Hey Kids! How's that summer internship going?

Front Rush software shows us how internships should be done.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor on

I was always lucky to have good summer jobs. I never did time at McDonald's or Walmart. I spent my summers working in labs, tutoring, teaching, and otherwise doing cool career-prep sorts of things that also ended up paying pretty well. However, when I stumbled across the story of a Front Rush intern's adventure this summer, I had to share it. And quell that little spark of jealousy.

Neal Cook, a sports-management major at Temple, and David Twamley, a business major at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School both took internships with the sports recruiting software company Front Rush. Within 2 weeks, the company's founders took an unusual step and had them begin running a spinoff company that would take a piece of internal software for motivating sales staff and bring it to market. And not just any market - the pair would be bringing it to the sales industry in general, stepping well outside the tiny but lucrative niche in which Front Rush had been operating.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer described,

Internship is a rite of passage for college students making their way toward careers. But in these hard times, when unemployment in the 20-to-24 age range is running at 14.5 percent, an internship is more than just a way to pass the summer.

Employers routinely hire their interns when they graduate...four of the 10 new graduates hired from the Class of 2010 had previously worked as interns.

Job prospects aside, internships can be a daily grind of menial work with plenty of chances to "observe" real work getting done. Internships should, however, be a critical part of a student's education. Many universities require an internship and most have internship placement services for their students. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that all students get real-world, hands-on experience that will help guide career choices and teach essential skills that can't be obtained in a lecture hall. We should all be so lucky to be empowered in the same way as these two interns.

Empowerment remains one of the hallmarks of innovation and motivation in this country. In fact, the most successful companies and countless startups make their mark with employees who come together in incredibly synergistic ways and rapidly take ideas forward. The more ideas that come to fruition quickly, the more potential business successes. If students don't have the opportunity to dive in head first during an internship, then it will be far harder for them to do it on that first day as an employee in a new job.

Besides, if schools are really interested in job placement rates, doesn't it make sense that their graduates should be able to say something spectacular about a summer internship instead of bury a mediocre experience on their already too-short resumes?

So kids, if that summer internship is leaving you a bit, well, bored, it's time to take the story of Front Rush to your boss and see what you can do for the rest of the summer that you'll want to write up in bold on your resume.

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