Your students may be on vacation, but Internships. com works 24/7, offering 56,472 internship opportunities in nearly 23,000 companies in over 8,500 cities. Why not send email reminders to your students to study the Web site and start to put together a list of potential fall internships? If a student is unsure about what area to pursue, you might suggest the Internship Predictor as a helpful tool to zero in on an industry. You could encourage your students to look now by sharing the following tips from Doug Stites in the Lansing State Journal on how to search for a fall internship:
- If this is your first internship, be open to an unpaid experience: After getting one internship under your belt, you’ll be a more desirable candidate for a more competitive, paid internship that often includes more responsibility. Look into the option of earning college credit through an internship as well.
- Use your network, on and offline: Utilize your network of personal, professional and academic circles as an internship resource. They may know something that might be a good fit and if you don’t ask, you might not hear about it.
- Customize your resume and cover letter for each company: Companies expect the same level of professionalism from internship candidates as they do for any other position.
- Attend events to network with employers: Job and internship fairs through your local college offer ideal opportunities to make a positive first impression. Attend networking events and take the initiative to meet new employers and connect with professionals in your field of interest. Dress to impress, regardless if the event requires professional dress or not and bring extra copies of your resume. Students should also consider printing their own business cards, which is an affordable way to easily share contact information with recruiters if they aren’t accepting resumes at events.
As a career services professional, you could add a few of your own suggestions, including the following:
- Consider time and place: Decide how many hours you want to put into your fall internship and where you want to do your internship. If you have transportation issues, you could consider taking an internship on campus in a department that is relevant to your career interests. A virtual internship may be a good choice, allowing you to stay on campus but “work” anywhere in the country.
- Visit your campus career center either online or in person: A career center is always adding new internships to its growing list of companies. Make an appointment and find out the latest opportunities and how to apply for them. Before you come, update your resume with summer activities and cover letter to demonstrate your professionalism. Talking to other students who have taken internships could also be helpful because they might be able to recommend an internship to you.
Tags: internship preperation, internship value, internships.com, paid internship, unpaid internship
The subject of internships—paid or unpaid?—rages as the #1 controversial issue in education today as the summer internship season kicks off. Even the most respected media sources in the country are highlighting the debate. According to Time magazine, “Today an estimated one-third to one-half of the U.S.’s 1.5 million internships are without pay, a trend that has only accelerated since the 2008 financial crisis. Employers contend that they’re paying interns with experience, which can be more valuable than cash, especially in tough-to-break-into fields such as media, fashion and entertainment.” As a career services professional, it’s your job to help your students see beyond the news stories. The following reminders focus on getting the most value out of internships (whether paid or unpaid):
- Focus on the internship: A new study by Millennial Branding and Experience, Inc. reported in Metro.us shows that only half of employers have hired an intern in the past six months. While 91 percent of employers think that students should participate in an internship before they graduate, the majority of companies surveyed haven’t hired interns for full-time positions. Remind your students not to worry about getting a job offer, but to focus on learning as much as possible from their current internship, viewing the experience as a test to determine if your student wants to pursue a career in that field. Advise your students not to ask how many interns the company hires or inquire about future opportunities until the internship has a successful conclusion. Students should also avoid gossiping about interns in the news who are suing their internship sites for unpaid work or misrepresented internships. To start a conversation at work, students may want to ask questions about the job or the company or talk about sports or even the weather.
- Focus on preparation: As part of Senior Week, Ohio University Career Services is hosting an Etiquette Dinner Workshop. Although the word “Etiquette” may sound old-fashioned, it’s still in vogue to understand proper behavior. If your students have the opportunity to share a meal with employees or the internship supervisor, it’s important to know proper table manners and protocol. Refrain from drinking alcohol at work functions is a good place to start. Dress codes are another important subject. Encourage your students to wear basic or neutral colors. Males should wear dress shirts and trousers and females may wear pants suits, tailored dresses, or knee-length skirts and blouses. Better to err on the side of being too conservative until students spend enough time at their internship to observe dress policy. Students should research their internship company thoroughly, using Google or talking to other students who have already interned there.
