The job scope of a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) trainee depends on the employment context. In some countries, corporations that have internal management training programs that run concurrent to a trainee's pursuit of this degree will call the participant an MBA trainee. Other corporations call newly-hired, recent MBA graduates trainees until a probationary or training period elapses. Companies that hire student interns during the summer in between their first and second year of a program may also call the intern an MBA trainee. In each instance, the exact duties of the position will differ but will likely involve rotating through corporate departments and working on basic projects under the supervision of a mentor.
Generally, an MBA degree exposes a student to all of the major areas of business operations. Although a student can specialize in one academic area, such as marketing, he must first complete core requirements that lay the groundwork for a basic knowledge of the entire corporate landscape. An MBA trainee typically undergoes the same sort of business exposure but in the field. The position is usually designed to first allow the MBA trainee to experience the inner working of all of the major corporate departments, before allowing him to choose one or two areas to develop a focus.
Most training programs require the trainee to spend a certain length of time working in each department. The length of time is often determined by the employment context. A school-based internship will likely have a short rotation cycle that can be completed during the summer break between semesters. Corporate training programs that groom interior and exterior candidates for management positions will often assign trainees to departments for longer periods of time.
The MBA trainee is not usually expected to be an expert in all areas of business management. Rather, he should understand how the department works and how it fits into the bigger picture. After he completes his rotation, his training supervisor or mentor evaluates his performance based on how well the trainee was able to work within the departments. Typically, the two will then decide which department is the best fit for the trainee to proceed with more focused training.
At this point, the MBA trainee will be paired with a more senior employee in the selected department. He will usually be assigned basic-level work under the supervision of both his colleague and his mentor. Trainees typically perform all of the duties of permanent employees with up to three years experience, although they are often considered to be on probation until they successfully navigate the training period.