2nd Year MBAs Talk about Their Summer Internships: Andrew Karst

Interviewee: Andrew Karst, MBA 2
Concentration/Other: Finance Concentration
Industry/Company/ Area of Internship/Location: Education Pioneers, New Orleans, LA
Education Management
What can you tell readers about the scope of your internship this summer?
“There were 12 Graduate School Fellows in the 2013 New Orleans cohort. Each Fellow was placed in a partner organization within the city and given a unique project that supported their partner organizations’ needs.”
“My project was a feasibility study of the financial implications of transitioning from a defined benefit to a defined contribution retirement plan. I created an Excel based model that included a 403(b) and social security calculator, as well as, the employer-to-employee matching for 403(b) contributions. Based on this model, I ran dozens of sensitivity analyses on key variables and then aggregated my findings. At the end of my project, I gave three specific recommendations outlining multiple strategic pathways.”
What was your daily schedule like at your Internship?
“Because my project didn’t need much in-person interaction on a daily basis, I was able to work from home. My schedule was flexible and mirrors what many corporate cultures are moving towards in regards to “flex-hours.” Some days I would work the typical 8am-5pm; however, it was not uncommon that I would work block hours as long as I met my deliverable goals every week as outlined by my supervisor. On Fridays, I would usually go into the office and give a status report to the CEO and CFO (my direct supervisors).”
How did you apply for your internship?
“I applied directly to the Education Pioneers website through their online application platform. After a brief critical thinking exercise, I attended a phone interview with an Education Pioneers staff-person. A few months later I was asked to attend an in-person group interview in Houston, TX. After roughly a month, decisions were sent out via-email.”
Did this internship match your intended career path?
“My entire background before coming to the MBA program at Tulane has been in education or education management. I intended to enter the field after completion of my MBA, but other opportunities arose and I took a job in the private sector. Education Pioneers taught me many valuable skills in educational management, and it in no way adversely affected my transition out of the industry. I found my experience extremely enjoyable and informative. I wouldn’t trade my experience for any other internship.”
What salary, benefits, outcomes did you receive?
“There is a $7,000 stipend given to each Graduate Fellow for the 10-week program. This was dispersed incrementally throughout the summer. “
What skills did you find most helpful in your Internship this summer?
“Excel…Excel…and more Excel. My entire life was spent in Excel over the summer. I built complex models and wrote VBA/Macro automation functions, because I was dealing with a large amount of data. Professors such as Russ Robins (Statistics), Larry LeBlanc (Quantitative Modeling), Venkat Subramanium (Advanced Financial Management), and Bill Reese (Financial Management, Investments) were extremely vital whether through the courses I took with them or the help they gave me throughout the summer. Their insight and knowledge expertise were pivotal for my success in the program. “
Did you consider yourself more or less prepared than your peers within the same internship program?
“We all brought different skill sets to the table. Each of our internships was different and there was not much parity in regard to our internship direction. I felt that I was more knowledgeable about the unique educational charter school systems we have in New Orleans; however, my peers were incredibly intelligent and passionate about their work and learned quickly throughout the summer. I can’t say enough about their passion. They motivated and inspired me everyday to become better. Great group of individuals!”
Would you recommend “Education Pioneers” to other MBA candidates here at Tulane?
“I would recommend Education Pioneers to other MBA Candidates. The education sector needs driven, intellectual, and business-savvy MBA students to bolster their continued growth. Education in New Orleans has changed the landscape of what we perceive education management to be and many MBA alumni are leading that revolution as CEOs, CFOs, or Directors in charter management organizations. Education Pioneers definitely went the extra mile to create avenues for prospective Fellows to network with a variety of charter management organizations, non-profits, and advocacy groups that were interested in hiring MBA students as well.”
Would you be willing to talk to other students about working at Education Pioneers?
“Of course! Please reach out to me at akarst@tulane.edu if you are interested in the internship. I would love to discuss the internship and my experience with you!”