Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Let's talk about internships.

Found by our pal Dana Khan

Now, I give these resumes I find a lot of crap for being sneaky ways to say you did data entry, and I thought i'd be interesting to start up a discussion about this. Who out there knows somebody (or is somebody) that's had an intership that's something more than fly-on-the-wall experience? What percentage of interships are really great ones, and how many of 'em are glorified data entry? Are the intereships in this resume more than I think they are? It seems to me that if they really did anything of major value, they'd be more specific about it rather than using all the vague words like they do.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not all schools use the 4.0 scale, most notably grad schools. Obviously this person is not a grad student, however it is not inconceivable to use the "/4.0." I could see some schools potentially using 4.3 or similar as their A+ mark, though I'm not sure if this happens at the university level.

4:10 PM  
Blogger whit said...

teehee. the comics make my day :)

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Skullturf Q. Beavispants said...

I did my undergraduate degree at a Canadian university (which might have changed its grading system by now) where A+ was 9.0, A was 8.0, A- was 7.0, and so on.

5:07 PM  
Blogger AHFB said...

I figured that was probably the case.

What I always though was ridiculous were the high schools that make their AP courses start at 5.0. So, like, if you got a B in the class, that give you a 4.0 or something near it.

It's not enough for it to just look good that you're in an honors or AP class, you also gotta get free grade points. If you don't wanna take the harder class, don't be so worried about your grade. Or, if you are worried about your grade, I suggest you study harder.

Skullturf: assuming you go to Michigan, when you came here did they make you take the international student orientation? (I guess this also assumes you're from Canada). I've had friends from Canada that've had to have take the same orientation courses about American customs as ESL students from overseas.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous dana khan said...

I love the "pursuing proficiency" statement, because I feel that "pursuing proficiency" can also be read as "planning to take the four semesters required by LSA."

7:25 PM  
Blogger whit said...

technically ahfb, most universities [ours included] recalculate GPA's to a 4.0 scale [or whatever scale they use]. michigan also only considers academic classes... just info from your friendly neighborhood admissions office phone girl ;)

9:21 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I don't know what you're so cynical about. I think this is a pretty impressive resume for an undergrad. I was one of those kids who had to spend summers in college working for $10 an hour because a career-advancing internship doesn't pay the rent more often than not.

Even if they were getting a lot of coffee and entering data, don't you think being in that environment rubs off on you, even a little? I'll tell you that I would have given my left arm for that opportunity.

11:03 PM  
Blogger AHFB said...

I didn't say I was cynical (about this). I posted this so we could talk about the kinds of interships that people actually get and what you've gotta do for em.

The resume is pretty good, yes.

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My little brother got an internship at Raytheon as a high school junior. Believe it or not, he's doing actual work, fixing computers, setting up networks, and other computer-related IT stuff that I don't understand. He's a senior now, and it sounds like they might just give him piles of scholarships in the hope that he might come to actually work for them every summer and after he graduates. Bleck.

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't think any of the things listed on that resume were internships, but rather, jobs during the school year. Those jobs usually don't help anyone develop many skills.

I've had a productive internship where I got to lead a real project for a major credit card company, so they DO exist! Many students in the Business and Engineering schools find internships with major companies and most find the experience meaningful and valuable. I haven't heard much about LSA internships...

1:57 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

I also use the "/4.0" because I scaled it from 9.0. Michigan (Rackham) also uses A+ 9.0, A 8.0, A- 7.0...

However, it is EECS policy to not give out A+s, explain that one.

11:40 AM  
Blogger AHFB said...

/is now caught up with the rest of the world in how it does GPA.

Also, I'm not trying to say that fly-on-the-wall experience isn't valuable, I'm just curious if thats the kind of experience that most internships offer.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous dana khan said...

I think LSA and Business-based internships are mostly for networking. I'm not saying that there aren't valuable things to learn (patience, how to get yourself through a boring day of filing, etc.), but most of what you're doing is learning how a company works. As a B-school intern, you won't be consulting. As a polisci intern, you won't be doing complex political analysis for clients on Capitol Hill.

I'd say engineering internships are 50% for networking. Because most engineering work is so applied, hirers want someone with actual previous experience. Yes, there is a lot of paper filing. But a lot of internships also involve complex design with people who design for a living. Realistically, you just won't have any idea what you're doing in your first job if you haven't had non-classroom experience first.

And also, an A+ is still a 4.0, so while it looks pretty on a transcript, those in the EECS Department should not feel as if they have lost something.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Joel said...

Oh, I guess I was just saying the highest possible GPA you can get is a 8.0/9.0 if you don't do the scaling, so you might as well rather than explain it on there.

For the record, everybody I know who has done an internship in engineering has done 0 filing or coffee-getting. Yay engineers! (Well, okay, except government-contracted engineers who apparently just play roller hockey)

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think most internships that involve tech type stuff are "real" internships rather than data entry. As a freshman in engineering I was actually building and testing prototypes for an aerospace engineering invention. LS&A might be a whole different story.

Now that I'm in grad school, we all do real work at our internships.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Nirmal said...


Also, I'm a polsci major and have had "real" internships. It is possible.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Skullturf Q. Beavispants said...

I tried to post a comment here before but couldn't for some reason. In answer to your question, ahfb, I have no connection whatsoever with U of Michigan, and am still living and working in Canada. (I learned about Left Behind at the Fishbowl by reading polyglotconspiracy.net.) So your fishbowl blog has an international audience!

4:58 PM  
Blogger Kyle Mulka said...

I'd say that 90% of Engineering internships are "real". You would actually be doing what you would normally do if hired full time.

Feel free to critique my resume:

2:59 AM  

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