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  • Sitting Down With James Pipkins

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    In continuing with our series checking in with second year MBAs currently working their summer internships, we caught up with James Pipkins. Pipkins, a dual Masters degree student, who graduated from undergrad at U of I (B.S. Technical System Management), is currently working on his Master of Human Resource Management at Illinois School of Industrial and Labor Relations while matriculating through the MBA program. Pipkins has been joined by a couple other Illinois MBA students, working at the Chicago Tribune in HR for the summer. During the interview, he offered some valuable insights regarding making the most of ones time at the Illinois MBA. Lets see what James had to say!


    -Now that your first year is complete, what was your favorite part [of your first year]?            

    My favorite part of the first year was the opportunity I received to Study Abroad in Brazil.  Ever since I graduated from undergrad, I wished I had taken the opportunity to study internationally.    

    -What is the most valuable thing you learned? 

    The most valuable thing I learned was the importance reading (people)/getting a feel for an individual’s nonverbal communication in business settings.  Another valuable lesson that I learned this past year was the significance of identifying the cultural differences between individuals attempting to conduct business across borders (international business). 

    -Where and with whom is your summer internship? 

    My summer internship is with the Chicago Tribune (Manufacturing and Distribution).

    -How did you land your internship? 

    I landed my internship opportunity with the Chicago Tribune by regularly (twice a week) monitoring the on-campus interviews section of I-Link.  When I saw an internship position that I felt fit my career interest, I would apply (on the I-Link portal) and then make a record of when the submission deadline was.  A day after the deadline passed, I would return to the portal and check if I was selected for an interview.  When applying for various positions, it is extremely important to keep track of the companies you apply to and any contact information provided on I-Link.  

    -What responsibilities have you assumed in your internship?  

    I currently work on a HR Change Management Team within the Manufacturing and Distribution faction of the Tribune Company.  My project for the summer is to assess the current culture/employee relations aspect of M&D, then make sustainable recommendations that will be used in future operations.

    -What piece(s) of advice would you give to incoming Illinois MBA students regarding their internship search?

    To be successful in your internship search, you must dedicate a respectable amount of time to searching for opportunities.  Last year, I would dedicate Fridays to research various opportunities.  Also, I used many of the resources available to the University of Illinois students and NBMBAA members such as campus/national career fairs, information sessions, company visits, and career services.  

    Special thanks to James Pipkins, as he definitely imparted wisdom with his comments! Thanks for reading the Illinois MBA’s Student Life Blog! Be sure to check back in as more posts will be coming! Until next time…