It's increasingly important in today's tough job market to get real-world experience on your resume.
A good internship gives you a chance to get the skills you need, form connections with future employers, and sometimes make a pretty good salary.
Vault, a career intelligence and data company, surveyed thousands of current and former interns on a variety of aspects of their experience, including quality of life, compensation, the interview process, development, and the prospects for getting hired full time. Those scores were combined to rank the top internship programs in America.
Here are Vault's top 15 companies to intern for:
1. BP America, Inc.
Located in Houston, Tex., the oil company wasn't ranked last year but shot to the top this year. It offers paid internships to undergraduates, business school students, and law students. Interns get the chance to work alongside a variety of professionals, from geologists and engineers to business-side executives, throughout the United States.
2. Bain & Company
The prominent Boston-based consulting firm was ranked in first place last year. It offers paid internships to college juniors, business school students, and law students, as well as some other advanced-degree candidates. According to the company, "the learning curve is steep, but exhilarating," and the majority of Bain interns are hired to work there full time.
3. Bates White Economic Consulting
This D.C. firm focuses on conducting "advanced economic, financial, and econometric analysis" for companies and offers 10 to 20 college juniors a chance to take part in an "intensive" 10-week summer consultant program. There's extensive training and mentoring, and the opportunity, for some, to work at the company's San Diego office.
4. Elliott Davis, LLC
Elliott Davis is among the largest consulting, accounting, and tax services firms in the Southeast, headquartered in Greenville, S.C. It hires between 21 and 50 interns (the salary was $22 an hour last year), which includes positions for incoming college seniors, recent graduates, and graduate students.
5. Evercore Partners
Coming in fourth in last year's rankings, the New York-based investment bank has a very high internship-to-job transition record. According to the firm, every analyst in its summer program over the last three years who got an offer accepted. It offers a 10-week paid internship to undergraduates and MBAs focusing on strategic advisory, and mergers and acquisitions.
6. Northwestern Mutual
The Milwaukee-based financial services and insurance company came in second last year, and offers more than 100 paid or stipended internships to undergraduates, recent grads, and law and business school graduate students. Interns must pass a state licensing exam, but can earn commissions, since they can contact clients directly. Some 33% of interns get an offer after graduation.
7. Plante Moran
The Southfield, Mich.-based audit and tax firm has been one of Fortune's 100 best companies to work for every year for the past 15 years. It offers more than 100 internships each year to undergraduates, law and business graduate students, and other advanced degree-seekers in each of its six Midwestern offices.
8. Houlihan Lokey
The Manhattan-based investment bank offers between 50 and 100 paid internships to undergraduates and business school students. The 10-week program offers extensive training and hands-on experience alongside full-time staff on a deal team.
9. The Boston Consulting Group
Last year, the company was ranked No. 5. Interns are full members of a "case-team" working for a client, with a similar work profile to what they could expect as a full consultant. The 10-week internships are offered throughout the company's global offices, not just at its Boston headquarters, to incoming college seniors and business school students.
10. Capital Fellows Programs
This program is a public policy fellowship that each year offers 64 college graduates the chance to get experience in California state government. They work as full-time staff for 10 to 11 months in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches of government. There is a monthly stipend, benefits, and student loan deferment.
11. Emma Bowen Foundation Internship Program
The foundation offers paid internships at media companies to incoming and rising minority college freshmen throughout the United States. Students can continue to participate each year until they graduate from college.
12. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
PwC is one of the "big four" audit, tax, and business services companies, and is based in New York City. The company offers paid internships to undergraduates and law and business school graduate students, with an emphasis on training, interacting with staff, and working on client tasks.
Another of the "big four," it came in at No. 8 in last year's rankings. The company offers paid internships to senior undergraduates and law and business school students. Interns get technical training relevant to the particular part of Deloitte they'll be working for, as well as real client service tasks.
14. Nickelodeon Animation Studio
People seem to love the opportunity to work in children's entertainment. This internship was ranked at No. 7 last year. Burbank, Calif.-based "Nickterns" are paid or can earn academic credit, and are undergraduates and business and law school students. Perks include the opportunity to take animation tests and watch movie screenings on the Paramount lot.
15. Capital One
The Richmond, Va.-based insurer was ranked sixth last year. It offers paid analyst, brand, finance, and IT internships to college juniors. At the end of the internship, there's an opportunity to present the results of the summer of work to the senior leadership team of your department.
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