Have Post Grad Internships Become An Entry Level Position?
Students often hear college advisors reiterate the importance of internships during the course of a college education, but what about post graduation internships? With the recent upswing in students pursuing this option, have post grad internships become the new entry level job? According to Bill Morgan, Career Services Coordinator at Michigan State University, the answer depends on more than just the economy. It includes aspects such as what the student is studying.
“Many engineering and business majors do their internship the summer of their junior year and then start a full time job, often with the internship employer, right after they graduate. Other students may still be looking for employment after graduation and may be open to the possibility of an internship,” says Morgan. He also argued that students cannot look at the job market as a whole, but as an assortment of distinct fields.
“Some fields use unpaid internships as stepping stones for finding new employees, so the post graduation internship acts as both a ‘trial’ period for the student and the employer as well as a networking opportunity for the student to connect with people and organizations from within an industry.” According to Morgan, internships are more likely to lead to a job offer for students in fields such as accounting, finance and engineering, while in other fields, more is dependent on the company’s current hiring needs. Morgan says that in a majority of cases, the internship doesn’t lead to the job offer, but it does give the intern a number of inside contacts, better positioning them to seek employment in their field.
“I think students who are successful in transitioning from college to career are those who work hard at it over their entire college career. Waiting until senior year to start thinking about post college jobs, whether paid or unpaid, is the hard way to enter the workforce.”
Seeking out an example of a successful post grad internship, I found Alanna Thiede, a journalism major from Michigan State University. During the final year of her undergrad, Thiede decided to pursue a post grad internship rather than an entry level position.
“I wanted to get experience in a different job, different city and different workplace before I committed to a long-term job,” says Thiede. There are several reasons for the upswing in post grad internships, and students pursue this option for various reasons.
“Some of my peers are at an internship before grad school and some are hoping it leads to a job within the company. I think it's commonly accepted as a viable option to take an internship, so many people were looking for both jobs and internships but found that jobs were more scarce.” By pursuing a post grad internship, Thiede was able to work at a more prestigious newspaper, in this case the Wisconsin State Journal, than if she had gone straight to a job.
“Even if it does not lead to a job with the company, it is certainly better experience on your resume than being unemployed or working at a minimum wage job.” Thiede recently accepted a position as a copy editor and page designer at GateHouse Media.