Why summer internships are on the rise

The verdict is out. With the University Grants Commission (UGC) releasing guidelines for research internships and making it mandatory for all undergraduate students in recognized Indian universities to compulsorily do a research internship, the students for reasons of better employability, credits, research and industry exposure, will vouch for internships as the launchpad for real-world experience. In summer, the spate of internships is at an all-time high, a fact corroborated by both academic and industry experts.

As Sarvesh Agrawal, founder and CEO of Internshala, says, “As compared to other months, the summer internships (April to June) are more popular because students have their college vacations going on and have more time to pursue full-time internships. Some of the popular internship profiles for which summer interns are being hired include management profiles like digital marketing, business development, sales and marketing, branding, customer service, market research, finance, human resources, and operations.”

Sought after fields

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Popular engineering profiles include programming, software development, Android and iOS app development, software testing, CAD design, electrical engineering, IoT, and web and game development. Then there are the in-demand media profiles which include content writing, journalism, blogging, copywriting, social media marketing, PR, photography, and videography. More recently, graphic design, UI/UX design, teaching, and volunteering are also going up the popularity stakes.

While Management accounts for 46% of internships, in the media it is 25%, followed by Engineering at 17%, Design and Architecture accounting for 9%, Commerce at 1%, while in other areas, the numbers add up to 2%. †

Even though summer still stands as the most popular time for internships, Sarvesh explains that with opportunities available throughout the year and availability of part-time and work-from-home options, students also pursue internships across the year too.

Time span and stipend

The duration of these internships ranges from 1 to 6 months. “Students start applying for summer internship opportunities in March itself. The internships on Internshala offer an assured stipend to the interns. Even if an employer wants to offer the stipend on a performance basis, they still have to give a minimum assured stipend and then they can pay further based on the interns’ performances. This is to ensure that accountability is maintained by both the employer as well as the interns. The only unpaid internships are the ones offered by NGOs and NPOs or in niche profiles like Aircraft Design, Artificial Neural Networks, Bioinformatics, Experimental Physics, Food Processing Engineering, Library Science, Naval Architecture & Ocean Engineering etc. Employers often pay competitive stipends to their interns to attract better applications on their internship requirements,” Sarvesh says.


Mandatory part

“Internships have always been mandatory for students pursuing full-time two-year MBA programs right from when the first B-schools started in India. This has been true for engineering students as well since the AICTE mandated internships in 2017 to improve the employability of engineering graduates. Now we are seeing a trend of undergraduate students in other disciplines also seeking out internships to get a preview of working in the organizations and industries that they aspire to make a career in, and strengthen their CVs at the same time, says Ranjan Banerjee, dean BITSoM, where the founding class is amid their summer internship. “All 132 participating students have been placed for internships following 50 recruiters such as Kearney, Bain & Co, HUL, Hershey’s, Pidilite, ICICI Bank, Cisco, and MakeMyTrip among others, participating in the internship placement process. They represent a wide selection of sectors and roles – consulting and general management, banking and financial services, consumer products and FMCG, technology, startups, media and more,” Banerjee informs.

He explains that these internships at his B-school happen between April and June, spanning two months or eight weeks. “At BITSoM the internships are graded and carry credits. Many organizations extend Pre-placement Offers (PPOs) to students who perform well, so that is an additional motivation for them,” he says, pointing to the fact that institutes like BITS Pilani initiated it at the undergraduate level in the 1970s through initiatives like practice school, but now some new undergraduate institutes are also taking the lead to introduce internships formally.

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