or acquisitions and try to learn what you can about their organisational structure. Knowing what the career path looks like at the company shows that you understand their ways of working, and tells you a lot about the opportunities that will be available to you within a few years post-graduation.
Many of your classmates will be preparing for structured recruiting, which focuses more on case method. Although those of you recruiting mainly into tech roles won’t need to focus on case prep in-depth, preparing for a role in tech will require you to be able to speak with significant detail about your prior experiences. Prepare anecdotes which allow you to discuss impact over time – and where possible, use real data or numeric examples to showcase this. Moreover, look into the professional backgrounds of the people on the team that you are interviewing for. This will indicate which skills you’ll want to emphasize in the interview, or help you identify skills gaps that you might want to address.
For me, I was drawn to the Planning & Ops team at Facebook because it allowed me to bring my analytical and strategic skillset to a dynamic and quickly-evolving suite of products in a new industry. I prepared by focusing on anecdotes that would showcase analytical rigour, ingenuity and stakeholder management because these read as core skills across many of my team’s LinkedIn profiles and the role description.
I’ve been working on designing a process for internal product rollouts to help our UK and Nordics business recover post-COVID. I’m also preparing deep-dive analyses into key verticals in the UK to understand which segments pose additional risks or present opportunities in this ‘unprecedented’ new reality. These projects challenge me in many ways: understanding the products and groups across the suite of platforms in the Facebook ecosystem; learning about new markets and verticals; and adapting to an ‘individual contributor’ way of working – not to mention the internal and external changes resulting from the Stop Hate for Profit boycott.
I would absolutely recommend the Facebook internship program to anyone thinking about a slightly more structured tech focused internship. The intern onboarding (albeit virtual this summer) was really social, with a focus on training and upskilling across core functions in the business, beyond my immediate team.
My projects are impactful and touch a variety of key stakeholders across teams – Facebook prides itself on having retained the ‘hacker’ culture – and I’ve enjoyed having a huge amount of autonomy in my project’s direction and delivery. Moreover, I’ve been impressed with the internal support and culture at Facebook.
During onboarding, Maxine Williams – Global Chief Diversity Officer at Facebook – said you can’t solve people problems in the same way as you solve product problems. Although this may sound obvious, Facebook is so often represented as formulaic or impersonal. My time here has proved the culture to be exactly as Maxine mentioned and I’ve been incredibly lucky to be integrated into, and supported by, my team (all virtually!).
Make the most of it!
- Be proactive in making connections – establish who you can ask for help, data or advice. Establishing this early will make your summer easier and whole lot more fun.
- Don’t be shy – I scheduled virtual coffees with many people for no reason other than it seemed they had interesting experiences. I ended up learning a lot more about the business through these chats.
- Participate as much as possible – even if it feels like there are a million different intern events, remember that this is as much a test for you to see if this is the right fit, as it is for your employer – so invest where you can.
MBA2021, London Business School
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