For business students, the summer internship is a rite of passage. Call it a three-month audition, a chance for hungry novices to prove they belong. But not all internships are equal. In some firms, interns are still glorified gofers – the fill-ins who take calls and input data. In real internships, students are trained and mentored. They’re assigned demanding projects – and exposed to the right people. Even if interns don’t convert their experience into a job, they come away better equipped for the next job.
INTERNS VALUE EXPERIENCE OVER PAY
So where should students apply for the best internship? One word: Evercore. That was one finding from the 2016 “50 Best Internships” ranking released today (November 18th) by Vault, which produces market intelligence, rankings, and ratings using data collected from employers and professionals. This year, Evercore, an investment banking advisory firm, nabbed the top spot, edging out Elliott Davis Decosimo and Bain & Company. Last year’s top performer, Bates White, dropped out of Vault’s Top 50 overall – though it still placed third among the best consulting internships. At the same time, Google and Apple reigned as the most prestigious internships for both graduate and undergraduate students.
Internships have always been a hot potato among firms, where the costs aren’t always offset with an immediate return. Derek Loosvelt, Vault’s senior finance director, explained that many companies are placing more emphasis on internships, knowing they will eventually reap the rewards on the back end. “In internships, students are now more than ever looking for as much responsibility as possible. They want hands-on experience, and they want training. They want to know that they will be able to network with full-time employees. Training, mentoring, and networking have become very important. And employers are responding, making sure interns get real experience and are treated like full-time employees. This matters much more than compensation and benefits [to interns]. Also, internships are becoming more and more competitive, perhaps largely because firms are increasingly sourcing their full-time employees from their intern programs.”
Vault’s ranking is based on a survey sent to over 600 companies earlier this year. As part of the survey, interns ranked their experience using a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) according to five criteria. They include: Quality of life (culture, work-life balance, flexibility); compensation and benefits (pay and perks); interview process (requirements and number of interviews); career development (training and mentoring, quality of assignments, networking opportunity); and full-time employment prospects). These numbers are tabulated to produce an overall ranking. Vault also supplements this with a quality of life ranking along with several industry-based rankings. What’s more, interns supply responses for a separate ranking covering prestige.
EVERCORE TOPS LIST BY GIVING INTERNS LOTS OF RESPONSIBILITY
For Evercore, which jumped seven spots to become this year’s top internship program, the honor has been a long time coming shares Loosvelt. “Overall, I think Evercore has been improving little by little the past few years and now is reaping the benefits. It has name recognition and is becoming known as a congenial place to work in the often tough-to-work industry of banking.”
So what’s Evercore’s secret? For one, the firm did everything well according to interns in the survey. “Their ratings were incredibly high across the board in all five categories,” Loosvelt writes, “with the highest coming in career development opportunities (training, mentoring, networking) and full-time employment prospects. They also scored very high in quality of life (hours, work/life balance) versus most other banks.”
And these gains are part of a larger upward trend at Evercore, Loosvelt adds. “I should point out that Evercore also made a big jump in our Banking 50 this year (our annual banking rankings). I think they’ve been getting more prestigious: they’ve been working on bigger and bigger deals and improving their brand recognition as a result. And they’ve also benefited from improving the quality of life for their employees. In addition, they offer great training; interns say they learn an incredible amount on the job.”
In fact, interns and full-timers both single out the firm’s culture for what makes their experience so rewarding. “Both report working alongside great people, [which they describe as] a very understanding group of senior-level employees,” Loosvelt notes. “Junior bankers will work hard, but their time is valued. As for interns (and junior full timers alike) they are given a tremendous amount of responsibility. Deal teams are small, and interns and junior bankers get to work on live deals and work directly with seniors and, in some cases, clients. The networking opportunities and camaraderie are also lauded.”
One recent intern, in particular, cited his superiors as the reason for his internship’s success. “The people made the internship. Everyone was extremely bright, friendly, and willing to help whenever needed. The environment created thus was one that was not competitive at all, but rather extremely collaborative. The interns and full-times look out for each other, which I think is a huge key to success and enjoying your job.”
(Go to next page for overall internship ranking)
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