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internships: how much do they matter

averagejoe123

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I am currently a business economics and psychology double major at UCLA looking to get a career in either business management or law. I've been pondering this question for quite some time and was wondering what experiences you guys have had regarding internships. Honestly, do they really matter. I mean it seems like EVERYONE in both of these fields is doing them. How much job experience can you really get when you're generally hidden in the back rooms filing paper or making coffee? Hypothetically, wouldn't working as a manager at a retail store look better considering you would be in charge of hiring workers and generating revenue? I feel that one could obtain bragging rights from interning at a firm but aren't there better ways to network and prove your own worth?
 

maxnharry

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I think you can get on without one, but they really seem to help giving exposure to a field and also seem to be liked by employers as a way to try someone out without alot of risk. If you are interning in your desired field and with a firm that you'd like to join, I would consider it an extended job interview.
 

speedfreak

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First, I think having no internships / work experience when graduating, will give a really hard time when hunting for jobs. I don't know wether the situation is any differnet in the U.S., but in Europe you are pretty much fucked without any work experience. Also, at least a lot of investment banks hire out of their internship programs, so its a good way to get a foot into the door.

Having said that, i think they are also a very good way to find out whether or not like a specific job / industry and will help you find out what job you would like to do after college/uni. Key is, to not do interships where you only do meaningless paperwork and make coffee. Go for the ones, that give you tasks with responsibility, the ones where you will work closely with the professionals to get a good insight into their day-to-day business. These will be helpful to you. Any additional work expierence with responsibilities is good too, shows that you are motivated, but i would primarily focus on my target industry / jobs.
 

indy116

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Originally Posted by maxnharry
If you are interning in your desired field and with a firm that you'd like to join, I would consider it an extended job interview.

That, I think, is the major advantage to having an internship.
 

batorizer

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i work in the aviation industry. if it wasn't for my internship, i would probably be applying at any and every airport just trying to get my foot in the door. my internship exposed me to a niche in aviation that is very technical and skilled; there are only a handful of people around the world that do similar work, mostly trained by the military. and i don't have a technical degree; just a bs in aviation managment. it all depends on your situation, but an internship can definitely give you an in and help you to network with potential coworkers/bosses, or maybe meet someone who has a lead on a job you can go after.
 

spence

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Remember, most good jobs come about by networking. An internship is a great way to get to know people who you need to know...

Otherwise I agree with all of the above.

-spence
 

Connemara

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They matter very, very much. I can name a bunch of fields which essentially require AT LEAST one internship (unpaid usually
) to get anywhere.
 

Pelikan2

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I'm a law student, so I'll speak only to that field. Internships, or what are called "summer associateships," are extremely important, but they're also easy to get once you're a law student. All major firms hire from their summer programs, and if you get a summer associateship for the summer between your second and third year (which almost everyone does at schools like UCLA), then you're almost guaranteed to get an offer from that firm to return after graduation as a full-time associate.

Law firm jobs are a little harder to come by during your first year of law school, but you should still do your best to find something in the legal field – be it government, public interest, or small firm. The bigger firms you interview with during your second year will be looking for some kind of translatable experience.

As far as pre-law-school internships, they're not at all important. Law schools care about test scores, GPAs, and diversity – and that's it. I had absolutely no relevant experience when applying to law school, and it wasn't a problem.

Edit: I should add one thing about internships prior to law school. I do know some fellow students who were paralegals at firms before coming to law school, and those connections did help them land a job at the firm for next summer.
 

Dewey

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Originally Posted by averagejoe123
Would the same concept apply if you were looking to grad school?

In what field?
 

Joffrey

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Internships are very helpful. They are not absolutely necessary but they are great way to get your foot in the door of an industry you are interested in, build contacts and gain organizational skills you won't learing in class. If you have the opportunity take it.
 

Pylon

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Find out ahead of time if the company you're interning for even considers hiring interns, etc.

For example: I get a handful of interns every year. I have no job openings and won't for the forseeable future, thus none of those interns will stand a chance of working for our agency in their field. Doesn't mean I won't stop soliciting the local colleges for interns; it's nice to have help.

Will they gain some hands-on experience? Sure, but I don't know if that really will help them with their first job or not. I bagged my first job in my field out of undergrad with volunteer experience; no internships. A lot of non-profits would love to have help in certain areas from volunteers; not a bad option to consider.
 

suited

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They are very helpful, period.
 

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