Success Manifesto for Engineering Students – Action #2…Internships

Dear Readers: In lieu of reading this post, you can view the embedded video (bottom of post).

I need to ask you to suspend your thinking for a few seconds and go with me inside your head. Picture me standing right in front of you.


In other words, I’m right in your face. My arms are extended and I’ve grabbed both of your shoulders in my hands.

Now I’m shaking you back and forth, almost violently. While shaking you, I’m repeating this phrase loudly, over and over, “INTERNSHIPS…INTERNSHIPS…ENGINEERING INTERNSHIPS”.

Ok…Come On Back To Reality

Do you get the picture? Do you get the message?

The top companies who offer the top jobs, the top pay and the top career growth opportunities, are looking for students who have had one, two, or even three or more internships before they graduate.

Here’s The Deal About Internships

Why are students who have internship experience in such high demand?

Well, there a million different good reasons, but the catch-all reason is because engineering graduates who have interned are primed and ready to hit the ground running when they go to work full-time.

Graduates with solid internship experience are better able to quickly add value to a company, when compared to their peers who didn’t have internships.

Now, are there occasional outliers that would prove this opinion of mine wrong?

I suppose that might happen, but what’s important for you to do is to seek out answers and advice from multiple sources that you consider to be reliable.

I’m confident that if you do this on the question of internships, you’ll quickly find yourself in your college career center signing up for on-campus internship interviews.

My Stand On Internships Is Steadfast…Here’s Why

Can you sense that I feel pretty strongly about this internship thing?

Here’s my short story and where my bias comes from:EngineWorks

  • A summer internship in 1979, along with four additional three-month intern sessions with John Deere, grew into a 25-year career with them.
  • During those 25 years, I built solid, satisfying relationships, and true friendships, with hundreds of coworkers, dealers, suppliers and customers.
  • My personal development was fully supported with internal training and a host of lateral and promotional job moves.
  • My John Deere paychecks supported my family and helped to fund our boys’ college educations.
  • Still today, some 35 years later, I have relationships with numerous John Deere employees and past coworkers.

Remember, all of this started with a single summer internship.

More Of My Internship Story…

I’ll save the full story, the how-to’s, the amazing benefits, and more internship advice for another STRAIGHT TALK GUIDE, but as I finish my comments about internships, you should know that I didn’t get hired as an intern, or full-time after graduation, because I was a 4.0 student. In fact, my final GPA at graduation was just above the 3.0 mark.

Would I suggest that my scenario would play out the same way today? No, I don’t think so. Nor would I want you to think so. My sense is that GPA requirements are higher across the board today versus 35 years ago.

But at the same time, having a 4.0 doesn’t carry with it the guarantee of an internship or a full-time position after graduation. Nor does a 4.0 GPA guarantee that you’ll be an outstanding engineer.

Herein Lies A Main Point Of The SUCCESS MANIFESTO

I believe that “remarkable engineers” bring to the table a unique mix of solid technical knowledge, problem-solving skills, strong soft skills, and a wide range of work and life experiences.

GPA has been, and continues to be, just one piece of the entire hiring and career success puzzle. Both of my recruiting experiences, as an independent recruiter and as a corporate recruiter, are part of what prompt me to take this position on grades.

So Where Are You On Internships Now?

I hope I’ve convinced you to add internships to your overall college career plan.

They are truly one of the best ways of linking classroom learning to real world problems that companies are trying to solve.  My perspective and my understanding about the importance of my studies shifted 180 degrees after my first summer internship.

There are many, many other benefits that come from engineering internships, but I’ll save those for another day and another STRAIGHT TALK GUIDE.

For now, let’s get ready for Action #3, which is all about forming relationships and partnerships with some of the outstanding professionals at your college or university.

 If desired, you can view this entire post in the YouTube video below:

Question: What’s your opinion about the importance of internships for engineering students? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Note: This post is a chapter from the free SUCCESS MANIFESTO FOR 21st CENTURY ENGINEERING STUDENTS. On THIS PAGE, you can learn more about the MANIFESTO, watch a short summary video and request a FREE downloadable PDF copy.



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