The significance of Internships; & what are they anyway?

Defined as the hope of gaining an advantage for the future employment, Internship is an exceptional mechanism to ‘blind date’ a certain career before (or after) graduation. It enhances the nature of the Intern by exploiting his/ her comfort zone where he had been ecstatic since kindergarten, allows the one to devastate with his office blunders and rise back with the learning and fixing, and gives the emotional highs and break-outs to professionally mature and make Intern a better candidate in the Labour Market of this brutal economy.

Source: Forbes.com 16–11–2016

Other than maturity grooming and risk taking abilities, Internship is also a reference itself to land candidate for a better job. From getting paid at Google with an average salary of $5,678, and extricating student’s leadership confidence at AIESEC, to not getting paid at all and getting endorsed globally under the leaders at United Nations. It is an added benefit to our résumé and our professional puberty.

Résumés with paid or unpaid internships get graduates a better chance at landing a full-time position,’ says Melissa Banca, Director of Career Services at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC, ‘or at least making some contacts and building their professional reputation.’

Internship Achievement Unlocked!

A survey conducted by National Association of Colleges & Employees (NACE) affirms that graduates with internship experience are likely to have their first job with the median salary of $45,301, nearly 3% more than $34,601 by those with no internship experience.

Why do an undergrad or grad student invests his/ her time on such thing?

  • An opportunity to ‘test driving’ your career at the head-start (choose working with the desired field or the department which brings glow to your instagram pictures.)
  • Communication network enhancement (Linkedin connection request? Facilitation of transitioning from one job to another.)
  • Establishing relationships with mentors (getting a job reference)
  • Internship also count as possible college credit/ certification in institutes like University of Virginia and University of Texas Austin.
  • Availing the expertise of dealing with clients (would they mind if i tell them that their brand is technically so bizarre? No.)
  • Getting the practical perspective of an occupation and posture to work along the economic market, which helps their decision making process on the career of choice. (dad, shall I go for banking or marketing?)
  • And the most of all, learning what you want to learn and what you endeavour to achieve. It’s all about you, and how solemn you take it.

And when one has sustained his internship, he might suggest other numerous benefits as well despite of merely getting a lousy T-Shirt and a certificate in the end. But hey, the country is free, but is this all is? Absolutely not.

What do you think that you pay in benefit to avail this? Well.

Interns with Benefits

A talented intern serving his boss exceptionally to make an impact on this industry and become a fabulous apt for a corporate job.

Recruiting interns, regardless of asking to fetch a coffee, could mean:

  • Utterly motivated pre-professionals to assist with events and work
  • Fresh ideas injecting in department
  • Cost effective solutions for short-term projects (appointing interns for assistance and management tasks)

No seriously, what’s in hiring you for employers? Employees do not create internships just to be nice to students and others interested in a certain career. Companies content their needs by paying interns less or not paying them at all. Their professional needs, like:
Present satisfaction: deploying interns’ services without creating a hiring commitment. 
Future cliche: hiring full-time employees from your interns who worked out well.

Intern, or an Internee?

As Melissa Banca divulges the nerve spot where corporate firms are appealed to hire interns, she says, ‘In this economic downturn, employers are relying increasingly on the interns to shove up the areas where full-time hiring is cut.
The pubertal state of current economy is also changing the nature of interns’ jobs. ‘Given this economic climate, companies lack enough budget for the entry-level hires they actually desire, so they’re trying candidates as interns and looking to hire them later,’ claims Adeola Ogunwala (Director of Marketing & PR at CollegeGrad.com).

Internships are indeed the win-win ticket for both, intern and the employee. In fact, in this fierce market, 51% of employers are now focusing on relevant internship experience to find the best fit for their companies. According to Forbes.com, 81% of employers have found that new hires with relevant internship experience are better prepared than those without internships. “Internships allow us to connect with and build relationships with students early in their academic careers,” sugars Mary Anne McNulty, Manager of Staffing and College Relations, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “This builds a pool of candidates who have work experience with us and who have forged relationships with our managers.

But are you serving these perks to them only for the sake of experience? Of course, absolutely. Do you get paid for this? Well, maybe.

Batman Vs. Superman, the Wrath of the Labour Market.

Do you feel alien when you’re left unpaid for your internship and rich when your bank receives your stipend?

This society likes to differentiate, I belong to them. Paid versus Unpaid Internships?

My ally, Kristen Sebastian, (Columbia School of International and Public Affairs ’17) who virtuously interned herself at United Nations Development Programme and UN Department of Economic & Social Affairs lately, commends, ‘Having UN experience on my résumé serves the professional honor.’ I heard it’s too much work? ‘We were informed upon the interviews about the bombarding of turbulent work at UN… and we took the challenge well.’ Hard hiring chances for a grad-student, or anyone? ‘Certainly, although selection rates are not very low but the competition is high. But if you’re brilliant in your field you’re right there. Personally I had applied to 7 positions, out of which 6 contacted me (including UN’s headquarters).’ Whoa!
And yet UN kept you unpaid. Bothers, doesn’t it? ‘Pretty much,Sebastian laughs, ‘of course this is not a great news, but it allows UN to provide much more positions than it would be able to if internships were paid.’ Oops, sounds like a major benefit to the organization to me.

