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Business Casual: Finding the Right Fashion Internship When You're In Business School

Kendall is a former fashion editor who has written for, Lucky, InStyle, and NBC. She recently scrapped that glamorous life and is pursuing a
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Kendall is a former fashion editor who has written for, Lucky, InStyle, and NBC. She recently scrapped that glamorous life and is pursuing an MBA at MIT Sloan, in hopes of becoming an entrepreneur. The standard MBA program is two years. Two short years that pass as fast as everyone warns you they will. Sandwiched between these years, there is one precious summer. Three months to choose where you want to live, what you want to try, how much you want to work. For many “career switches,” this time is the first experience they’ll have in their new occupation of choice. My classmates at MIT Sloan spent much of their first year gearing up for these three months, printing business cards, dry cleaning their suits, smoothing their pre-interview hair. Most of them now are hard at work at consulting firms, banks, start-ups, etc. Some love their jobs, some don’t.

I’m back interning in New York City, despite all my California-dreaming secret wishes. I’m starting to believe I might be happiest living in NYC while fantasizing about California – does that make sense? [Ed. note: Yes, it does.] But I digress. I chose to split my summer and do two internships. I wanted to try two companies: a luxury label and a tech start-up. Looking back, I’m really happy I went this route. The only tangible downside is that you have to work a longer summer than most of your peers and forgo fun trips. I know, poor me, right? Since I went on plenty of those adventures during the school year, I figured summer was the time to work.

I spent the first half of my summer at Altuzarra. It was... awesome. Totally, totally awesome. I helped out during the Resort season, so I got to see all of those beautiful pieces – the capes, the ikat pants, the metallic jackets—up close. I got to see buyers from many of the big department stores and e-commerce sites come in to check out the goods. From the sales department, I glimpsed what goes into making a luxury label tick. From my fellow interns all the way up to the COO and CEO, the people were by far some of the most accomplished, impressive women I’ve ever worked with. I felt as much at home in the job as a summer intern possibly can.

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Now I’m switching over to Stylitics, a fashion/tech start-up that lets you build digital closets and tracks the analytics around what people are buying and wearing. Since I’m really interested in creating a fashion start-up myself, it seemed wise to get some experience at one. The small team--about 10 people--have been really welcoming and laidback to work with.

Of course, my summer experience is just a drop in the bucket. Other MBA’s interested in retail have found spots across the board. Here’s a quick list off the top of my head: Nike, DFS, Ralph Lauren, Makeup Forever, Amazon, Dior, and Bloomingdales. Choices abound!

Wherever you go, realize it will probably feel a bit odd to be an intern. After all, I’m 28…and I’m an intern. Weird. Plus, unlike banking or consulting programs, it’s not uncommon to walk in as the lone MBA intern in a fashion company. But it’s sort of fun (or funny?), and the internship process really is the perfect way to test out your new career path before going full steam into it.

If you have any questions about getting an MBA, drop me a line in the comments or find me on Twitter @Kendall_to_go.