Imagine yourself standing inside your favourite car’s showroom a few years down the line. Irrespective of the amount of research done, friends’ opinions taken; you would take it out for a test drive before buying. And why? Because only then you would know how it feels to be driving that car.
Think of internship as the test drive for your professional career. It is the first job before first job –allows you to get your foot into the door without having to make a life time commitment while exploring the breadth and depth of a profession. An internship helps you make a better informed career choice and avoid a potential first job mishap. Isn’t that great?
In addition, an internship is an opportunity for you to apply the classroom knowledge to real world problems and develop new skills – I, for example, learnt financial modeling during my internship and it is my bread and butter today. Working under crunched timelines, with different people you barely know, on a project beyond textbook knowledge, and for a supervisor who demands only the best – these are learnings that are hard to simulate in a classroom environment and can do wonders to your self-confidence.
Networking is other major positive – it’s a small world out there and people have elephant like memories. The connections that you make and the impressions that you leave can be a big help later in life.
Lastly, an internship may obliterate the need for a job hunt all together by securing you a career with the same company. Even otherwise a good internship makes for a good resume. Recruiters love candidates with prior work experience and an internship on your resume gives you an edge above the rest.
For an organization also, to catch ‘em young through an internship program makes sense. Candidates having to prove their worth by working on a live project before getting hired – for a small sum or no money at all! Wouldn’t you love that? And candidates who join you post an internship are likely to stay longer because they are better exposed to the work, the organization, and the culture. In addition, the students bring energy, fresh ideas, and bricks and buckets of enthusiasm/passion which, if guided properly, can make a real difference.
Having mentored interns myself, in India and abroad, I know the power of a curious unconditioned mind and the value it can add. Hence I believe an internship is a win-win situation for the intern and the organization and should matter to both.
Have something to say, ask, critique or know of an internship opportunity that you would like others to know – post it right away!