No more coffee orders: 3 tech companies where you can expect more from your internship

November 14, 2016

Internships are the new norm for college students looking to get ahead.

In fact, in a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 65 percent of bachelor’s degree graduates from the Class of 2015 participated in an internship and/or co-op — the highest percentage recorded for any graduating class since the report was first published in 2007.

Obtaining an internship might look great on paper, but we’ve all heard horror stories of programs where interns do little more than take coffee orders. Luckily, plenty of companies in Boston offer unique opportunities for students looking to experience the growing startup scene and learn more about working in tech.

Here, we’ve rounded up three companies treating their interns and co-ops like full-time employees.

 

Responses via Kristen Kenny, VP of People and Talent

What kind of internship program does CarGurus offer?

Until now, the internship program has been 100 percent referral-based and we’re excited to announce that in 2017 we’ll be officially posting internships online and taking applications. In the past, we hosted weekly “lunch and learns” with a member from our executive team, had a LinkedIn “picture day” where the interns could get a professional photo taken for their social profiles and at the end of the program we select a few interns to present what they learned. We also work with YearUp, an organization devoted to closing the opportunity divide, and just promoted our first YearUp Intern to a full-time Sales Development Representative! He wrote a piece for Forbes.com detailing his experience.

What do you look for in your interns?

We search for interns through the same lens as we look for our full-time employees. We want candidates who have done their research on CarGurus and know why they want to be interning with us versus at another company, have an entrepreneurial spirit and a thirst for knowledge, will come in each day with a positive attitude and will represent CarGurus with the utmost integrity.

What makes your program unique?

Our program is unique in that it’s still so new, and that means our next interns will make a real difference on how we develop our intern experience in the future. For example, we will have a formal mentorship component to our program this year, and that is directly from last summer’s interns making this suggestion. So CarGurus is a great match for any candidates that sincerely want to help influence and shape what future interns do here.

What can an intern expect to gain after a couple months working with your company?

A CarGurus intern can expect to work in a department of their choosing (i.e. sales, marketing, human resources) and get hands-on experience in that field. They can also expect that their managers and mentors will provide career guidance so they are learning about more than life at the company, but also learning about professional life overall. In addition, our interns can receive some of the same benefits and perks as our full-time employees such as free catered lunch every day and attending our company events to outings like the Red Sox game and Thompson Island.

  

Repsonses via Kevin Fanning, Vice President of Talent and Culture

Briefly describe your internship program.

We hire entrepreneurial data analysts, engineers and designers, put them in teams together and let them build a business from scratch over the course of the summer.

What types of interns are you looking for?

We’re looking for people who are interested in working with very large data sets (usually math or econ students), software engineers (computer science) and web/mobile UI designers. We’re particularly interested in students with a demonstrated interest in startups and entrepreneurship. 

Why is your internship program unique?

Our interns are designed to give students a crash course in what it’s like to be a part of Cogo. We wanted to create a framework where interns could start an online business and see how far they could take it over the course of a summer. They get GitHub credentials, access to our proprietary technologies and the opportunity to interact with some of the brightest entrepreneurial minds ever assembled under one roof. The rest is up to them. They have staff mentors who are available to answer questions and help problem-solve, but it’s really about them sharpening their self-learning skills and figuring out how to solve problems quickly and creatively and collaboratively.

And to make it even more fun and interesting, we hire two teams of interns and engage them in a little friendly competition against each other to see who can build the more successful business. What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company?

They’ll broaden their technical skill sets (last summer our interns learned AngularJS, Flask and SQL), they’ll hone their communication and leadership skills and they’ll learn a lot about all the amazing food there is here in Cambridge.

You can read what our most recent class had to say about their experience here.

  

Responses via Nell Thayer Heisner, Director of Talent Acquisition 

What kind of internship program does Fuze offer?

Fuze offers a number of internship options, including a Summer internship program as well as full-time opportunities. These are available in various departments such as marketing, finance/accounting, HR, IT, Engineering and office experience. We look at our internship program as an opportunity to learn by doing, a hands-on experience in one of the fastest growing companies in Boston.

What do you look for in your interns?

We’re always looking for the best and brightest, but our most successful interns are great communicators, they have a “Get Stuff Done” mentality and they’re highly self-motivated but also team-oriented. As a provider of unified communications, collaboration is in our bones. Something else that is very important to us is an intellectual curiosity — interns that are eager to learn and add value from their own unique perspective. We look for those who are hard working, ready for a challenge and are excited about gaining real world experience. Last but most certainly not least, we look for a sense of humor. Fuzers always appreciate the balance to not take themselves too seriously but to take their work seriously.

What makes your program unique?

Fuze is one of the few companies in Massachusetts that is experiencing a "rocketship" level of growth, earning accolades and awards that are further increasing our visibility. Our internships will provide the opportunity to work on actual business issues and the ability to contribute to the learning and development of our company. We’re always growing and are always looking for a new point of view. We also provide access to a dynamic, engaged group of senior leaders across multiple departments through a variety of lunch-and-learns, town hall meetings and intern-specific programming. Our team has a wealth of insight and experience, all of which is at our interns’ disposal. Finally, we have what we call Intern Collaboration. Throughout the program, interns will have the opportunity to learn from each other and gain insight on what projects and work they are each working on. We view peer learning as a key cornerstone of our program.

What can an intern expect to gain after a couple months working with your company?

Depending on the role, interns can expect to work on multiple projects throughout the internship. Interns will be able to lead and own projects, while collaborating to help push our work forward. They also walk away with experience at a fast-growing, award-winning company. Fuze is at a perfect crossroads for the intern experience. We’re established enough that will give interns first-hand insight into working at a “hot” company but not big enough where interns are left by the wayside; they’re active members of our teams. Finally, they’ll be able to improve or gain new skills that will help them as they decide what they want to do after college.

 

Photos via social media and Shutterstock 

Know a company with amazing internships? Let us know and follow us @BuiltInBOS

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