Internship Search Considerations: Program Structure
At this point in my career, I have had a few internships at both small and large companies. My current internship at FIS Global has had the most formal structure. All FIS interns enter a cohort of an Associate Development Program, and I was pleasantly surprised by the program offerings.
FIS’s Associate Development Program consisted of weekly webinars and a summer-long challenge, similar to FME. The webinars and the challenge were run by the People Office. There were also different events for interns or newer hires, which varied by office location. Overall, there were several benefits to this formal structure which I had not considered during my internship search, but which I would encourage my peers to think about and ask about during their search.
Development programs might be very different at other large companies, so I will just discuss the advantages I found with the program I participated in.
You can easily meet other interns—the summer-long challenge placed interns from across the country on teams of ~25, and we were given a task to complete creatively as a group. This organization made it easy to meet many other interns, and gave me more exposure to organizing a group that sits in different geographical locations—a new reality at many workplaces.
You will learn more about the company— as you will meet more interns in different departments, you can hear about the projects which they are working on. Large companies can become pretty silo-ed, so it can be easy to lose touch with the company’s mission. Hearing about how other interns are contributing will help you learn about the business, especially if there are hundreds of business lines, products and services.
You can work on something else when your workload is light—as an intern, some days there are lots to do and some days… not so much. If there is a summer-long creative project to work on, then you will have a back-up activity to think about and progress on for those days which are not as busy.
FIS’s Milwaukee office had opportunities to network with folks who were new to the company, and to better get to know other interns through the development program activities. I was pretty lucky—I had no idea that all interns became included in this program. I would encourage students looking for internships for next summer to consider the advantages which a more formal, structured, program could offer.