Semester Series: Kirk Smith – Summer Intern Life at 3M

“Those men and women, to whom we delegate authority and responsibility, if they are good people, are going to want to do their jobs in their own way.” – William McKnight, 3M CEO from 1949-1966

Many students chose the two-year, full time MBA program because it gave them an opportunity to pursue an internship in the field that they wanted to pursue after graduation. I was no different. After spending over five years in federal consulting in Washington, D.C., I came back to business school to focus on marketing. Through the ups and downs of recruiting, I finally arrived at a decision on where I would spend my summer before I left on my Mid-Semester Module to Southeast Asia. I chose to enter the Integrated Marketing Development Program at 3M!

You might be asking yourself some questions now:

  • Isn’t 3M based in Minnesota?
    • Yes, the global corporate headquarters are just outside the Twin Cities area in Minnesota, along with other Global Fortune 500 companies including Target, General Mills, Best Buy, Medtronic, and EcoLab, to name a few.
  • What does 3M even make?
    • How about your fancy new iPhone? 30% of it is comprised of 3M technologies. I had no idea until I visited the company how it was literally involved in every aspect of people’s lives. The best thing 3M is known for are the PostIt notes that you will use to try to keep your life in order during graduate school.
  • Could you see yourself up in Minneapolis in a full time role?
    • Before business school, I don’t think I would have been able to answer that question. After this summer, I’ll say this. You can be in the most ideal climate/environment in the world but with a terrible job you would still be miserable. If you find a place where the people are smart and easy to work with, you’re challenged intellectually, and you’re not chained to your desk 100 hours a week, then you can make the best of any situation.

Besides, take a look at just a small sample of what I was able to see and accomplish this summer in less than 11 weeks!

Lake Minnetonka

Lake Minnetonka

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls

Collection of Outdoor Activities found in Minneapolis During the Summer

Collection of Outdoor Activities found in Minneapolis During the Summer

I am taking the time to discuss the location of the company because location can be a determining factor for most individuals based on their spouses, climate preferences, and lack of knowledge about a particular region. Regarding 3M itself, I cannot speak highly enough about the experience I had this summer. I worked alongside nine other MBA interns focusing on marketing-related projects throughout the summer. At the end of our projects, we presented to not only the CMO of 3M, but his boss, and the Senior Vice President of Communications and Sales (yes, it’s a weird structure).

Let me be clear though, I have no allusions about what will happen about two months from now if I go back full time… but I am preparing for the best.

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