- Focus on new challenges: A successful internship will offer students the opportunity to learn new skills and new approaches to projects. Encourage your students to ask lots of questions, request more assignments, and volunteer to help out on projects. An internship is a great place to get a mentor who will explain new duties and help interns avoid errors. Mentors are key to building a good reputation. The mentor may be the internship supervisor, a seasoned employee, or a staff person who shares the same career interests or is an alum of the intern’s college. Reassure your student interns that it’s perfectly acceptable to admit ignorance at an assignment as long as they follow up with asking for help in performing the assignment. If technology issues cause undue stress for your interns, you may be able to help out by contacting the technical staff at the company and asking for assistance for your students.
- Focus on enjoying the internship: An internship may be a turning point in life, so before a student decides that the internship is boring, too difficult or too whatever, he or she should give it a chance. For example, in a recent NYT’s Sunday Review section, Kara Newman wrote about her internship years ago at a prominent New York magazine. She says that she “hated” her internship, but one of her duties was serving Scotch to the boss. Now she’s the spirits editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine. If students are unhappy in their internships, try to find out why. As a good career professional, you’ve probably thoroughly researched the site and know the internship supervisor well enough to ask him or her about the intern’s complaints. If the intern is simply miserable and wants to leave no matter what you suggest, the intern may still be able to find another internship for this summer at internships.com, the world’s largest internship site with 70,000 internships and 20,000 employers.
Tags: bogus internships, career panels, eye of the intern blog, fake internships, internships to avoid
When Gossip Girl‘s Blair Waldorf takes an internship at W in Season 4, she has her boss’s job by the next episode. But when Hannah Horvath asks for a salary at her unpaid publishing internship in the pilot episode of Girls (premiering on HBO) she gets fired. Too many of your own student interns may have discovered that the latter scenario is painfully real. TV shows are not the only medium using internships as plot devices. A script for a planned movie, called “The Internship,” follows two old-school salesmen that find themselves unemployed and attempt to reinvent themselves by taking internships at a major dot.com company. Right now your own students are searching for the perfect summer internship. They might benefit from reading about the following experiences and decide to take your wise advice on how to avoid nightmare choices:
- Bogus internship in the travel industry: A mother in England writes that her daughter applied for a summer internship with a company called European Medical Assistance through a job vacancy portal. After a phone interview she was offered a 6-week placement. The company said it would pay for flights and accommodation during the internship but she would have to pay a £400 deposit through PayPal. This would be reimbursed as part of her first month’s pay. She paid the deposit on December 16 using a Visa debit card but she has heard little from the company since, apart from a few brief emails. Her mother telephoned the company but even the emergency line goes straight to answerphone. Journalist Gill Charlton found that the company does not appear to exist. The business address is a mail-forwarding company and the company’s 24-hour “worldwide assistance centre” goes straight to answerphone. Charlton cautions that students should beware of companies advertising summer jobs on some portals. “It is easy for a fraudster to create a professional website and set up a PayPal account to acquire upfront payments for job placements.”
- Students talk internships and jobs at career panel: At Binghamton University, the Career Development Center held a series of information sessions last week to help arm students with skills and tools to become more marketable and to avoid selecting a disastrous internship. The CDC’s Experiential Education Coordinator Meg Minzel emphasized that students must decide on the field they would like to pursue. Parents, friends, professors and high school teachers are accessible outlets to begin pursuing jobs. “Start talking, start networking,” she said. According to Minzel, students should thoroughly research companies and programs before contacting organizations about internship opportunities, so that they know the positions available and companies consider them more seriously. “It’s really important to do your research and start creating your professional persona,” Minzel said. She also stressed the importance of professionalism when seeking an internship, advising students to consider their email address, voicemail and how they answer the phone in terms of appearance for possible employers.
