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MBA students find new opportunities after internships canceled by Coronavirus

Soon after UNC Greensboro switched online amid the Coronavirus pandemic, Bryan School Dean McRae Banks released a video for students. In it, he wished safety and health to everyone at home, but he also sent a message of encouragement.

“Many of you have heard me talk about how important it is to be an exceptional problem solver, to be innovative, to be agile,” he said. “There’s no better time to exhibit those abilities than in a crisis.”

Two students, in particular, have taken that message of agility to heart, managing to successfully secure a second internship after their original plans for the summer fell through.

Ranjan Shrestha and William Crandell are both early career professional MBA students, expecting to finish their program by May 2021. Both had plans to intern with the same company this summer in Greensboro, fulfilling their program’s internship requirement. Unfortunately, the program was canceled as a result of the virus.

Ranjan and William
Shrestha (left) and Crandell (right) are both early career professional MBA students.

“It stressed me out at the time,” said Shrestha. “You need an internship to graduate.”

Crandell had even been working with that company in different capacities for some time.

“I was pretty much solidified for the summer and didn’t apply anywhere else,” he said “I already had my internship lined up from the previous summer. In my mind, I was good. And, well, the Coronavirus hit.”

As they shifted gears, both students mentioned discussing their options with Megan Parker, the Bryan School’s Graduate Student Professional Development Specialist. Shrestha went as far as to describe her as both his coach and cheerleader in the process. Parker said she tried to remind them that these are unique circumstances.

“(The pandemic) has nothing to do with the student,” she said. “This is not their fault.”

Crandell said he began applying for new internships immediately.

“The Bryan School having Professional Fridays, having mock interviews, networking with people, that was amazing how the connection came full circle when I was in a position to apply and do actual interviews,” said Crandell. “When it came time it was a no-brainer. We spent countless Fridays working on my resume. When I sent it in, people were contacting me. I had done everything Megan was telling me to do. Let me just do what they say to do and see if it works, and it worked.”

Between resume tweaks and the updates he’d made to his LinkedIn profile, Crandell said he began to realize everything he had already learned during his semesters at the Bryan School.

“When I got my first interview with Target, I was sitting there reeling it in,” he said. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is so comfortable right now. I’m in my element. This is nothing right now. This is what I need right now, having a regular conversation.’ I was asking questions, all the things I was taught.”

Crandell wound up landing that internship with Target and called Parker to celebrate. Shrestha made sure to write her an email after securing summer internship plans with Arch Capital Services in Greensboro, thanking her for her help and citing those mock interviews as particularly helpful.

As far as advice for students who may find themselves in similar shoes, both Shrestha and Crandell said to try and stay positive.

“With new things popping out, new news popping up, the first thing we must be is optimistic,” said Shrestha. “Unless we work hard we can’t get any opportunity, so give it 100 percent for any interview. Whatever the opportunity, give it 100 percent.”