Landing the Internship: The Museum of Modern Art

Pam Duncan ’14 shares how she landed her awesome internship:

I love art. I know business. And this summer, I have been able to perfectly combine these two passions of mine with an internship on the Special Events Team at The Museum of Modern Art.

My summer at MoMA has been amazing so far. Instead of focusing on the wonderful internship program here (which is a blog post in its own right), and I going to write about landing the internship of my dreams.

1. Have a plan. I am methodical and organized in every aspect of my life, and the internship search was no different. I knew that I wanted to work on the business side of the art field, so I made a list of the companies and organizations on which I was going to focus my search. I aimed for the top, for the “heavy hitters” in the art industry.

I suggest making a list of five organizations/companies and intensely focus your search on those five. Five is a good number – it is manageable enough for you to get to know the organization very well and for you to maintain your alumni relationships, but it is big enough for you to have back-up internships if a few fall through.

2. Use iCan. I searched on iCan (Colgate’s alumni database) and made a list of the Colgate

alumni who worked at each of my five focus organizations. I emailed one or two of the alumni at each organization. In my email, I introduced myself, told them my background, and asked if they might have time to speak with me about their own career paths and their company’s culture. Treat it as an informational chat, not a job interview. If you are likeable enough, your alumni contacts will bend over backwards to make sure that you do get an interview with their company.

3. Apply for Career Services Funding. I was accepted to my dream internship program, which was awesome. Unfortunately, this dream internship was unpaid, which was less awesome. I knew that this would not be an insurmountable problem though, because I knew about Career Services Summer Funding.

Colgate’s alumni are so fabulous that they will not only help you land the internship – they will help you fund it. Career Services Summer Funding provides Colgate students the funds that they need to pursue internship or research opportunities. A lot of students apply for the funds, so it is a bit competitive, but you will never receive the funding if you do not apply!

I am living in Manhattan this summer, which cuts my commute down from two hours (if I were commuting from home) to ten minutes. My Colgate Summer Funding covered almost the entire cost of my housing, and I could not be more appreciative.

You might be thinking, “Pam, it’s almost August, so isn’t it a bit late for this advice?” No way, I say! It is never too early to start the internship search for next summer (I usually start my internship search in early October), and this is advice that rising seniors will be able to use in their job searches. Happy networking!

 -Pam Duncan ’14

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