2016 Easter

Sewanee’s summer interns cast a global net

This summer, Sewanee students have fanned out across the nation and the globe to take up business-related internships everywhere from New York, to France, to the United Arab Emirates.

At least 50 Sewanee undergraduates are working in business-related internships this summer. The real number is certainly higher, because that estimate is based on data from the University's Office of Career & Leadership Development, the Carey Fellows business honors program and the Social Entrepreneurship Education Program (SEED) and does not include summer employment arranged directly by students.

According to a recent report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), these internships are good news for students' post-college careers. In 2015, nearly three of four interns were offered post-graduation jobs by their summer employers, according to a survey of 271 major U.S. business firms.

Among the firms where Sewanee business-oriented students are interning this summer are familiar names such as financial services giants Black Rock, OppenheimerFunds, MorganStanley, and Regions Bank.

Other students are testing the employment waters at consulting firms like Blue Canyon Partners. One intern is learning about the business of craft brewing, while others are working at healthcare consultancies, a fine arts gallery, technology firms, an up-and-coming independent record label, and even a Parisian confectionery company.

SEED interns are working this summer in Bangladesh (at the Grameen Bank), China, Indonesia (at the United Nations World Food Program), at the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, and, in the United States, at Mansfield Energy Company.

Two Class of 2017 Carey Fellows, Buckley Wallace and Tran Ly, were off campus during the Easter Semester for their required internships, and their employers (OppenheimerFunds for Wallace and Greentech Capital Advisers for Ly) asked them to extend their internships through the summer.

Despite any number of gloom-and-doom stories about unemployed college grads, almost all recent graduates do find employment. The New York Times recently reported that the current unemployment rate for four-year college gradates ages 25-34 was 2.4 percent.

Of course, as the Times noted, some of these post-college jobs might not be considered "good" jobs. Internships are an excellent way to improve the odds of graduating from college into the sort of job that really uses the knowledge and skills that are the hallmark of undergraduate education.

Examples are easy to find of how helpful internships can be to opening employment opportunities.

For instance, when Andy Moots returned to Sewanee for his senior year last fall, he knew where he would be working after graduation. Moots, a Carey Fellows business honors graduate, did his honors internship during the Easter 2015 semester at SunTrust's investment banking arm. Moots was then invited to stick around for the summer, and he returned to campus last autumn with a job offer in his pocket. Moots' experience is far from rare for former interns.

Many business-related internships are paid positions; NACE reported that the average hourly wage for interns in 2015 was $17.69, and some summer employers even provide fringe benefits like health insurance. Sewanee has long recognized the importance of internships to career development and has dedicated funding to ensure that financial constraints do not hold students back from accepting internships. This year, students received about $430,000 in internship support grants from the University.