Kehlin Swain, 20, is spending his summer interning at Intel in Austin, Texas. The senior at Prairie View A&M University, where he’s majoring in computer engineering, performed product testing for Intel’s hardware and communications group.
If a summer internship sounds like a tremendous benefit for a college student, it is. However, some companies that bring in interns say it’s not just a one-sided affair; they benefit also.
Internships throughout the year as well as in the summer provide college students with an array of advantages, including work experience, exposure to a professional environment, career guidance, colleagues that are veterans in the field, and, often, a way to make some money.
Computer giant Intel hires 1,500 interns annually in the U.S. and officials describe it as a win-win situation.
Headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, Intel has more than 100,000 employees in 63 countries and serves customers in more than 120 countries. Intel designs and manufactures a variety of technologies, including microprocessors and chipsets and the additional hardware, software, and related services.
“Interns work side by side with other Intel employees on key strategic projects and deliver real results,” said Paulette Hanson, Intel U.S. college manager. “They bring a fresh perspective on projects and challenges that can re-energize a team and introduce possibility thinking and risk taking.”
Hanson said the interns, who are paid, work across all of the company’s business groups and more than 30 sites in the U.S.
Interns get first-hand experience in what it is like to be a professional in their field and have the ability to translate classroom learning into workplace realities. Secondly, we assign our interns to real work that needs to be accomplished.
“The majority of our interns are in technical positions, but we do host interns in non-technical fields as well,” said Hanson. “All interns are leveraged in three key ways; first and primarily, we provide interns with an opportunity to obtain real-world/hands-on experience in their area of study. Our interns get the first-hand experience in what it is like to be a professional in their field and have the ability to translate classroom learnings into workplace realities. Secondly, we assign our interns to real work that needs to be accomplished. Interns truly deliver tangible results during their time with us; they are key contributors to the projects and/or programs they are placed within and enable us to deliver great products. Finally, we leverage our interns to influence our culture.”
Hanson added that the students come to the workforce with creative thinking, new ideas, and youthful vitality.
“We love the energy that interns bring with them into their roles, their fresh perspective, and their ability to up-skill our existing teams with the latest academic learnings in their fields,” she said.
Students benefit in various ways from spending their time as interns whether it’s in the summer or throughout the year. Hanson cited the following as among those benefits:
• Real-world work experience and validation that they are going for a degree in a field they will enjoy working in
• Understanding of what it is like to work at Intel and hopefully a confirmation that we are the place they want to grow their career
• A broad connection of professional contacts in their area of study
Asked how often internships at Intel lead to full-time jobs at the company, Hanson said it varies each year, but “approximately 40-60 percent of our college grad hires are former interns.”
The multinational beverage and food company PepsiCo is another firm that gives college students internship opportunities throughout its operation.
“PepsiCo uses interns by having them support frontline supervisors in analyzing and/or creating processes to improve loading/operating productivity and line efficiencies using the Lean Six Sigma approach,” said Marcus Williams, operations manager with PepsiCo.
Asked what PepsiCo hopes students gain from their experiences, Williams replied, “Hopefully an opportunity to work for one of the, if not the, greatest companies in the world.”
PepsiCo, which generated more than $66 billion in net revenue in 2014, is driven by a food and beverage portfolio of 22 brands that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, and Tropicana.
“PepsiCo is an ever-changing and innovated company that prides itself in developing young, promising talent into future leaders,” said Williams.
Interns are paid at PepsiCo and work at various plants and offices, with some plants bringing in three or four interns for the summer, according to Williams.
In a 2013 Business Insider article, a Goldman Sachs managing director offered the following tips to turn a summer internship into full-time employment: being a good team player and going the extra mile. Common mistakes interns make are not writing down information, forgetting the information when needed, and failing to ask enough questions so that they understand the job and company.