From Intern to Full-time

As part of my duties as a UIC Liautaud Student Ambassador, I recently spoke with some 20 prospective students. The prospects asked good questions about the importance of graduate-level internships and estimated job placement rates.

Here's a summary of my response, comprised of statistics compiled by the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE), the Vault, and my own anecdotal experience.

Some fun facts --

(Source: NACE 2012 Internship & Co-Op Survey, April 1, 2012):

  • Companies are converting interns into full-time hires at an all-time high rate of 58.6%
  • Firms plan to increase their number of internships by 8.5% in 2012
  • Full-time hires who started as interns have better retention rates than people who started as outsiders (75.7% vs 66.5% respectively)

(Source: Vault blogs, November 11, 2010):

  • Candidates with internship experience are more likely to be hired
  • Candidates with internship experience typically receive higher starting compensation
  • More jobs are found through people you know (and interning expands your professional and social network) than through applying as an outsider

My anecdotal evidence --

After completing my first year as a UIC Liautaud Graduate School of Business MBA candidate, concentrating in the three areas of finance, marketing and management, I wanted to build additional professional experience, skills and achievements. Given my balanced academic and work experience, companies wanted me for their financial and/or marketing analyst.

Ultimately I chose the internship in finance, stepping in for a Senior Financial Analyst who was on maternity leave. I worked in the finance department, gaining exposure to Financial Planning & Analysis, Investor Relations, and Mergers & Acquisitions. I also met and became friends with a lot of great people in the process.

The internship market is competitive, and balancing an internship with your studies and grown-up graduate life can be demanding. Still, if you have the opportunity to do a graduate-level internship, I highly recommend that you take up the challenge to gain valuable experience, meet professionals in your target company/field and put the theory that you've studied into real-world practice. As I've found, and as the wider sampling shows, interning increases both your likelihood of being hired by the firm where you interned, as well as by other companies that see you have practical experience.

Additional References on Internships --