Industry Internship Survey Results

December 1, 2006

activity breakdown
Types of internships
Internship compensation breakdown
Summer internships by major

More than 330 Duke engineering students took part in a survey on summer internships earlier this fall. According to the survey results, more than 61% of students who completed an internship reported their experience as 'excellent' or 'good' and 82% received compensation for their time. At right are charts that provide detailed information on student majors, gender and types of internships.

Internships give students a chance to network with role models and potential employers and see how ideas turn into design and are then deployed. They also provide hands-on, practical experience that will help students make choices early on in their academic training that will shape their careers.

“Today's students need a solid academic foundation to succeed, but that isn't always enough," said Kirsten Shaw, assistant director of corporate and industry relations. "Students need to graduate with not only a degree, but also the technical, social and professional skills to thrive in today's high performance workplace. Experiential educational such as an internship helps makes our students more competitive during job interviews after graduation.”

The annual industry internship survey is an important tool for Pratt and Duke Career Center staff who are working to expand internship opportunities for undergraduate engineering students. Developed by Pratt's Corporate and Industry Relations office, the survey period ran from Aug. 30 through Sept. 22 and was promoted to returning sophomores, juniors and seniors.

How Connections Are Made

The survey results should also be of interest to students, as it shows just how many ways students can learn of internship and job opportunities. For example, 24 percent of survey respondents indicated they were referred to an internship by friends or family. Eleven percent were referred through Pratt's Engineering Internship Program or the Duke Career Center. Slightly more than 8 percent of respondents were referred to an internship by faculty members, 4 percent were referred by fellow students, and an additional 9 percent of respondents found internships on their own by searching the Internet.

"We have always considered internships as an important component of the engineering student's education," said Russell Holloway, associate dean for corporate & industry relations. "Those internships take on increasing importance as many companies rely on them almost exclusively to identify candidates for entry-level positions. Companies have reported as many as 8 of 10 job offers going to interns. Consequently, internships discussions are included in almost all conversations that we have with industry partners."

"It used to be that employers recruited primarily for full-time employment in the fall and recruited for internships in the spring, but we're seeing a shift in that trend," said Shaw. "Employers recognize the value of hiring students who already have some job experience and are expanding their internships offerings. So we are responding to this change with a continuous, year-round focus on internships."

In the Fall, InDuke, an industry partnership sponsored by Pratt and the Department of Computer Science, works with the Career Center to host an event called TechConnect. "The purpose of TechConnect is to offer a setting where students can interact with representatives from industry, from recruiters to line managers to VPs," said Shaw. "Our goal is to get our students networking, so this isn't a typical recruiting event. There are no corporate booths or giveaways--the focus is on mixing, mingling and face to face interaction."

This year 28 companies participated in TechConnect 2006 and more than 300 students attended. The event kicked off with an question-and-answer session between an industry panel and students, and was followed with a breakout networking session. This is the third year of the program.

"Feedback from the companies who participated was overwhelmingly positive. They loved that the event was focused on engineering and the fabulous turnout of students," said Shaw. The number of companies participating doubled this year and included representatives for careers paths for all four of Pratt's engineering departments. In addition, two financial banking firms attended.

Several times during the year Pratt and the Career Center offer "Internship planning for Engineers 101" sessions, which explains the ins and outs of preparing for interviews, provides an overview of the software used to post job/internship opportunities, and helps students understand what prospective employers are looking for.

In the early spring, Pratt and Duke jointly host a Summer Opportunities Career Fair.