The Top Internships of 2024
Internships are a cornerstone of the undergraduate business experience. Vault recently revealed its 2024 Internship Rankings highlighting the top internship experiences across categories, such as most prestigious internships, best internships by industry, best internships by role, and more.
BEST OVERALL INTERNSHIP: PKF O’CONNOR DAVIES INTERNSHIP
The best overall internship of 2024 goes to accounting firm PKF O’Connor Davies, which offers comprehensive accounting and tax internship programs for students. The accounting firm was rated highly for its “extremely approachable and friendly” environment and “unlimited amount of guidance” for interns.
“I never felt stressed being a part-time worker and a full-time student,” one intern says. “The balance was great, and my advisors were always so understanding if I needed a day for school. What I really found extremely helpful is the trainings this office holds, and I have learned a lot from having specific training days on certain topics.”
Additionally, PFK O’Connor Davies was rated highly for its training and onboarding for interns.
“The training at the beginning of the internship was very thorough and set me up to succeed when it came to actually working on assignments,” one intern says. “I grew to become very comfortable with the software programs in a short amount of time. There is an unlimited amount of guidance in this firm. You can go up to anyone in the office and ask questions without feeling like you’re bothering them. The assignments I worked on challenged me but weren’t too challenging to the point where I had no idea what I was doing. The assignments were also all important and meaningful, superiors weren’t just dumping busy work on the intern’s desk.”
MOST PRESTIGIOUS INTERNSHIP: NASA
NASA came out top for Most Prestigious Internship for the third year in a row. The organization offers a variety of internship experiences in the aerospace engineering field.
NASA’s Pathways Internship Program is the only internship program at NASA that offers a direct pipeline to full-time employment at NASA upon graduation. At the start of the internship, interns create an “Individual Development Plan” that outlines assignments, training events, and learning opportunities tailored to their specific goals.
NASA was rated highly for bringing talented individuals together for its internship programs. When giving their impressions of NASA’s internship, interns said that it attracts “top minds,” that it’s “associated with brilliant people” and “you have to be a genius to work there.”
BEST CONSULTING INTERNSHIP: BATES WHITE SUMMER CONSULTANT PROGRAM
Bates White Economic Consulting ranked number one amongst consulting internships. The Washington D.C.-based consulting firm is well-known for its strong investment in professional development and building a close-knit, collaborative culture.
“Every summer consultant is assigned a formal sponsor/mentor and a peer coach,” one intern says. “You will be in a ‘mentorship pod’ with another intern who shares that sponsor and has their own peer coach. This is just one example of the numerous mentoring opportunities. The training and learning were extensive, intentional, and effectively executed to set us up for success. I felt very engaged and challenged by my assignments.”
Additionally, past interns highlighted the firm’s efforts at creating a truly diverse culture and community.
“There are multiple DE&I efforts at Bates White that feel like legitimate efforts rather than something they do for the appearance,” one intern says. “There are affinity groups for women, LGBTQ individuals, and minority groups. Their hiring is more diverse than I expected for the industry, but there is still room for improvement.”
Health Advances, a healthcare consulting group, ranked number two among consulting internships. The healthcare consulting group was rated highly for quality of life and career development.
Coming in at number three for consulting was Putnam, a leading scientific and strategic consulting company. The firm was rated highly for employment prospects, as well as diversity with respect to women.
TOP 10 OVERALL
While PKF O’Connor Davies took the top spot overall this year, many other companies made the top overall list as well—a from tech companies to construction firms.
Coming in at number two overall was Ellucian Inc., a software and technology company that builds solutions for higher education institutions. Ellucian Inc. was rated highly for its warm work culture.
“Work culture is extremely nice, people are very welcoming, there’s always someone available to solve our doubts or problems, the number of hours that I had to work was 40 hours a week, the work/life balance was extremely nice and awesome, I could look after my college work and projects even while working for the firm at the same time,” one intern says.
HITT Contracting, a national leader in contracting and construction services, ranked number three overall for its internship program. Former interns highlighted the firm’s “highly competitive” pay and mentors who have “a passion for the industry and are very welcoming when imparting that passion and knowledge to their interns.”