- Eye of the Intern blog offers Intern Picks: Encourage your students to search for internships on reliable sites, such as Internships.com, which currently offers nearly 68,000 internship postings. Each week, site intern Ting-Tien Wee chooses a theme and highlights several new internships he thinks are cool/useful/interesting. Your students can access the site and apply for any of these internships. Here are a few of Ting’s top marketing internship picks of the week:
- Membership & Marketing Intern with Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is a non-profit, professional association representing over 41,000 members working in the dynamic and multi-disciplinary field of science that deals with the brain and nervous system. Help research on new potential membership segments, copy write for annual meeting and exhibits marketing, and more in this paid internship!
- Startup: Paid Summer Internship with BoardProspects in Boston, MA
Ever wanted to help market a startup company? Then this is your chance to be involved with BoardProspects, the online professional community dedicated to building better boards and committees. Help with market research, social media, analytic reports, and more in this paid internship.
- PR, Marketing, Social Media Internships with DocuHome in Santa Monica, CA
DocuHome is is the most comprehensive, easy to use home inventory product and service on the market today. Their inventory tools help people get prepared before disaster strikes their homes and has been featured on CBS News, ABC News, and more as one of the smartest new technologies to come on the market. Apply for their pr, marketing, social media internship today!
Tags: global experience, global internship, international internship
The world is your oyster, according to the old saying, and it’s never been truer in the world of internships then now. Companies are expanding in China, India, South America, and Europe, for starters, and they want interns and employees with global experience. Many colleges are offering international field trips to give their students a head start. For example, students at Lynchburg College in Virginia went on spring break in Paris, not because they were French majors but because they wanted the global experience. This could be the right summer for your students to go global. You might want to quote to them the following excerpts on costs and options from the recent New York Times article on global internships in the Business section:
- Costs: Such internships can be pricey, because air fare is generally not included, a paycheck is unlikely and it can be hard to arrange them without outside help. But they can offer a window into a different business culture, along with a chance to practice language skills and perhaps earn college credit. Stephen Keil, a sophomore majoring in international relations and minoring in French at Syracuse University, worked full time last summer to save for his fall internship with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. The university arranged the internship. Mr. Keil did research for the council’s Pompidou Group, which combats drug abuse and drug trafficking. He is considering a career in the State Department, so the experience was very useful, he said, “and my French improved greatly.”
- Options: During the school year, Syracuse students who study abroad have the option of pursuing internships in addition to taking classes, but their tuition is the same regardless. Beyond tuition, program fees (including housing) range from $5,735 to $7,500, and substantial financial aid is available, said Suzanne Shane, program director at SU Abroad. In summer, students may pursue a full-time internship for credit without taking other courses. For this option, they pay about $1,000 a credit, as well as fees ranging from $2,000 to $3,840 when lodging is part of the package.
- Location: Many students select an internship based on location, which is where Internships.com can help since it now has nearly 65,000 internships listed. Advise your students to go to the Web site and click on Summer Internships Abroad. The following excerpts may stimulate your students to explore global internships: “Summer internships abroad can give you a great adventure and potentially lead to an extremely lucrative career path. Traditional internships offer the opportunity of learning about a career, making professional contacts, and adding experience to your resume, and international internships offer all these benefits plus the chance to study a new culture and language abroad! Is there a place you’ve always wanted to see or a location abroad that you’ve already fallen in love with and want to spend a few months in? Have you been studying a language for years in school and need the chance to practice it in real-world situations? An internship abroad might be the perfect opportunity for you.”
