Business Internships for Students

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Business internships give students practical training while still in school. These opportunities offer networking and mentorship experiences that can pay off after graduation. A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that nearly four out of five students who completed internships or co-ops thought their professionalism and work ethic improved.

Both undergraduate and graduate business programs offer internships. Students typically align their internships with their professional goals. For example, internship possibilities and duties for accounting majors differ from a business leadership-focused experience.

Use this page to find internship ideas for business majors and learn what to expect from the business internship experience.

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What to Expect From Internships for Business Majors

Organizations offer types of internships for business majors that vary by focus, location, and program length. Business internships focus on accounting, finance, international business, and marketing. Some internships offer payment, while others deliver credits.

Business internships focus on accounting, finance, international business, and marketing.

Many business internships take place over the summer. Discover business internships through university career centers, alumni networks, online databases, and word of mouth. Read on to learn more about landing a business internship that meets your needs.

Types of Internships for Business Majors

Business is a broad field with many subdisciplines. The type of internship students complete can affect the professional connections they make and the jobs they qualify for after graduation. Some concentrations require specific internships. Below, we outline internship ideas for business majors by concentration.

  • Management: A business management internship exposes students to many diverse tasks. Potential day-to-day duties may include practical experience with finance, operations, and business strategy.
  • Marketing and Sales: Marketing and sales internships may include making direct sales to consumers or other businesses, helping with marketing campaigns, and giving presentations to clients.
  • International Business: International business internships may occur in other countries. Students can develop foreign language experience and an understanding of business practices in other countries.
  • Finance: Business majors who take finance internships may help with financial modeling, statistical analysis, general accounting, and accounts receivable. A finance intern may work with a business’s finance team, depending on the organization’s size.
  • Human Resources Management: Potential human resources internship tasks include sitting in on job interviews, leading or helping create employee training workshops, and assessing resumes from job applicants.

Work Locations

Business internship work settings vary with the type of internship and area of specialization, but most occur in office environments. A finance internship may take place at a bank, investment firm, or insurance company. Potential workplaces for international business internships include tech companies, healthcare organizations, nonprofit groups, and manufacturing businesses.

Many internship programs were canceled or went remote during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the internships that happened in summer 2020, 72% took place virtually.

Some types of business internships lend themselves more to the online environment than others. Marketing or data analytics internships may include online and computer-based tasks, even with in-person internships. A people-focused internship in management or leadership may be more difficult to complete online.

Of the internships that happened in summer 2020, 72% took place virtually.

Large companies offer the chance to meet many different people, but smaller businesses may make it easier to get to know people better and take on more responsibilities.

Business interns can develop new skills and gain real-world experience to include on their resumes. They can develop friendships with coworkers, receive professional advice, and request letters of recommendation from supervisors and other mentors. Internships can help learners decide if they want to pursue a certain type of career or explore other options.

Compensation

Compensation for business internships varies by employer. Unpaid internships are common, with about 40% of interns saying they received no payment at all in 2020. Students who cannot find paid business internships often earn academic credit instead of financial payment. The number of credits students can earn depends on internship length and how many hours they work each week.

Many workers believe that all businesses should pay their interns, arguing that paid internships promote equity. Not all students can afford the privilege of taking an unpaid internship. Wealthier learners may find it easier to take unpaid internships, while individuals with fewer resources may lack the time and financial freedom to work unpaid.

Some of the best internships for business majors offer payment. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found in a 2020 survey that the hourly wage for paid interns was $20.76 — the highest it has ever been.

Students who can afford to take unpaid internships can gain new skills, make professional connections, and find mentors. The 2020 NACE survey found that 66% of 2020 interns received and accepted full-time offers.

What are business salaries?

Program Length and Timing

The length and timing of business internships vary by program. Potential lengths include one semester, one year, or a summer break. Business programs may allow learners to complete more than one internship, while others only allow one for-credit internship to count toward the degree. Full-time and part-time participation also contribute to program length.

Students completing part-time internships during the school year usually take other classes simultaneously. Full-time business internships often occur over the summer when students do not take classes, allowing interns to fully focus on their internships. Some internships do not require a set number of hours and measure progress as students complete tasks or projects.

Give yourself more time than you think you need to research companies, work on your resume and cover letters, and practice interviewing. Ask your academic advisor or internship coordinator for information about when to start the process.

Below, we explain how to find some of the best internships for business majors.

How to Find Business Internships

Students can look for business internships through career centers, alumni networks, and job boards. Individuals interested in interning with specific companies can check the organizations’ websites or contact their human resources departments.

Programs that require internships for business majors typically maintain lists of companies where students have interned in the past. In some cases, your program may have an internship coordinator who helps each enrollee match with their desired company.

See below for more internship ideas for business majors. These resources may also offer help finding business internships for non-business majors.

  • University Career Center: Students can find business internships and other career resources at their university’s career centers. Schools often feature searchable internship databases, interview preparation resources, resume assistance, and networking opportunities.
  • Alumni Network: Students can also explore unpublicized opportunities, find mentors, fand get recommendations for business internships through their schools’ alumni networks.
  • Word of Mouth: Talking to other business majors, faculty, and employers can help business majors find out about potential internships. Make sure to let people in your network know that you are looking.
  • Job Boards: Searching online job boards offers another way to find business internships. The next section includes a selection of some of the best internship databases for business majors.

Best Internship Databases for Business Majors

  • Internships.com: This searchable website includes a database of internship ideas for business majors. Learners can search by keyword and location. Internships.com also features guides to summer internships, getting the most from your internship experience, and succeeding at interviews.
  • LinkedIn: Students can find business internships and jobs on LinkedIn’s searchable database. Users can create profiles, build professional networks, and use the student job portal to find relevant opportunities.
  • Glassdoor: Business majors can receive unlimited access to Glassdoor’s resources when they sign up with a .edu email address. Glassdoor for students includes interview preparation, job and internship listings, and salary comparison information.
  • Indeed.com: Business majors can search for internships on Indeed.com. They can also find company reviews, salary information, and upload their resumes.
  • Handshake: Employers find potential interns using Handshake. Business majors can create profiles to receive personalized job and internship recommendations. The site requires a .edu email address to join.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are good internships for business majors?

    Students should consider what they want from a business internship and seek opportunities that match their goals. The best internships for business majors allow participants to gain relevant skills, put classroom knowledge into practice, and develop professional relationships.

  • Are there business internships for non-business majors?

    Yes. Some organizations offer business internships for non-business majors. Although business internships may prefer applicants who major in the field, students from other disciplines can often apply if they meet certain requirements.

  • How long are business internships?

    Business internship length varies by program. Internships for business majors can last a semester, academic year, or season. MBA programs often require summer business internships.

  • Do business interns get paid?

    Some of the best internships for business majors offer financial compensation, but not all. Business internships may offer students academic credit in exchange for their work.


Featured Image: fizkes / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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