Interns in BP America’s 12-week summer program work on projects to develop pipelines and help create ways to harness alternative energy. They explore new energy reserves and try to develop clean fuels and other products like bio-based engine oil. If they work in the company’s business or legal office, they participate in crucial decision-making. BP interns get so much hands-on experience, more than 50% wind up receiving full-time job offers after graduating from college. “We look at them as permanent employees, even though they’re interns,” says Aimee Close, head of university relations projects and programs. Interns also get mentors, or “buddies,” who are recent college grads working full-time at the company.
BP’s internships are not embroiled in the controversy over unpaid, exploited labor. They are well-paid (though Close won’t reveal figures). They also enjoy benefits like healthcare coverage, short-term disability benefits and even a savings plan where the company matches as much as 7% of employees’ contributions. In the more than 20 cities where BP has offices, interns are entitled to free, fully-furnished housing. In addition, they get other perks, like baseball, soccer and movie preview tickets, plus free lunch-and-learn sessions.
This is the first year that BP America’s combination of meaningful work experience, pay, perks and career opportunities land it in the No. 1 slot on a list of the nation’s top internships, put out by career website Vault.com. It may seem that November is an odd time to release an internship list, but in fact, the deadline for BP’s summer 2014 internship applications has already passed. It ran from Aug. 1 to Nov. 1. But the company also runs a 6-month co-op program for college students seeking work experience during the school year. The next deadline, May 1, is for co-ops that start in September.
Vault has been publishing an annual internship directory since 1993.What used to be available in hard copy is all online now. Click here for Vault’s internships portal. See our slideshow for the top ten.
The Best Internships For 2014
To compile the list of the top ten, Vault sent surveys to 500 of the 1,000 programs in its directory. This year, 140 companies responded. Vault also collected surveys from some 7,700 interns. It only evaluated programs where at least 10 interns returned questionnaires. Roughly 100 internships made that cut.
Though there are many more than 100 internships in the world, and Vault didn’t get responses from some of the companies where we know the internships are stellar, like Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm, we think that the top programs Vault picked are all great ones worth considering.
Vault asked interns to rate their experience, on a scale of 1-10, in five areas: quality of life, compensation and benefits, interview process, career development and full-time employment prospects.
The No. 2 program on Vault’s list: Bain & Company’s Summer Associate and Associate Consultant Internship. Bain runs 10-week programs for both undergraduates and MBA students. At the outset of both programs, the company hosts a three-day training session staffed by managers and partners from around the world. The college interns train in Bain’s local offices while the company flies business students in from its 50 far-flung locations, including Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg. They all meet in Brewster on Cape Cod where they spend three days learning skills like market analysis and competitor analysis.
Both college and MBA interns work on what Keith Bevans, Bain’s head of global consultant recruiting, describes as “live cases.” That means interns do real work for real clients, shoulder to shoulder with full-fledged Bain consultants. All interns work with mentors assigned to them at the beginning of the summer and they have a direct supervisor or a manager who keeps close tabs on them throughout the season. Bain wants interns to build strong relationships with colleagues. “We want them to really feel like they’re part of the firm,” says Bevans. Bain’s goal: To hire 100% of its interns, both MBAs and college grads, as soon as they’re done with school. Bain internships are very well paid. Bevans wouldn’t reveal a number but according to a listing on salary ranking website Glassdoor, Bain MBA interns earn between $10,000 and $12,000 a month.
Another great internship that’s landed on Vault’s list for the fourth year in a row, this time in tenth place: The Capital Fellows Program based in Sacramento, Calif., run by California State University, Sacramento. Technically the program is a fellowship, rather than an internship, says outreach program director Claire Bunch, because participants have to have finished their bachelor’s degrees before they start. The 64 fellows, divided between the state Assembly, Senate, Judiciary and the executive branch, do substantive work: They help draft legislation, write speeches and conduct policy briefings. Steeped in the work of real-life policymaking, roughly half get offered full-time jobs in California state government when they finish the program, which starts in October and runs 10-11 months. They get paid a stipend of $1,972 a month and receive six units of graduate-level academic credit in government or public policy. Another perk: health insurance that includes vision and dental benefits. The next deadline to apply, for the academic year that starts Oct. 2014, is Feb. 10.
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