What’s an internship? Do I need one?

What’s an internship? Do I need one? Does an internship guarantee me a job? If I don’t have one, will I have to settle for a job I don’t like?  This post reveals all. I have interviewed a whole host of people: student recruiters, grads who previously interned as well as careers consultants. 

How would you define an internship?

Internships are periods of work experience that are usually between 3 – 8 weeks. Most take place during summer however, a few companies offer off-cycle internships during term and Christmas holidays. A large majority of internships are for penultimate year students, whilst a few exist for first year students. Most are paid, whilst some of them aren’t, so be sure to check when you apply. I spoke to a few interns from last year to give their definition of an internship.

“An internship is like a trial run, you get to try out the firm and they get to have an extended interview with you.” 

“Internships are pro-longed work experience placements. The only difference is you’re given real responsibility and the onus is on you to complete your work.”

Do I need an internship to get a graduate job?

“It often depends on the company. Most graduate jobs recruit students who have internship experience and those that don’t. However, some firms, like Santander, have started recruiting graduates solely from their intern intake –  it is definitely something you want to look at if there’s a company you really want to work for after university.”

“The simple answer is no – you can get a graduate job without an internship. However, completing an internship can help boost your prospects – you have more experience on your CV, an understanding of how to behave in a corporate environment as well as a deeper network. An internship will aid you in getting a graduate job.”

Besides experience, what did you gain from your internship?

“I made lots of new contacts, both friends and senior staff members who I can learn from. Most importantly I received confirmation that this was the correct job area for me – I also received an offer to work there.”

“For me, the biggest thing I took away was that investment banking wasn’t for me. I often tell students to try and seek work experience in their preferred area of work before they graduate, because then nothing will really shock you.”

“The addition to my skill set was one of the biggest benefits of my internship – I learnt to present to directors and clients, use Microsoft Excel and also learn how to competently work in a team. I’m certain these skills will stay with me during my whole career.”

How did doing an internship help the transition to a professional after you graduated?

“As a graduate, it can be quite daunting having to wear a suit to the office for 8:30 every morning. It taught me the routine of working in the corporate world which helped me understand how to utilise my spare time when I started working.” 

“The experience really helped me understand what was expected of a young professional in the workplace – it helped me learn how to email professionally, how to act in meetings and also how to carry myself in a professional setting.” 

“My internship enabled me to stand out during the first few weeks of the graduate scheme, this helped me when staying on after the scheme finished. Completing an internship teaches you skills not all graduates have, so make sure you utilise these to further excel your career.” 

I hope this post helps ease some of your worries about internships and makes you realize they’re very useful in developing your career. Stay tuned for our first internship diary later this week! 

Till next time, 


Author Profile

Hizzer Ramzan
Hizzer RamzanEY
Hizzer is an Economics graduate from York. During his time at York he was President of the Economics Society and ambassador for the careers department. After interning with the Corporate Finance Strategy team in 2018 he will be returning to EY in September 2019 to join the Leeds Transactions Services team.

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