Carnegie Mellon University


July 02, 2018

Student Spotlight: An MBA’s Summer Internship at Nvidia

Coming from a small nonprofit organization, Dan Messina was uniquely prepared for the Tepper School of Business MBA program with experiences across various business functions. “You get your hands in everything, from budget planning, accounting and finance to member outreach and marketing to planning and organization,” Messina said of three years at Metal Powder Industries Federation, a nonprofit group of powder metallurgy and particulate materials trade associations. “I really got to learn all aspects of business, which was a great asset to have coming into business school.”

His varied background made Messina highly attractive to Nvidia Corporation, a tech company involved in numerous markets, including artificial intelligence. Messina is involved with the Nvidia Inception Program, a virtual startup accelerator supporting nearly 3,000 ventures in AI, at the company’s Santa Clara, California Headquarters.

Artificial intelligence research

Messina saw a posting for an MBA internship at Nvidia on Handshake, Carnegie Mellon University’s online recruiting platform. “I was hesitant to apply at first because it seemed out of reach — I had no experience related to artificial intelligence, which is the main focus of the internship,” he said. “But luckily my resume resonated with them.” After several rounds of interviews over the span of a week, Nvidia offered him the internship in early April.

As part of the Nvidia Inception Program, Messina is investigating the value behind potential future trends in the artificial intelligence space and ways the company can better support startups. “I’m really enjoying the research, and the learning opportunities are incredible,” he said.

Last week, Nvidia sent Messina to CogX, an AI conference in London that brings together thought leaders and technology companies to discuss new developments and current trends in AI across industries. One of the highlights for Messina was the Startup Village, where more than 70 ventures exhibited their companies and products to potential collaborators or investors. Messina connected with the presenters and with venture capitalists to hear real experiences in the AI startup field.

Another part of Messina’s internship involves reviewing the team’s operations to recommend process improvements. “I knew I wanted to work in tech, but I wasn’t sure exactly what function I wanted to be involved with, whether it be operations or strategy, or possibly product management,” he said. “I think this really sets me up well to have experience in all of these areas.”

After the internship

Messina is pursuing the Technology Leadership track in the Tepper MBA program, a series of courses focused on preparing MBA students for high-tech careers in fields like product management or technology consulting. “I have access to product managers and directors across all business platforms here at Nvidia,” he said. “Getting this knowledge is helping me understand which path is right for me.”

As he enters the career recruitment period in his second year at the Tepper School, Messina hopes to draw upon some of the connections he is making this summer. “Hopefully I’ll be able to get more insight by speaking with VCs and startup CEOs in Silicon Valley,” he said. “I’d like to take what I learn and use it toward a strategy-focused tech role coming out of the MBA program at Tepper.”