“INCREDIBLY NICE AND INSANELY SMART”
Actual SpaceX interns don’t necessarily disagree. One observed that interns were occasionally “thrown in before being taught how to swim.” Another listed a “lack of transparency and communication,” where it was “very common” to learn that another department has completed a task that they had just been assigned. And then there is the very real stress of working in a complex industry with ever-changing demands that operates at warp speed.
“The cons of SpaceX is stress due to very challenging projects with demanding deadlines that can require working long hours,” writes one intern. “This can take a toll on individuals but also forces you to learn and grow as an individual quickly in a way you would not be able to at a less challenging internship.”
For many, the tradeoff was more than worth it. “The culture at SpaceX is amazing; there is nothing else like it,” argues one SpaceX intern. “The jobs are challenging and constantly changing. I learn multiple new things every day. The people are all incredibly passionate and intelligent.”
Like Google, SpaceX’s biggest asset is its mission itself, which offers a larger meaning than collecting a paycheck or advancing one’s career. Here, says one SpaceX intern, they are treated as an integral part of the organization. “They give you immense ownership over projects and the ability to make big impact on the company – you are basically treated as a full time employee and respected as much. The people hear are incredibly nice and insanely smart.”
SPOTIFY AND HULU GAIN THE BIGGEST GROUND IN PRESTIGE
Aside from SpaceX’s splashy entrance at #9, Vault’s prestige ranking remained pretty stable among top 10 firms, with Google, Apple, Amazon, JPMorgan, and Walt Disney all holding the same spots as the previous year. In the top 20, Spotify made the biggest move, rocketing up 15 places to #20. In the process, Spotify beat out the likes of Coca-Cola, McKinsey, Procter & Gamble, and Bank of America. What was the firm’s appeal? According to surveys, the product resonated with interns, who described it as “industry-defining.” “Everyone uses their product,” writes one survey respondent.
The same could be said for Hulu, which made a similar leap going from 48th to 35th. However, it wasn’t just “cool” tech firms whose surging popularity and free-wheeling cultures resonated with this year’s survey respondents. Take PepsiCo, a traditional food and beverage conglomerate. It rose nine spots to 40th. The same could be said for BlackRock and Adidas North America, long-standing financial and footwear firms that climbed eight and six places respectively.
However, there were seemingly more losers than winners in this year’s prestige rankings. Notably, professional services firm took a nosedive in 2019, headed by KPMG and PwC, which lost 18 and 17 spots respectively. General Electric and Starbucks, both powerhouses at the turn of the century, each lost seven spots this year. At the same time, a handful of tech firms lost ground, including Hewlett Packard (-9), Oracle (-8), and Samsung (-8).
“IT’S A BIG DEAL TO WORK HERE”
They weren’t alone. Since Vault’s inaugural prestige ranking in 2016, the consulting industry has experienced the biggest drop in interest from interns. Back then, McKinsey, the Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Company all ranked in the top 20 (11th, 14th, and 18th). Fast forward to the 2019 ranking and those numbers have plummeted to 23rd, 19th, and 39th respectively. Intern enthusiasm for banking has also faded…to a lesser extent. Case in point: Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, whose rankings slipped from 3rd to 6th and 5th to 8th respectively. Twitter is another hot property whose shine has dimmed; in the past four years; its rank has tumbled from 10th to 21st.
What’s more, several industry standards have fallen off interns’ radars entirely, including Exxon Mobil, Adobe, L’Oreal, Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods, and Chevron. By the same token, the 2019 prestige ranking welcomed several new entrants, including Uber Technologies, Paypal Holdings, and Dell (which had previously ranked 36th in 2017).
Just because a company misses Vault’s prestige top 10 doesn’t mean it won’t turn heads on a resume. Exhibit A: The Boston Consulting Group, with survey respondents praising it as a “resume builder” with a “smart workforce” and “high pay, great exit opps, [and] super exclusive.” McKinsey – “the holy grail of consulting internship” – elicited similar responses for its “valuable experience” and “cool culture.” “[It’s] a big deal to work there,” asserts one respondent.
Go to next page to see the Vault 50 Internship Ranking.