Tags: internship trends, internships, national trends
Internships are a hot topic. Articles about internships appear daily around the world in newspapers, online publications, and blogs. Campus chat and dinner table talk often revolve around internships—where they are, who has them, how to get one, etc. Whether a person is an undergraduate, graduate student, or unemployed, internships are the lifeline to full-time employment. As a busy career professional, you have little time to keep updated, but it might be helpful to evaluate the following trends for your program:
- Post-internship positions: Companies are developing new programs to stay in touch with their interns. NASA has selected 100 of their “high-performing interns” to be inducted into the 2012 NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community. The Student Ambassadors program is part of NASA’s effort to encourage learning and education in their related fields. Referring to these fields of study as STEM (or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), NASA also provides research, teaching, and training tools for educators on their website. The agency also provides internship opportunities and scholarships for interested students. Each group of selected interns to participate in this virtual community is called a “CPohort”. As this most recent group to be selected will be the fourth in the program’s history, they will be known as “Cohort IV” and will be comprised of students from 34 states and 73 universities in the United States.
- Internship competition: The competition is getting tougher, says an article in the Kansas City Star. According to recent news reports, some employers have gotten rid of unpaid internships this year or have converted them to paid programs and are hiring fewer summer employees because they fear lawsuits regarding compensation. You can interpret that as good news because you’re more likely to be paid this summer if you land an internship. It’s also good news that employers have been put on notice that they can’t take advantage of free labor. But it puts the summertime squeeze on many students who will find fewer training positions available. As a result, they’ll lose out on entry-level workplace experience that could lead to full-time advancement. The controversy stems in part from a handful of lawsuits that have been filed over the past year by unpaid interns who alleged they were taken advantage of and should have been paid for their work. Unpaid internships became much more prevalent during the recession as companies sought to control salary and benefit costs by hiring a ready, willing and able pool of unpaid students seeking to build resumes. There are about 1.5 million interns hired every year, and more than half are unpaid positions, according to a USA Today story.
- Internship Coalitions: An adjunct professor at Northeastern University notes how Boston groups are helping students find internships, co-ops, and jobs. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are hosting a gathering of business and academic leaders to discuss the benefits and best practices of student internships. The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce also is offering Chamber Intern Connect to connect area employers with college students throughout the region. No matter the specific internship, industry, or paid vs. unpaid opportunity, Chamber members post summer internships to a high-traffic database as well as the Commonwealth’s statewide Mass Stay Here internship site. The Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX), led by BWP Connector Debi Kleiman, offers student opportunities throughout the year. With a similar mission the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC)’s Education Foundation has launched the MassTLC Internship Network as the go-to source for tech sector internships in Massachusetts.
- Internship-Partnership Innovations: Business Wire reports on a new trend of two companies joining together to offer one super-charged internship experience. Bayer MaterialScience LLC and the Pittsburgh Penguins today announced the first dual-internship program associated with the two iconic Pittsburgh names. Both Bayer and the Penguins currently have independent internship programs; however, the two Pittsburgh-based organizations have decided to team up and offer a dynamic internship experience to college students in the region. The six-month internship, focused on new media, will have the student assisting the Penguins’ Director of New Media, from June to August and then working with the social media team lead at Bayer MaterialScience LLC, from September to November. This type of internship is appropriate for college students pursuing a degree in Multimedia, Communications, Marketing, Interactive Design or a related discipline. Through innovative thinking, Bayer MaterialScience LLC and the Penguins have created a collaborative model for other organizations to give college students an opportunity to expand their experiences as they begin their careers.
Tags: internship advice, resume, revising resumes
The unemployment rate is down to 8.3%, and the number of available internships is soaring. Internships.com now has 63,235 internships in over 18,000 companies in nearly 8,000 U.S. cities. But many students are complaining that they are facing an “internless” summer even though they’ve applied for lots of internships. One student recently told this writer that he had applied for 40+ internships and didn’t even have one interview to show for his efforts. As it turned out, the problem was not only the huge volume of resumes competing for the same internships, but also the poor quality of his resume. However, as a career services professional you don’t have time to rewrite all your students’ resumes. You can refer them to Internships.com for resume samples and tips, and you might pass along the following suggestions:
- Be aware of resume screening: Your resume is probably being initially scanned by a computer that is searching for matching words between the internship posting and an applicant’s resume. Try sending out fewer resumes, but customizing each resume for the internship posting by integrating key words. For example, if the posting description says it wants “motivated, high-performance interns who have excellent communication skills and are familiar with social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter,” then you’ll add those same words into your resume. The Summary of Qualifications is the perfect location for the terms, “motivated, high-performance, excellent communication skills.” Think about adding a Skills section to incorporate “LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter” or any other required skills.
