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How to succeed at a CommonBond MBA Internship

Do you have a passion for solving big problems? Do you thrive on being trusted with important responsibilities? Do you want your MBA internship experience to really mean something and not just be an entry on your resume?

Then consider spending your summer with CommonBond. As a CommonBond intern, you’ll be treated like a full-time employee for 10 weeks.

We rotate our interns through every part of the company, from corporate strategy to marketing to product management to technology. We’ll help you develop relationships at every level, all the way up to the CEO. You’ll set goals and get feedback on your performance.

We know you come to the position expecting to learn things from us, but we also think you have things to teach us.

Okay, sure, that all sounds great, but lots of companies say those things. So don’t take it from us—take it from our interns.

Introducing Last Year’s CommonBond MBA Interns

Josh Brown is an MBA candidate at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and before that, he was a vice president at CIT Group, Inc., a global holding company whose subsidiaries provide financial services to small and medium-sized businesses. Prior to joining CIT, he served in the US Army for eight years.

Anish Bhatnagar is an MBA candidate with concentrations in finance and entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Previously, he worked as a global markets associate at Citi, a major investment bank and financial services corporation.

Josh worked with the product management team, which is responsible for planning and driving improvements or new initiatives related to the company’s student loan products. He worked on a few different projects across the student lending and business-to-business groups.

The student lending group originates student loans for undergraduate, graduate, and MBA students.

The business-to-business group CommonBond for Business™ works with employers to help them offer forward-thinking student loan benefits.

Employers can contribute directly toward employees’ student loan payments every month, reward employees who are verifiably paying down their student debt by offering them 401(k) contributions, and help employees consolidate and refinance their student loans.

These benefits can help companies attract and retain top talent as well as boost workers’ happiness and productivity.

Our MBA Interns’ Projects and Responsibilities

What types of projects do our MBA interns work on?

It changes every year, and it can even change between the time we conduct interviews and the time our interns come on board. CommonBond is a fast-paced company whose projects are constantly evolving.

But to give you an idea, here’s what Josh and Anish helped us with over the summer.

“My two main responsibilities were automating parts of our loan application process for both students and cosigners and working on a go-to-market plan for a future CommonBond for Business education financing product,” Josh explained.

Anish worked with the capital markets team, which is responsible for sourcing investors for the loans CommonBond originates. “For example, an institutional asset manager specializing in credit might be interested in buying CommonBond loans for their portfolio,” he explained.

“For the capital markets team, my project involved digging deep into data to derive meaningful metrics and insights around borrower payments,” Anish said. “The outcome was a customizable dashboard that can be used to help with internal decisions and investor queries.”

Anish also worked with the product management team. “I was involved in a project driving new features that impact student borrowers in the phase after their loan is approved by CommonBond,” he elaborated.

“This included working proactively with engineers to ensure accurate exchange of data between CommonBond and the partners we work with to serve the borrower in this critical phase.”

Student borrowers rely on CommonBond to deliver funds to the borrower’s school before the student’s tuition deadline. Also, the borrower must be smoothly onboarded to the loan servicer, who works with the borrower over the life of the loan to provide customer care and payment tracking.

One of the new features Anish worked on is a clearer indication within CommonBond’s website of how close the borrower is to receiving funds. This indicator will be visible to borrowers and cosigners, helping to ease anxiety about the funding process.

Another is a smoother onboarding process that communicates a specific set of loan information to the servicer in a specific format.

What CommonBond Interns Can Expect to Learn

We hire people who are not only eager to learn, but who have a desire to help others, enjoy working on a team, take ownership, and show leadership. What our interns learn depends in part on what team they work with and what projects they work on, but certain opportunities benefit everyone who works for us because they’re built into our company’s culture.

“One thing I loved about CommonBond was everyone was willing to share their knowledge and answer any question I had,” Josh said. Of his time working on both the tactical and strategic elements of product management, he added, “the most important thing I learned is to focus on the customer and their needs.”

“The ability to understand and empathize with customers is critical if you want to design products that create value,” Josh continued.

