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Does the intern experience at a large company fundamentally differ when done during a non-traditional season such as the fall or winter?

- To what degree does timing affect experience as an intern?
- What are the pros and cons of working with larger groups of interns/peers during more traditional periods such as the summer?
- What are the pros and cons of working with a company as either 1) the only intern or 2) a member of a much smaller group of interns? #management #internships #education-management

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Doreen’s Answer

Hello Parker,
The Intern experience does not differ neccessarily based on the season or time frame. This is because the telecommunications' world is very dynamic! As a result, we are constantly working on new innovative challenges and programs. Of course, most people take vacations during the summer but there are always employees who are working around the clock to deliver the customer promise of addressing and supplying their telecommunications' needs 24/7, all year round.
I hope this helps.
Best regards,

Thank you for your response Doreen! Parker W.

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Shira’s Answer

Hi Parker!

Great questions. In my opinion, your experience will depend less on the season and more on whether or not you'll be part of a formal intern class. Our summer interns come in as a group, have professional development and team building experiences together, learn from multiple departments, do a summer-long project, and more. Since we don't have an official fall or spring internship program at corporate headquarters, when we hire an intern for other seasons, he or she ends up being more of a true extension of our department and team. We also only hire an off-season intern when we really need the help, whereas in the summer we will take interns regardless of what we have going on. The other key factor is our summer interns work full time, and the other season interns can only work when their school schedules permit. Here are some pros/cons of each:

Summer internship/formal program
Pros: Can be fun to work with other interns/peers, more professional development/extracurricular experiences, structured time and schedule, get (critically important) experience of working a full time job
Cons: Time with other interns means less time to learn from your department, it's less like the actual experience of being in these jobs and more of a job/school hybrid experience

Other season internship/no formal program
Pros: Lots more individual attention from your team/department, opportunity to see a different side of the organization (which can be misleadingly slow in some industries during summer), being fully integrated into a team is a lot more like a "normal job" than being one of a class of many interns
Cons: Being the only intern can mean more ends up on your plate, fewer peers to relate to socially, have to work and go to school at the same time

If you're interested in having a trial run of what it's like to really work at a particular company or in a certain industry, I recommend going with a smaller or off-season program. If you're interested in more structure, socializing and professional development opportunities, your best bet is a more formal summer internship program with a larger group of interns. Good luck!

Hi Shira! Thank you for the incredibly detailed answer to my question - your level of specificity was much appreciated, especially as I begin to prepare applications for the fall internship season. The pros and cons list was a great heuristic for deciding which industry to apply into next summer, and it was also helpful to learn more about how a change in season might affect the work/social experience. The differing dynamic between a summer ‘group’ experience and the off-season ‘formal’ experience seems like an opportunity to spend the fall season in an industry that I am interested in but don’t know much about. Happy holidays and thanks again for taking the time to provide such a thorough answer! Parker W.

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James’s Answer

Yes, internships vary depending on the time of year, mission of the agency, and population served. In public education, school-based mental health, MSW and MFT field placement for interns and trainees usually mirror the school year. From my experience as a school social worker in the U.S., and working with youth in international schools (Tokyo, Japan) referrals and self-referrals for children and teenagers tend to spike after report cards come out, and during times of transition.

Kids themselves say that the holidays can be bittersweet, especially for foster youth and homeless families; if you have field placement over winter, you'll experience this cycle and chance to learn from youth and families. Field placement in school-based setttings are rewarding and provide opportunities to work for equity, social justice, and self determination. Will you consider pursuing a credential such as the Pupil Personnel Services Credential in California (PPSC in CA) in school social work, school psychology, or school counseling? No matter where you go, I'm sure that you will learn a lot from the clients you serve, colleagues, and supervisors. Thank you for posting an interesting question!

James C. Wogan, MFT, LCSW, PPSC, Administrator, School Linked Services , Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Northern California East Bay, Bay Area

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Sabrina’s Answer

Internship experiences can differ depending on the size of program, company and the business cycle of a company. Projects are assigned to interns based on needs. Some companies do hire a lot of summer interns for projects but many companies also have projects during Fall and Winter cycles. Your questions are important and I would certainly discuss with the interviewer/HR. If you are flexible when you could work, find out what fits your interest and goals best and work during that time. With each Internship experience, I would take the time to learn as much as you can about the company, the people and projects. Good luck in your future endeavors.

Thank you for responding to my question Sabrina! Really appreciate that you emphasized flexibility and fit for interns, and also your explanation of how the learning experience at a company is often more important than the particular season spent there. Very helpful answer and best of luck to you as well. Parker W.

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Steven’s Answer

It depends on the nature of the business and the internship learning objectives. For example, if it is an accounting firm and it is tax season there may be a large volume of tax return transactions and prep. During a different time of year at the same firm there would be different opportunities to be exposed to other aspects of the business such as tax strategies and financial planning rather than preparing returns.

Thank you for responding to my question Steven! I appreciate that you highlighted the way in which company workload varies by season, and also your explanation of how this might change the opportunities available during the intern experience. Parker W.

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Tiana’s Answer

The internship does not necessarily vary based on a season, however it really depends on your role in the company, sometimes when companies clients are on vacation or in a slow period one may not have as many reports, tasks to complete or it could be the time when all the databases, programs, etc. or updated. I hope this helps.


Thank you Tiana! I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question, and also how you explained the way in which seasonal workflow can create differing roles and responsibilities during the intern experience. Parker W.