- Add achievement sub-sections: Check the section in the internship posting that describes the duties of the intern. Then, break your activities down into those achievement areas. For example, if the posting says the assignments include, “research, customer service, and business development,” you can review your job from last summer or during the school year and then divide those activities into 3 sub-sections titled, “Research achievements, Customer service achievements, and Business Development achievements.” By using this format, you demonstrate that you’ve read the internship posting, have taken the time to create a relevant document rather than a mass mailing, and are sincerely interested in the internship.
- Use distinguishing factors: Try to introduce some accomplishment or unusual activity to create a “Wow” factor that makes your resume stand out from the pile. Do you speak several languages? Studied or traveled abroad? Started any new groups on campus? Volunteered to help disadvantaged populations in the community? Launched an entrepreneurial activity, such as starting your own lawn service or babysitting business? Won any awards? Perform on any sports teams, run marathons, or play the violin or any musical instrument? Raise funds for nonprofit causes? Play in a band or write music? The same type of distinguishing factors that helped get you accepted into your school can help you get the internship you want—only now you have more of them.
- Keep it short: The current trend is a 1-page resume because each internship opening usually has lots of resumes, so you want to keep your resume short but strong. The most important item is your name in bold-face and all caps. Your contact information can go in one line. Your Summary of Qualifications should only be a few lines, emphasizing your achievements and soft skills. Start every bullet out with a dynamic verb, such as lead, manage, drive, increase, initiate, innovate, create, analyze, achieve, etc. Try to use primarily nouns and verbs in your writing, deleting all articles, such as “the, a, an.” Keep the format simple without borders or colors since such elements clutter up the resume and take up valuable space that you need to describe your activities. Remember that many resumes are read online, so colors often fade into unreadable copy. Feel comfortable giving little space or even deleting older items that go back to high school unless they’re Wow factors.
Tags: internship advice, internship dating, office romances
A memoir was released recently, detailing the romance in 1962 between President John F. Kennedy and his intern Mimi Beardsley (now Alford). According to an interview in a recent article in the NYT, she said her 18-month affair and her discretion was the era, the times. Then, Monica Lewinsky had a highly publicized affair with President Bill Clinton during her White House internship. The times may have changed, but the temptations are still there. As a career services professional, you might want to caution your students about restraining their libidos during their internships.
The following tips may help them avoid being a Mimi or Monica:
- Office romances: A no-no—unless you want to endanger that employee’s career future and you’re not concerned about your own with this company. Many companies restrict office romances—some won’t hire husband and wife teams—because they feel such a relationship distracts a productive employee from concentrating on his/her job. Students should be especially careful to reject overtures from married staff or the intern supervisor. Encourage your student interns to let you know if any untoward moves are made towards them, so hopefully you can intervene.
- Appropriate dress: First impressions are lasting, so urge your students to arrive at work in business attire. Short skirts or plunging necklines can be misread as invitations for sexual encounters. Dress conservatively at work, wearing dark skirts or trousers, white shirts, and a minimum of body jewelry. Neutral colors are always safe. You might have some funky outfits that you wear when you socialize with friends, but they might not be right for work functions. Interns often find inexpensive work outfits at local consignment or second-hand shops. Avoid tight clothing and perfume or cologne. Make-up should be minimal, and hairstyles simple.
- Appropriate behavior: Remain neutral. Don’t show any romantic inclination in the office or play favorites with your co-workers, especially with the opposite gender. Refrain from sending emails to the object of your affection or from calling him/her on your cell phone. Your co-workers will catch on even if you think you’re being discreet. Avoid secret meetings outside the office. Someone will inevitably see you and report back to the office, and the gossip will start. Also, you’ll get a reputation for being sly or underhanded, which won’t help your internship to be a success.
