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Finding the right internship

25 June 2013 By Megan Flannery, Senior Editor 2 Comments
Do big companies offer big opportunities?

I have a friend who’s spending her summer interning with J.P. Morgan in New York City. She got the internship after spending her entire spring semester networking with every possible connection she could find. She worked hard for it and definitely deserved the opportunity to work at such a well-known firm.

But this got me thinking, are big corporate internships really all their cracked up to be?

Last summer I did the corporate internship. I commuted two hours, three days a week, from my house to New York City. In and of itself, the travel time was dreadful.

When my train finally got me to the City, I would walk six blocks, hang a left, and sit in a chair for the next six hours.

I learned a lot, I made new connections, and experienced new things. Honestly, I don’t regret it.

However, I decided not to go back this year. Instead, I got an internship on the marketing team of a regional real estate company near my house.

I wasn’t expecting much out of it. But so far, I’ve learned so much more than I ever thought I would.

I’m not buying anyone coffee and I’m not doing meaningless tasks. I’m doing things that matter and are helpful.

They keep me busy, but they also keep me learning.

I feel like a valuable asset to their team, and as an intern, that’s a pretty cool feeling to have.

I think this is because I’m not a run-of-the-mill intern. Many corporate companies like NBC and Condé Nast churn out dozens of interns every semester. Maybe one out of every dozen interns will leave a lasting impression, but chances are, they won’t.

Of course, internships like NBC and Condé Nast will carry weight on your résumé.

I can’t deny that.

But sometimes, the most beneficial internships are the ones right in your own backyard. Those are the internships where you’ll get first-hand experience in your field.

Every internship is different, and maybe you’ll be that one in a dozen intern who leaves a lasting impression on the corporate ladder, but before you apply for your next internship think about what you really want.

Are you looking for a talking point on your résumé or a valuable experience?


  • Mike said:

    “Are big internships really all *they’re cracked up to be?”

  • Danielle said:

    Great post Megan!

    Internships can provide such a valuable insight into what you want and don’t want in a job. I think it is important to intern at multiple organizations to help build your resume, experience and wisdom when it comes to what you want in life. Luckily we are at a school that incorporates internship experience in many majors!

    Best of luck to everyone.

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