Before Final Summer, A Dash for Internships
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2013 02:02
With interview season for prestigious consulting firms in full swing and application deadlines drawing near, many Georgetown juniors are entrenched in the competitive scramble for summer employment.
“The entire process can be overwhelming and confusing at times. It was a whole new world for me,” Peter Prindiville (SFS ’14) said.
After weeks of meticulous preparation, Prindiville landed an interview with the consulting firm McKinsey & Company last week. He said careful preparation is key in any field, but especially when it comes to consulting, an industry whose interviews are notoriously thorough. These interviews generally revolve around a “case,” or hypothetical situation through which the candidate must work.
“My friends, who were going through it too, were very supportive even though we were sometimes applying to the same job,” Prindiville said. “We would proofread each other’s cover letters and practice interviews.”
One of those friends was Ethan Chess (COL ’14), who had a second-round interview with an investment bank in Chicago on Monday following an initial phone interview that took place over the December break. Chess, who applied to 15 internships in total, seven of which were at investment banks, had two additional interviews on Tuesday.
“It can be a bit much, but it’s nice that this happens at the beginning of the semester, so that it’s manageable with the lighter workload,” Chess said.
Chess stressed the importance of the Cawley Career Center’s help and wealth of information regarding common firms and companies. Chess, who has been preparing for months, is representative of a large part of the junior class.
“Juniors take advantage of career center services including career counseling, employment advising, mock interview preparation, workshops, networking events, pre-law advising and employer presentations,” Michael Schaub, Cawley Career Center executive director, said. “The process of applying for internships can take a lot of time and energy.”
This comes as no surprise, as internships are increasingly considered a valuable work experience.
“Employers now expect seniors to have some work experience under their belts by the time they graduate from college,” Schaub wrote in an email. “Results from the Class of 2011 Senior Survey show that 86 percent of seniors had at least one internship experience before graduation.”
As a result, juniors, worried that this summer may be their last chance, are attending various information sessions, on-campus recruiting boutiques and networking opportunities offered by the career center. This week alone, there were 13 events scheduled, with topics ranging from careers in academia to investment banking to international internships.
In addition to hosting the Hoya Career Connection system, the Career Center also participates in the iNet Internship Network, an internship-posting site built by a consortium of leading universities that share internship opportunities. The network includes Duke University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University, Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University and Georgetown.
“The network is intended to supplement the HCC and provide students with greater industry and geographical options in the internship search,” Schaub wrote.
The career center has historically seen a large amount of traffic at this time of year, when students attempt to use all available resources to improve their chances and to hone their interview skills.
In contrast to the current craze, some students have had their summer internships planned out for over a year. Several juniors have return offers from previous internships, affording them a degree of stability and background knowledge for the coming summer summer.
Amy Yang (MSB ’14) will intern for accounting firm KPMG in New York City this summer.
“I secured the internship last summer, which means that I don’t have to go through the interview process again this semester,” Yang said. “Seeing my friends who are interviewing now, I definitely feel a lot of empathy for them.”
While internships in the financial sector generally require the most notoriously in-depth interviews, students interested in other career paths are also participating in similar employment searches.
Shayna Benjamin (NHS ’14) recently found out that she would be working in a Georgetown University Hospital Intensive Care Unit. Nursing students planning on entering the clinical field after graduation seek summer “externships,” specialized positions in hospitals that provide practical training in a specific unit, such as oncology or intensive care.
“Most hospitals will only hire new graduate nurses if they’ve had some type of prior experience,” Benjamin said. “I’m hoping to improve my nursing skills … and affirm the type of nurse I always thought I would be — try to find my niche.”
Staying in Georgetown, Benjamin has the added benefit of familiarity with her surroundings and with many of her coworkers. She will sublet a house in Burleith with friends from Georgetown.