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Forget Google: Here are 5 awesome internships you should know about

Once upon a time if a college student were lucky enough to score an internship, they could expect their days to be filled with menial tasks like fetching coffee, ordering office supplies and replacing the ink cartridge in the printer.  Some internships today might still come with a certain amount of drudgery but more come packed with perks like free concerts, first dibs on company products. And, even better, some pay more than minimum wage.

But perhaps the best thing an intern can get out of a summer stint is an actual job. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), of the 65.4% of students that held internships in 2015, over 55% received at least one full-time job offer upon graduating. What better perk than being first in line for a job?

We’ve all heard how great the internships are at companies like Google. If you land a spot in one of their programs, you could be bringing home around $6,000 a month. But considering just 3.75% of intern applicants at Google actually get hired, your chances are pretty low.

Regardless of your chosen field, there’s no doubt internships are a key factor in obtaining employment after you graduate. In 2015, the conversion rate from intern to employee was 51.7%. Here’s a list of some of the latest and greatest internships you should know about. Some pay really well, some have sweet perks and some have both.

MICROSOFT

We can’t deny that one of the biggest perks at Microsoft is that interns get paid an average salary of around $6,000 a month. But they don’t make it easy to get in the door. Microsoft recruiters host events on college campuses across the country. If you stand out, they offer you an on-campus interview. Once you ace that, they fly you to one of their offices for interview number two. If your school isn’t one of their campus stops, you can apply online here.

Unless you live close to one of the company’s offices, accepting an internship here might come with a big move. Worried about moving expenses? Don’t fret - they make sure to cover all of your moving costs or give you a stipend to help get you settled.

After you start your internship is when the real work - and fun - begins. Arush Shankar, a software engineer Intern in 2015, says there is a perfect balance at Microsoft between fun work and challenging work.

“I was making a lot of design decisions on my own as my team began to trust me with more work,” he says in his blog post about his experience.

Last but not least, is the Microsoft Intern Signature Event. Let’s just say this is like a day trip to a huge carnival. Last year’s event consisted of a David Blaine magic show topped off with a Maroon 5 concert. Then everyone went home with a free Xbox.

NICKELODEON

Even if as a kid you didn’t wake up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons, Nickelodeon’s internship program, located in Burbank, Calif., might be for you.

It was voted No. 1 on Vault’s 2016 list of “Best media and telecommunication internships,” and although the options vary by semester, you could be working in any department from finance to animation development. And forget about the typical “intern” title, If you’re able to land a gig here you will be known as a “NICKtern.”

The hiring process begins online with specific deadlines you need to meet in order to be considered for a position. Some would think the biggest perk at Nickelodeon is simply being a part of such a fun environment. But the company offers much more. During the 10-week program, NICKterns attend executive lunches as well as workshops and classes. Topics cover everything from how to pitch a show to how to present your portfolio.

Social activities include day trips to production studios and free exclusive movie screenings at Paramount Pictures.  

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES

The ultimate perk of flying standby on any domestic flight for free and pay ranging from $12 to $17 an hour, might have you screaming “sign me up!” Just know that Southwest’s internship program, recently renamed Campus Reach, is highly competitive.

According to the Campus Reach homepage, in 2015 there were over 14,000 resumes submitted for the program and only 311 interns were hired. There is also a GPA requirement of 2.5 or higher, depending on the job.

Once you’re hired, your projects may consist of assisting with ad campaign photo shoots to writing articles for the inflight magazine. Regardless of where you’re placed as an intern, Campus Reach offers opportunities to let you explore other departments that may be of interest.

SIX FLAGS

Yes, Six Flags – the theme park – has some great internship opportunities and applying is relatively easy. Once you email your resume to their HR department, a representative will call you to set up an interview. But check out their internship overview page to make sure you meet all the requirements.

From there, depending on a few variables like where you live and what you apply for, you can be placed at one of their 18 parks across North America. If you’re wondering what you could possibly be doing while interning there, Six Flags gives you the chance to try out a variety of fields, including marketing, zoology and law enforcement.

Waiting to hear about the perks? Well, along with working at a theme park while your friends are stuck in class, on your days off you also get free admission and some extra passes for family and friends. If that’s not enough, the company also hosts employee-only ride nights so you can skip the lines.  

IPG MEDIABRANDS

Ever wonder about the marketing geniuses behind brands like Coca-Cola, Victoria’s Secret and BMW? It’s IPG Mediabrands, a media agency headquartered in New York City.

IPG's internship program is called The Residency. Along with competitive pay, being able to do your work while sitting on a bean bag and choosing which neon color office you like best, interns here get a unique one-on-one experience; the mentorship program is a key factor in creating an inclusive environment.  

You may even get a chance to have a lunch date with the company's Global CEO, Henry Tajer or a speed mentoring session with other senior executives.

If you excel throughout the program you will have the opportunity to be a part of the so-called Elite Batch, which means that your last day will come with a full-time job offer. Other perks include an in-house beer garden and company happy hours.

Did you have an unforgettable internship experience at a company? Tell us about it at yfmoneymailbag@yahoo.com.