The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Jumping from intern to employee

Many SMU students are in the final stages of interviewing and, hopefully, selecting and committing to a summer internship. After a semester — and for some, even longer — of applications, phone interviews, let downs and final decisions, plenty of students may ask themselves, “Does interning really pay off?”

For many students, it certainly does.

Some students get internships that end up leading to jobs with their companies. Some go from internship to internship within the same company until they’re hired.

According to Southern Methodist University’s Kim Austin, the executive director for Cox’s Career Management Centers, it’s not uncommon to see interns hired directly into the company they were with.

“Companies like to hire from within, and if they’ve helped train an intern to work the way they prefer, it’s sometimes easier to just hire the intern upon graduation rather than look elsewhere,” she said.

Students normally hunt down an internship their junior and senior years, start working for a company for free, learn a few job skills and then end up finding a job with the same company or a similar company after they graduate.

The Dallas Morning News’ Julie Fancher interned with the newspaper for a year, starting in 2012, while studying journalism at SMU.

“To be able to start my career at such a well-known, well-regarded place was almost like an opportunity I couldn’t give up,” Fancher said.

The biggest change between her intern title and her employee title is she now can enjoy benefits, something companies can avoid giving workers if they’re just interns.

“There was always a chance that it wasn’t going to work out and that I was going to have to go somewhere else,” she said.

Austin explained the chances of getting a job are better as a graduating senior than as someone who interned post-graduation and then started looking for work.

“Multiple internships with the same company is fine,” Austin said. “If they keep asking you back, that’s a good sign.”

“If it’s a company you want to be with, definitely get an internship there,” Fancher said. “And if they extend your time there, [that’s ideal]. Do everything you can whenever you can.”

That’s what happened to Carol Shih with D Magazine.

Although Shih interned four times, two while in school and two after graduating from Duke University, her fourth and final internship was with D Magazine. After proposing an idea the company loved, they brought her on board permanently.

“I interned four times. Once at Al Jazeera D.C., once in a PR company, once at a magazine in Austin called TRIBEZA, and finally here at D Magazine,” Shih said. “Through those four internships, I really learned to work with my peers.”

Austin said that the junior to senior year internships are often called “high stakes” internships.

“They’re your last chance before you graduate,” Austin said, referring to companies that prefer to hire graduating seniors.

“My second internship with The [Dallas] Morning News was what really helped me move into a position to get a job there,” Fancher said, “It gave me the opportunities to do work I’m interested in. I wouldn’t have the job without the second one.”

The only worry Fancher had was one any long-term intern would have. She worried about whether or not she’d be there the next day, whether they would keep her as an intern or even hire her at all.

The [Dallas] Morning News doesn’t always hire people out of internships, but sometimes they do,” Fancher said. “I wouldn’t do anything differently I think.”

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