A Hot Summer Intern Market For Business Undergrads


The automotive industry is another sector to which students are flocking, drawn to internships at places like Hundai, Tesla and Porsche, which are more aggressively recruiting Goizueta undegraduates, she said. “Automotive is not a place we’ve ever had kids, so even having a couple is a big change,” she said. With Mercedes Benz soon to build a 12-acre headquarter campus in Atlanta and Porsche’s recent unveiling of its new flashy $100 million headquarters at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Brown expects that trend to continue. “I think automotive is going to be very big for us next year,” she said.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School doesn’t collect pay data on undergraduate internships until later in the summer, but Barbara Hewitt, the school’s senior associate director of career services, said she expects average hourly pay for interns will be up this year, as full-time pay went up “pretty substantially” at banks this year.

The number of recruiters who visited the Wharton campus this spring to hire undergraduate interns was down eight percent this year, and there were ten percent fewer interviews held on campus, Hewitt said. That doesn’t mean that fewer students were hired, but rather that companies have been targeting them earlier in the year through different avenues, such as student clubs or other off-campus events, she said. The school plans to respond by letting recruiters come on campus in the fall — rather than the spring – and, and will do that for the first time in the fall of 2016, Hewitt said.


Lisa Burton of Texas A&M

Lisa Burton of Texas A&M

Some schools are reporting that companies are sweetening the deal for prospective interns with signing bonuses. Lisa Burton, the senior career coordinator at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, said internship pay for rising seniors tends to range from $19 to $25 an hour. Increasingly, some companies that recruit students from her school are now tacking on a $500 signing bonus to the offers. “It is not the norm, but we are seeing more of that in general,” she said. “It’s usually a company that has a highly sought-after prospect and wants to add the incentive to take that student off the market,” she said.

On the more extreme end, Goizueta’s Brown said she has seen signing bonuses this year for interns range from $1,000 to $15,000 on the top end, she said. “There are definitely more of them now. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I’ve never seen someone get an internship signing bonus for $15,000, she said. “I haven’t seen that many, period.”

In the midst of this competitive hiring landscape, career services officers are already grappling with how to best prepare next year’s junior class for the internship recruiting season, which will start in many cases almost as soon as they set on campus, if not before. Complicating matters, recruiter from big banks to small startups are now setting their sights on sophomores, and even freshmen for internship hiring, hoping to build their brand with students early on, career services officers said.


Eric Zawada, the training and recruitment manager at demandDrive, a Waltham, Mass.-based firm that develops sales and marketing programs for technology companies, recently hired a Bentley student who just finished his freshman year as a summer intern. He expects that the company will continue to recruit freshmen and sophomores, a move that will give the company an edge a few years down the line when they look to fill full-time openings.

“It is a great way to get in with some of the younger talent,” Zawada said. “If we open ourselves up to it, it just expands the net for us to find the talent we are looking for.”
At Wharton, large investments banks such as Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank are targeting freshman and sophomores with informal “coffee chats” held through the school’s undergraduate finance club. In addition, several banks held information sessions in the spring for freshman and sophomores – not to hire them – but to get the companies on their radar, said Wharton’s Hewitt.

“It seems early to me, especially targeting freshmen,” she said. “But it’s an arms race out there as far as people getting out there to identify the best talent and scooping them up early.”

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.