Networking is key to career success. One thing that I wish I did more earlier on during my time in Washington D.C. is networked with UM alums outside any arranged meetings or events. During the last few weeks, I met with 4 alumni within the span of 2 weeks simply by reaching out on LinkedIn and asking to meet or take a call. I was amazed at how easy it was to set these meetings up and what they could provide. I found that the more time that was put in, learning and discovering what each alumnus was up to so that you could quickly engage their attention and show competency in their field went a long way. This led in some cases to a follow-up introduction with another alumnus in my field. It was more than just getting a LinkedIn connection, but rather understanding a high-level overview of their career path, and what they had learned along the way. It seems to me that this is the easiest way to shape a career plan without actually working in the field because you are able to use the information from those talked to integrate a more intelligent trajectory.
So with this experience I would recommend that anyone who is going into an internship experience in a new city take the time to learn which alumni who are in your field of study are in that city so that you can learn about their career, and more importantly, the trend they see in their industry from spending so much time there. They are willing to help if you ask!
One final quick tip I got from an alumnus that I met in D.C. was that it is important as a student to broaden your ecosystem to more than, in my case, the students and alumni energy from Michigan, but focus on the energy ecosystems at the top 20 or so school. Do research into what each of them excels at. Many have resources that Michigan does not, and vice-versa due to faculty or location.