- Post-internship dating: Be patient. Wait until after you’ve completed your internship to develop a relationship with one of your former co-workers. Keep in mind that if you intend to turn your internship into a permanent job, you might have to find a romantic interest elsewhere or choose a different company. Students might save themselves some heartbreak if they find out more about a potential dating partner before embarking on a romantic adventure. It’s more difficult to find out about a co-worker’s background than a fellow student’s.
Tags: Fall Internships, fellowship
Students are coming to your office in droves by now since many schools have already started fall classes. You only have so many hours a day to answer a wide range of questions about internships, so it might be time to plan a Fall Internship and Fellowship Open House, which allows you to handle questions, allay concerns, and dispel rumors all at one time. Here are some tips to help you organize a successful event:
- Attendance: Invite students ranging from freshmen to graduate students and consider holding both a day session and an evening session to accommodate varying student schedules. Contact speakers and advertise the Open House on campus, using online services, faculty and student endorsements, student newspaper and fliers. Request students to sign up in advance, so you’ll know how to plan for space and light refreshments. Give students the opportunity to submit resumes in advance with the understanding that their resumes will be critiqued and then returned at the Open House.
- Content: Design your program in two parts—a general session that addresses issues relevant to all students followed by round-table discussions focusing on specific interest areas. The general session might feature several summer interns from different disciplines relating their own experiences as well as an intern supervisor from a company explaining what he/she is looking for in an intern and how internships can lead to jobs. You could cite colleagues on what fields are growing. According to Martin Kral, career services director at Western Illinois University, engineering and health care are “hot” fields.
In addition, Kral said supply chain management, accounting, finance, speech pathology, special education and bilingual education have promising futures.
- Round-table discussions: Invite students to sign up for different small groups, which could be divided by major, type of internship (virtual, year-round, paid or unpaid, etc.), experience or academic level, or geographical interests (global internships). Select former interns who have related experiences to act as moderators for each round-table discussion. You also might want to include a Career Center staff member to help guide the discussion. Provide hand-outs that are relevant to each topic, ensuring that all students receive accurate information, dispelling misconceptions.
- Mock interviews and resume critiques: Hold mock interviews in a separate session, offering several different interview styles. While some students might volunteer to participate, remember that other students would be uncomfortable. You might have a video of mock interviews that students could take home to review in the privacy of their rooms. Your own Career Center interns could handle the resume critiques or you might enlist some alumni to help, so you won’t be overwhelmed with a high volume of resumes. Take advantage of the opportunity to give the students samples of effective resumes, so they can learn how to improve their own.
- Application process: Direct students to your own Career Center Web site, where you’ll list all internships with deadlines and requirements as well as sample resumes and cover letters. Urge students to apply for numerous internships. Amber Ferguson, an intern at College Lifestyles, applied for 22 internships and only heard back from five. Let students know the upcoming dates of internship recruitment fairs on campus. Suggest students browse through Internships.com to see the wide range of internships and sign up for LinkedIn. Some universities offer mentorships, where experienced interns work with prospective interns.
Tags: Fall Internships, virtual internships
Many students are feeling the economic crunch and are working part-time to cover college costs. They worry about how they’ll be able to take fall internships with such a busy schedule. Other students, especially seniors, are concerned over getting a job upon graduation and want to take more internships this fall to add value to their academic degrees. There are also students at rural schools located far from many businesses, who want internships. The answer for all of them?
- Virtual internships: Virtual internships, which can be undertaken from anywhere with a broadband Internet connection, enable students to sample different fields while still going to classes and working. The most common virtual internships are in information technology, software development, research, sales, marketing, blogging, and social media. Companies want self-reliant, self-starters who are comfortable with web conferences, emails, and phone calls.
