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Ranking The Best Summer Internships

MBA students know the importance of where you intern between your first and second years

B-school students know the importance of where you intern

Classes may have just begun for most business school students, but as most MBAs will tell you, it’s never too early for them to start thinking about where they will intern next summer. Some B-school students may even have something lined up already.

For the rest, Vault today (Oct. 11) released its 2017 ranking of top internship destinations, the fourth year of its multiple-category breakdown. This year’s ranking is based on surveys of more than 8,500 current and former interns from more than 100 employers. The verdict? Google and Apple, respectively, remain the No. 1 and No. 2 most prestigious spots for resume-padders, while for the second straight year the best overall internship belongs to those lucky few who soak up knowledge at investment banking advisory firm Evercore.

All the top firms have something in common, says Derek Loosvelt, Vault’s senior finance director: They are focused on developing a strong corporate culture and maintaining a good atmosphere for employees, including interns. “The top companies are still seen as innovative, they’re staying innovative, and they’re keeping and focusing on a real good atmosphere for interns — making it fun — and that’s why they stay at or near the top of the rankings,” Loosvelt says. “With Evercore, I think they’ve really benefited since the financial crisis from saying out of the headlines.”

FROM ‘IT’S A DREAM JOB!’ TO ‘NO ONE WANTS TO WORK THERE’

Derek Loosvelt. Courtesy photo

Derek Loosvelt. Courtesy photo

In addition to asking respondents to rate and review their own internship experiences, Vault asks interns to rate the prestige of other employers, asking that they only comment on companies they’re familiar with. Respondents are presented with a list of top companies and asked to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 — with 10 being the highest (“It’s a dream job!”) and 1 being the lowest (“No one wants to work there”). Vault averages the rating for each employer, then ranks the companies in order.

Companies are divided into 13 categories, topped by the Most Prestigious Internships and Best Overall Internships, as well as programs offering the best Quality of Life and Career Development, and best industry-specific internships — including, for the first time this year, a Healthcare category. “All industries offer different internship experiences, so it is important that we continue expanding our offerings to highlight the various possibilities available to our readers,” says Tara McCaffrey, VP of marketing at Vault. “Picking the right program in the right industry is crucial to someone about to take that important first step along their career path.”

But while the Most Prestigious category is again filled with household names — in addition to the top three remaining the same as the 2016 ranking, such stalwarts as Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, and J.P. Morgan once more inhabit the top 10 — the Best Overall category offers some intriguing entries. In that category, the Evercore Advisory Summer Analyst and Summer Associate Program is the repeat titleholder, but last year’s No. 2, the Elliott Davis Decosimo ENVISION Summer Internship Experience, dropped to No. 3, supplanted by Frank, Rimerman + Co. LLP’s Summer Internship. Such mainstays as Bain and Co. lost ground (No. 6, down from No. 3), while others like Nickelodeon leaped ahead (to No. 9 from No. 14). (See the rankings in several categories at the bottom of this story.)

“While Bain’s overall ranking is lower this year, its overall score is not that much lower than last year,” Loosvelt notes. “That said, some of Bain’s individual category ratings dropped this year — categories that go into the calculation of the overall score — while the average ratings among other firms increased.

“There was (also) an improvement in survey-wide ratings,” he continues. “The average score among all firms that took our survey was a little higher than last year, and the average score for the Top 50 highest-rated firms was much higher — 9.207 versus 8.878. So, even if Bain’s scores were the same as it was last year, it would still rank No. 6 because other programs received higher ratings, including Northwestern Mutual, which moved from No . 5 to No. 4, and KPCB, which moved from No. 7 to No. 5. Also, more companies were eligible for the rankings this year, including Frank Rimmerman, which came in at No. 2.”

PAY IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING

In addition to its rankings, Vault uncovered some interesting trends about internships and the internship search. Almost all — 98% — were paid internships, and more than half (56%) resulted in full-time job offers. Fewer than half (46%) said pay was the ultimate deciding factor when choosing an internship; location was second at 45%, then career advancement in a chosen industry at 38%, followed by the opportunity for a full-time job offer at 35%.

Two-thirds of respondents interned as juniors or seniors in college, and the same amount — 66% — found that campus recruiting was the beltway to learn about internship opportunities. The overwhelming majority (95%) of respondents relied primarily on their laptops for research — but 28% also used their smartphones.

“These rankings provide students with an insider’s look at what it’s really like to intern at a particular company,” McCaffrey says. “Do they properly prepare interns for their career? Do they offer a great culture, perks, compensation and work-life balance? The firms that ranked here stood out from the rest of the pack.”

See next page for Top 25 Internship programs.