“Throughout my internship, my mentor was always willing to help me with any questions or concerns that I had,” one intern says. “The assignments we had to fulfill were just like the work we would have as a real assistant project manager, and the experience was just like that too. We would attend meetings, bid walkthroughs, and job site walks throughout our 10 weeks. Lastly, the networking opportunities were phenomenal. I was allowed to go to events and outings with coworkers to further my relationships with them as well as speak with clients and subcontractors when I was on my job sites.”
View the full Top 10 Overall internships here.
TOP 10 MOST PRESTIGIOUS
Coming in after NASA was Google at number two for most prestigious. The Silicon Valley-based tech company offers a wide range of internship programs from UX Design and Hardware Engineering to Legal Services and Data Science.
Past interns highlighted opportunities to learn the workings of the world’s largest search engine firsthand. Another added benefit? Google interns get the same perks as employees, including company lectures, a mentor, intern events (such as a night at the theater, rock-climbing, bowling or a cruise), and continuous training during their stay at the Googleplex.
Microsoft ranked number three most prestigious for its internship programs. The tech giant offers a number of internships in the engineering field ranging from content publishing to data & applied sciences. Interns highlighted the Microsoft’s outstanding work culture, one that is defined by entrepreneurial spirit, prizing autonomy, and creativity in problem-solving.
BEST INTERNSHIP FOR NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
College Works Painting, a company that hires more than 2,000 college students to paint more than 3,000 homes every single year, earned the top spot for networking opportunities.
The Irvine, California-based company provides college and university students a chance to run their own house-painting business—a unique opportunity to build business management and leadership skills. Past interns highlighted “pay, real-life experience, networking, professional development” as the key traits of the program.
“Every intern is given a mentor the entire way through the internship that is on call and always ready to help,” one intern says. “Every assignment I was given developed my character and my business… Lastly, when it comes to networking, I have made close friends and valuable corporate relationships all throughout the country.”
“There was extensive training that taught you how to run your business, as well as handle the stress and issues that might arise,” another intern says. “Each intern is assigned to a district manager who checks in multiple times a day to answer any questions and to help you stay motivated. There were Zoom calls every week with tips on how to do well. I earned each of my assignments and was challenged to go out and get them. If you learn from the training, then when you have to complete those assignments, you can handle any issue that arises and fix it right away. I felt very challenged in getting the clients, and I learned a lot of real-world situations in business because I was doing it hands-on.”
View the full Top 10 internships for Networking Opportunities here.
BEST INTERNSHIP FOR QUALITY OF ASSIGNMENTS
Lumsden & McCormick, an accounting firm, earned the top spot for quality of assignments. The firm offers the option of a tax internship that takes place during the spring, or an audit internship that takes place during the summer.
Past interns highlighted Lumsden & McCormick’s strong training and challenging real-world assignments.
“There were many levels of training, such as one-on-one training of preparing certain tax returns for the first time, training videos to review skills learned, and people designated to helping train the interns: pals/trainers, mentors, and coaches,” one interns says. “As a first-year intern and a sophomore, I wasn’t always assigned the most challenging assignments, but I felt like I was growing and learning nonetheless.”
View the full Top 10 internships for Quality of Assignments here.
BEST INTERNSHIP FOR OVERALL DIVERSITY
PKF O’Connor Davies, which ranked number one overall, also landed the top spot for overall diversity. The accounting and tax firm was rated highly for its diverse community, as well as its efforts to be inclusive of all employees.
“This firm strongly believes that everyone is equal and celebrates many different holidays and events,” one intern says.
“Everyone was kind and always willing to talk no matter what someone’s identity or background was,” another intern says.
View the full Top 10 internships for Overall Diversity here.
Vault surveyed more than 13,000 current and former interns from 145 internship programs and asked respondents to rate a list of top companies on how prestigious its internship is. Additionally, Vault asked respondents to rate and review their own internship experiences across six core areas: Quality of Life, Compensation & Benefits, Interview Process, Career Development, Full-Time Employment Prospects, and Diversity.
To determine an overall score for each program, the ratings were assigned relative weights based on what interns reported they value most in an internship. The overall scores are based on the following weighted formula: 30 percent career development, 20 percent employment prospects, 20 percent quality of life, 20 percent compensation, 5 percent diversity, and 5 percent interview process. Vault then compiled rankings of the top internship programs in more than 25 different areas.
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