The Penn Internship WHAT?

Anne Marie Gercke, Associate Director

One resource in Career Services that is seemingly underutilized yet highly useful is the Penn Internship Network.  As a current student, you may be familiar with our annual pleas to fill out our Summer Surveys to tell us what you did with your summer whether it be travel, intern, take coursework, etc. We then compile extremely robust reports with the data for students to use as a point of reference for their own exploration and search. What we ALSO do, however, is ask the students who complete the surveys to indicate if they’d be willing to be an information resource for future students interested in the same type of opportunity. If they say yes, we include them in what is called the Penn Internship Network. The quickest way to find the tool (aside from clicking the hyperlink I just provided) is to type “Penn Internship Network” into the search box on our website. It’s usually the first thing that will pop up.


You only need your PennKey and password to access the database and once you do, this is what you’ll see:


Notice that you can search by multiple fields including industry, job type, major and more! Are you a freshman wondering what types of internships other freshman have gotten in the past? Use the ‘Choose Class Status’ dropdown to sort by class year! Want an internship this summer but know you need to live at home in California? Search by location! Once you select your criteria and hit search, you’ll find a list of students who have agreed to be contacts for other students interested in the same type of summer opportunity. We’ll provide their email addresses and you are more than welcome to reach out to them to do some informational interviewing. (For tips on informational interviewing, click here.) The point of this process is to learn from your peers and perhaps get better connected and acquainted with various opportunities through networking. One of the greatest perks of coming to Penn (aside from your stellar education, of course) is the personal and professional network that you will build over your four years here and beyond – and there is no time better than the present to get started! For questions on better utilizing the Penn Internship Network or anything else career-related, feel free to stop in to see us so we can help!



What to do if you receive an exploding offer?

This week marks the beginning of on-campus interviewing for internships. Each day we will host employers who will be interviewing hundreds of students every day. Inevitably, some of those students will receive pressure to accept right away. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1. “Can you let us know what your thoughts are by Friday?” If a recruiter says this, he wants you to check in and let him know where you are in your interviewing process. He may want you to say yes by that date, but notice that he has not said the offer is only good until Friday. A comment such as this is common, but it is not the same thing as an exploding offer.

2. “We can only honor this offer until February 10. If you can’t commit by then we will offer the job to someone else.” This is an exploding offer. If the employer is one you have interviewed with through on campus recruiting, they are not following our offer policy, which clearly states that offers are to remain open for one week or until February 24, whichever comes later. Feel free to push back politely. Better yet, consult with your advisor here in Career Services. We can help you strategize and decide how best to ask for more time. If you prefer, we can with your permission call the employer on your behalf.

3. For some research on exploding offers, please see Wharton Professor Adam Grant’s excellent recent post, “It’s Time to Eliminate Exploding Offers”:

Good luck with your interviews!

Is it possible to find a summer internship in June?

Believe it not, you can still find a summer internship in June. Sure, many applications deadlines have passed, and many interns have started their jobs. But take heart in the fact that Career Services is still getting internship announcements from employers and  hundreds of students finalize their summer plans in June. The internships offered to students in June are not even the dregs. As the graphic below shows, employers in a variety of industries hire their interns late.

Industries of employers who hired interns from Penn in June of 2012

An internship that’s available in June isn’t necessarily that different from those that hire earlier, but you do need adjust how you conduct your search a bit. Many of these internships are not posted on a job board (see pie chart below). Your search needs to be more proactive. You should identify employers and apply or inquire directly. You should reach out to contacts to get ideas or advice for where to look. You should follow up with employers you previously applied to. You should apply to lots of internships but also take care to send high-quality, tailored applications. (See the internships page for more guidance on any of this.)

Method of obtaining internship for Penn students who got their offers in June of 2012


Also, Career Services is here for you. If you are looking for something to do this summer, I’d encourage you to make an appointment to talk with a Career Services advisor soon. We can review your strategy, make an action plan, and also identify alternative ways to have a productive summer break. We can help you research employers in your field and point you to helpful alumni and other students. We can coach you on contacting employers to follow up on applications you already submitted. We can, of course, critique your resume and cover letters, do a practice interview, and offer feedback on your networking spiel. Come see us!