We also want our interns and employees to have a strong belief in CommonBond’s “education for all” mission and an entrepreneurial mindset. CommonBond helps its customers achieve their goals by lowering the cost of borrowing for school and by combining technology with great customer service to make the borrowing process simple and seamless.

And while we’re a student loan company, our interns learn lessons that apply to working in almost any environment. Anish said he expanded his understanding of the importance of clear communication when working with a team and learned how important it is to both seek out and provide clarity around complex processes.

“In the project for capital markets, I needed to seek information from different sources and fully internalize that information in order to create accurate reports,” he said. “With the product management team, in addition to seeking information, I needed to distill and communicate in a clear way to my colleagues. Whenever I wasn’t clear enough, the outcome wouldn’t be optimal.”

And it’s okay if you don’t have experience in the student loan space or in the exact area in which you want to land an internship. As Josh put it, “This was my first product role, and every day was a learning experience.”

And Anish said his experience working with engineers was highly valuable because he’s pursuing a master’s in computer science alongside his MBA. (How impressive is that?)

“By working with a very tight-knit team of engineers at CommonBond, I think I was able to learn more about the actual software architecture used in the systems that I worked with, and think critically about how we might improve those systems,” he reflected.

“I might not have had the same experience in a different internship if I was less embedded with the engineering team, worked with a larger team of engineers, or worked at a company that was not growing as quickly.”

At CommonBond, we value outside perspectives, and as an MBA student, we know you have the skills to do many different types of jobs.

We also know that many MBAs go to school to change career paths, and you might be looking to do something completely different than what you’ve done before.

If you’ve showed leadership in other roles, if you’re entrepreneurial and inquisitive, if you want to build people up, and if you’re passionate about working for a mission-driven company whose focus goes beyond being profitable, you’ll fit right in with us.

You don’t have to have finance, fintech, or student loan experience.

Key Skills for Succeeding as a CommonBond Intern

What skills will really help you shine at CommonBond?

“I think having a data-driven approach to solving problems is particularly important,” Josh said. “It’s important to have an opinion and make an educated guess at what the next step should be, but you should also have a plan to test your hypotheses and assumptions. Always be prepared to support your plan with facts.”

Josh explained that as a product intern, supporting his plan with facts meant getting out of the building and talking to customers and industry experts. The ability to interact with others in a positive way is essential.

For Anish, the ability to thrive under uncertainty is key. “This includes being able to learn quickly on the fly and obtain information creatively from disparate sources,” he explained.

Why Join the CommonBond Team?

CommonBond is changing the student loan game, and we’re always working with MBA students to find fresh ideas to push the industry forward. Could a 10-week summer internship with us in New York City be the right fit for you?

We’re a customer-centric financial services company disrupting the way people think about student loans by offering lower interest rates and caring customer service. And we’re a company that was started by MBA students, so we know where you’re coming from.

We’re also a values-driven company, funding a year of education for a child in Ghana for every student loan we fund and offering our employees benefits that include comprehensive healthcare, volunteer time off, paid parental leave, equity ownership, unlimited vacation, and of course, student loan reimbursement.

CommonBond has been named to Time’s Genius Companies, Fast Company’s World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies, Inc.’s 50 Best Places to Work, and the Forbes Fintech 50. We are backed by solid investors, have an awesome team, and can’t wait to find our next passionate group of first-year MBA interns for the summer of 2019.

Ready to Apply for a Summer MBA Internship with CommonBond?

Here are some final thoughts from our interns that might help you decide if you’d like to spend your summer working with CommonBond’s team.

You should apply for a CommonBond internship if...

  • You understand and want to improve the current state of student lending in the United States
  • You value autonomy and the ability to take on a project and produce meaningful results
  • You are team-oriented and willing to pitch in where necessary, regardless of how small or large the task
  • You are an effective communicator who embraces feedback and is able to interact well with colleagues across many teams
  • You aspire to spend the summer surrounded by talented individuals who are committed to your growth and success

Internships will be posted at commonbond.co/careers starting in January. We hope to hear from you soon!

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