With 90 percent of its students graduating with internship experience, Penn was ranked by US News and World Report as the top university in the country at producing undergraduate interns.
The ranking — released earlier this month — was based on data provided by 692 schools and found that an average of 36.8 percent of those graduating in 2009 had internship experience. Penn was the only Ivy League school on the top 10 list.
This ranking did not surprise director of Career Services Patricia Rose.
“I think Penn attracts students who are very practical and people who are very interested in applying what they are learning and in learning things that can be applied,” Rose said.
The presence of three undergraduate pre-professional schools also leads to large numbers of students pursuing internships, she said.
The data from the College of Arts and Sciences alone is likely more on-par with other Ivy League schools, she added.
Additionally, Career Services encourages students to pursue work experience over the summer.
“Those of us in Career Services constantly urge students to try out their career goals by interning in their desired fields,” Rose said. “As more employers hire permanent employees from the ranks of their interns, it’s important to be in that group.”
In addition to providing work experience, Rose said internships are valuable in helping students determine whether a field is right for them.
“It’s far better to discover you don’t like a field during a 10-week internship, so you can re-direct your energies in the permanent job search,” Rose said.
According to College freshman Amanda Stevens, there is “definitely pre-professional pressure” at Penn.
“As a student who is interested in science, there’s pressure to do pre-med and work in labs to get professional experience,” Stevens said.
Furthermore, Stevens said the presence of pre-professional schools on both the undergraduate and graduate levels contributes to Penn’s career-oriented atmosphere.
“The graduate schools cast a big shadow,” she said.
For College and Wharton junior William Le, the pressure to find internships comes in part from peers. He added that the pressure students feel varies considerably depending on the industries they are pursuing.
“There are more finance jobs in On-Campus Recruiting than anything else, so you see the same people looking at same types of jobs and info sessions,” Le explained. “Out of that atmosphere comes natural competitiveness — lots of applicants for not a lot of jobs.”
College and Wharton junior Barbara Gao said she feels that the pressure is stronger in Wharton.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily that the school tries to impose pressure on students,” Gao said. “It’s more the nature of business.”Comments powered by Disqus
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