Continuing education is one way to set yourself apart from other applicants in a competitive job market. It may also lead you to a fulfilling internship that can grow into a new career.
We heard from Suhasini Bhargava, senior vice president, credit research analyst at PIMCO, about how she developed her skills through PIMCO’s MBA internship program, transitioned into a full-time role, and her advice to anyone who’s considering business school themselves.
Q) What about PIMCO made you first want to join?
Suhasini Bhargava: I was a first-year business student at Columbia Business School (CBS) in the fall of 2013 when I met some investment professionals from PIMCO at an information session. I knew the firm was a leader in investment literature and fixed income investing, so that piqued my interest initially. I attended a PIMCO women’s summit that showed me a bit about PIMCO’s culture and leadership. From there, I was hooked. I applied for and landed a PIMCO summer internship in 2014 as a credit research analyst.
Q) Why did you choose the PIMCO MBA internship?
Suhasini: I attended a well-put-together on-site event for women that highlighted PIMCO and its commitment to the program and its strong culture. The event was a great opportunity to explore a variety of career paths at the firm. Women interviewing for investment management roles is a much smaller subset of MBA students compared to their male counterparts, so it’s easy to forge strong relationships.
Q) Can you tell us about your internship experience at PIMCO?
Suhasini: Overall, my experience mirrored what I would be doing in a full-time job on a day-to-day basis really well. The PIMCO internship is a 10-week summer experience. The first week is spent getting to know your colleagues and the PIMCO culture, and then there are nine weeks spent at a desk. I was particularly impressed by the first week of fundamentals training to learn about the business. Throughout the internship, we had a Friday speaker series that featured a different portfolio manager each week who would do a teach-in of their strategy or their particular job function. Having that kind of engagement with senior leadership was really amazing.
My particular project was in consumer loan growth, which I presented on at the end of the summer. Additionally, I did investment analysis, and was able to work with a number of different people and groups across the firm. For me, the best part was the freedom of figuring out how I would get to the deliverable at the end of the internship (i.e. the presentation on consumer loan growth).
Q) How was the transition from PIMCO MBA intern to full-time employee?
Suhasini: It was relatively seamless. There was a weeklong training to get us back into the swing of things, but a lot of what I had been doing over the summer internship came back very quickly — although there was more responsibility, of course.
Q) Other than your MBA, what has enabled you to continue to develop your career at PIMCO?
Suhasini: Within my group, there are a number of senior women that serve as informal mentors. It’s really great to have people that are five or 10 years ahead of you in their careers that are looking out for women in your group. That’s been really huge in terms of career development and success for me. I think that PIMCO is helping women with establishing the kinds of informal networking in finance that was once only available to men. There’s been a lot of progress even since I started in terms of camaraderie between women in the finance sector.
Also, despite being a massive organization, PIMCO is quite entrepreneurial. We don’t have rigid boxes that people have to fit into, and anyone can advance at her own pace. I have had many superiors that I felt comfortable asking for more responsibility from, and this has contributed to my career growth.
Q) What is some career advice you’d give to someone who is looking to get her MBA?
Suhasini: I have two pieces of advice. First, think about where you want to be in three to four years and if an MBA is necessary or helpful in getting there. Second, apply to schools that will help you get where you want to go. If you have a sense of what you want to do, such as marketing or general management, do a lot of research on various schools. They all specialize in different subjects or areas, so your opportunity set will be different depending on which school you choose. You’re also going to business school to build a network, and your network will be that much more relevant if you figure out where you’re going and for what reason.
Watch to learn more about the Internship Experience at PIMCO.
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This material contains the opinions of the speaker and may not necessarily be those of PIMCO. The experiences discussed may not be representative of the experiences of all PIMCO employees. This material has been provided for informational purposes only.