- Questions students should ask: How much mentoring and feedback will I receive? Who is my key point of contact and how often do we make contact? What is the type of work and what are the expectations? Will I receive payment or college credit? Will I get a letter of reference? How many hours a week are involved and for how long a period? Could I view the work of former virtual interns? You might want to direct students to read Eye of the Intern blog (July 13) on Internships.com to learn about the virtual internship experience of Jacinda Green, an incoming senior at University of Alabama.
- Pros and cons: The positive benefits usually outweigh the negatives. Students can work remotely at their own pace at any location, ranging from dorm room, to home, to local coffee shop. If the project poses too many challenges, they can seek help on campus in figuring out the problem. They don’t have to worry about transportation costs or wardrobe expenses. The downside of virtual internships is that student interns rarely meet their boss or colleagues, reducing networking opportunities. However, since more and more full-time employees or consultants work remotely, a successful virtual internship experience might be an excellent way to illustrate the ability to work independently.
- Growing volume of opportunities: If you go to Internships.com, click on Internships search, type in Marketing, and check Virtual, you’ll find over 2,000 virtual marketing internships. Here are 2 examples: Inshelf.com is looking for a qualified intern to join our marketing/advertising team. Our marketing department produces quality work for our company based out of the New York/New Jersey area, and seeks an intern who can participate in various stages of print and online marketing campaigns. Unpaid but with college credit. As a 1stGiG marketing intern, you will have the opportunity to create a customized marketing plan for your campus, while developing crucial leadership skills in an energetic and entrepreneurial environment. You will have the freedom to develop your own marketing plan, with support from 1stGiG.com! Part time and paid. This is just a tiny sample of what’s available in the booming field of virtual internships.
Tags: entrepreneur, graduates
The above is a headline from a recent New York Times article on the growing number of business school students rejecting traditional postgraduate paths like investment banking, hedge funds and consulting. It’s a trend that is accelerating in the wake of the financial crisis as Wall Street loses its luster and Silicon Valley shines with a new crop of multibillion-dollar start-ups, according to the New York Times. As a career services professional, you might want to encourage your students to explore entrepreneurship as a career path. Here are some trends to share with your students:
- Job growth: Graduates from the class of 2010 at Harvard started 30 to 40 businesses last year, a 50 percent increase from the previous year, said William A. Sahlman, a professor of entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. “The level of entrepreneurship activity here, and I presume at other schools, is up dramatically over the last two years,” said Dr. Sahlman. Since the job market is down, more and more graduates are starting their own businesses rather than settling for unemployment or part-time work in a field unrelated to their majors.
- Campus programs: Last year, budding entrepreneurs at Harvard formed the Startup Tribe, a student group. The organization, which has more than 150 members, persuaded Harvard to start the Minimum Viable Product Fund, a $50,000 fund for new start-ups. The program distributes awards of roughly $5,000 apiece to promising teams, including the nine winners announced in March. The school is also planning to open in the fall the Harvard Innovation Lab, a student center for start-ups, where founders can work with peers and Harvard’s entrepreneurs-in-residence.
- Business plan contests: Many colleges have business plan contests, which help launch entrepreneurs. Kimball Thomas got his start when he was named one of the top three winners for Harvard’s annual Business Plan Contest, which came with a $25,000 cash prize. He won the competition with an online diaper business in Brazil Baby.com.br, which was his second start-up. He and another student had first started PoolTables.com, with about $20,000 scraped together from friends and family. The venture — which taught them the basics, like how to coordinate with vendors in China and how to run an e-commerce site — was profitable in its first year, according to the New York Times report.
- Entrepreneur internships: Students can learn how start-ups work by taking internships with entrepreneurs. Start-ups are usually small operations, enabling a student intern to study all aspects from concept to launch. Students can have a hands-on opportunity to be part of a new venture without worrying about losing their own money if it doesn’t work. An internship at a start-up is also a great way to network and learn about venture capitalists and investors. Good places to search for internships at start-ups are the alumni office and the business school. Alumni who are starting new businesses would be excellent resources as well as business school professors who often act as consultants for start-ups.