From Milwaukee to Manhattan: How one mentee landed an internship at Chipotle

I starte applying to summer internships in December of my junior year and heard a big NO from everyone. I applied to internships locally, in Milwaukee and Chicago, and globally (who wouldn’t want to work and play in Paris?) and heard nothing back for months, not even the kind rejection email. Learn what unfolded.  

Omo TseumahWhen I landed the internship at Chipotle it was unexpected. I was doing my rounds applying after a day of class and saw the job posting on Linkedin. I would later find out I was one of over 400+ people who saw the same job posting and applied. Applications rolled in so fast the posting was only live for 24 hours. They had one internship position in New York City and I got it.

To say last summer was interesting would be a bit of an understatement. New York is a battle ground, this city is alive in the most amazing and exhausting way. Couple that with a $22 billion company trying to rebuild from a major food crisis, and losing its CMO while I was interning to a drug scandal; I was interning in the middle of what would one day be a Harvard business case of success or failure.

My position was in the marketing department as a Project Management Intern, but to be frank I wasn’t quite sure what I would be doing for the summer. I just said yes, bought a flight, found an apartment on craigslist and showed up ready to work and learn. The internship by far exceeded every expectation. I had the autonomy to manage and work on 30+ different projects and was the point person for a six-promotion-suite of digital, email and print assets that rolled out in every major region. It was satisfying seeing everything I worked on in-market months after leaving the city.   

I learned two main lessons as a Project Management Intern at Chipotle:

  • If you look at anything wide scale it’s going to seem intimidating. That not only goes for the job I was doing, but anything in life. You won’t have all the answers, you are going to need to reach out to those who do and collaborate. You have to take things one task at a time and build it out. Once you build the framework, you have to be open to things being added and changed.  
  • You have to try. Some things can be really intimidating, I never thought I’d be interning in New York City at Chipotle, especially after I heard they only had one position open. But I tried, and look what happened! Showing up, plugging in and saying yes really is half the battle. You have to sometimes just Nike your way into things (Just do it!).

I wouldn’t trade last summer for anything. It was extraordinarily difficult in some moments, but extraordinarily liberating and exciting. Whether you’re exploring internship opportunities or preparing for a career after Marquette I encourage you to not get bogged down by rejections, dream big and chase the opportunities that seem out of reach. You might find out the applicant they’re looking for is YOU!  

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