It gets even hazier when interns work for profit-driven companies. The US Department of Labor lists six guidelines (click at the bold link) that profit-driven companies need to follow. If they don’t, their unpaid internships are illegal.

After I graduated A’Levels, I soughted my first internship as a student at AIESEC, an international student-run organization, which discusses major world issues that are inconspicuous to people’s knowledge. Thus it allows its members to develop soft skills through leadership and internships, for their personal development. For application, I filled a form with little essays, got called at the local university and was taken as an associate. And i only paid about a dollar ($1) for this job. Aww! Or did I? Oouh.

Benefiting more to employers is the reason that unpaid internships are controversial. Although remuneration is at the discretion of the companies offering the internships; employers should recognise that a small salary or wage is likely to generate more interest among the interns.

How does AIESEC reward its members? ‘Ability to express oneself and decision making’ says Adriana Villar (President AIESEC US), ‘this organization reaches young individuals around the world, evolve the way they deliver experiences and makes sure that our Leadership Development Model is the core of our decision making’. And this matters more than the wages? ‘Definitely. The experience to make friends around the world, travel the globe and gaining a self confidence to do anything ahead is the key to change your undergrad life.’
This explains the unpaid benefits.

From an Unpaid Intern, to a Happy Professional: The Myth or Willy Wonka?

Accepting unpaid opportunities would only mean sacrificing your three months to 2 years worth of pay,’ Veronica M. Glab (Financial Diet Journalist) censures the economic wrath. ‘I weighed the risk of incurring death against the opportunity to build my professional network in the framework of an internship, and ultimately, the financial stability prevailed.’

Considering unpaid internship a risky investment with rare possible chances of intangible benefits, Veronica suggests that it only ‘expense out’ your pockets. ‘Unpaid internships, which serves quite like the skillful trainings at educational institutions, can cost an intern a median of $52,498 in cities like NYC and LA.’ Well, it’s the same for the paid interns right?

Kenneth Tsang (Research Associate at NACE) tells that in past 3 years, the paid interns’ wages have stagnated despite the economic recovery. ‘When you adjust for inflation, this year’s (2016) rate is 72 cents per hour for an intern, less than it was seven years ago,’ Tsang says, ‘Interns aren’t really getting paid anything.’

Veronica, anyway, broke down the figure of $52,498 to the intern’s annually incurring expenses. This included their university tuition, rent and utilities, transportation, food, medical and 40 hours a week during which one can not earn any proper salary. Ooouh!!!

Apart from the tuition fee (of US median from $37,229 to $46,272), and medical, the most expensive cost for an american student living in metropolitan area is ‘housing’. Okay, half of the employers do offer a housing stipend but this still doesn’t cover the reported average of $3,500, New York University dorms at the cheapest of $150 — $195 a week, or Columbia University’s dorms, for the 13–15 week internship sessions, $3,403 plus a non-refundable application fee. What are interns getting, again?

I must clarify that I do not discourage the unpaid internships. Instead i would really like to invigorate the ability of graduates to choose for what is really that they should do. The remuneration, in terms of either material or intangible, should be rewarded for the valuable work you do, and the time you spend. Are you really this free?

Hard work deserves a fair pay.’ Veronica recommends.

A survey conducted by Columbia University’s Teacher College claims: Relatively, paid internships provide interns with better experience and an urge to work remarkably better as opposed to the unpaid ones.

If you’re rich, or highly stuffed with motivation, and all about experience, getting a paid or an unpaid internship wouldn’t matter at all. You only mean to get your feet wet and find out if a specific field is something you could see yourself doing as a full-time job. But again, what if you don’t like your field’s job in the first internship?

Internship, in the Air

Relax, internships are not engagements or weddings. Treat it just like a date, if you’re not too religious. Graduates should try out several different internships to be able to sense their ‘thunder’ in a particular career field. But not too much since labor is expensive and the economic market is competitive, find a job in your chosen field early. ‘Fifteen is ridiculous,’ says Lauren Berger, the self-titled ‘Intern Queen’, who completed 15 as an undergraduate at Florida State University and the University of Central Florida. ‘I would never tell students to do that many.

The Job Traveller’s Destination. And by the way, he is not a loser in the end.

The more they can learn, the better,’ says Meghan Fitzgerald (an account executive at CM Communications, Boston), ‘ a long list of internships, especially from different fields, can suggest that an applicant is professionally adrift, or indiscriminately taking on internships to appear impressive.’

Stefan Vendramin (Warwick University ’15), after graduating Economics & Politics, embarked on his advertisement trek, as it ‘excited’ him, by interning at LSU as a junior planner. ‘But then I realised that brands plan to sell their products more than to care about the customer’s actual needs.’ Losing it’s appeal he switched to another internship as a brand consultant, ‘I felt pretty unversed at digital and networking knowledge.’ So the man switched it again, and this time as an experience strategists at Sapient Nitro, where the advertising strategies prosperously flourishes his experience. ‘The work I do at Sapient feels uniquely important,’ Vendramin smiles.

Compromising your misconstrued internship field as a future job is not a smart thing to do, neither planning seven internships is. The main goal is to evaluate your decision and listen to your instincts. If you don’t like your job, complete the given period and choose an aptable spoon, since the world doesn’t end at one. But you must be a better decision maker, rather an internship-idealist, and choose between your potential and abilities.

Thanks for reading, happy internship!