The benefits of a great internship are manifold. They can be entry points to competitive industries and give access to valuable professional networks. At the very least, internships get you in the door. The door most students want to walk through? Google's.
Interning at the search giant, now a part of multinational conglomerate Alphabet, Inc., is the most desirable summer gig for students, according to a just-released ranking of prestigious internships by Vault, a website that researches and ranks companies.
When Matthew Reardon, a second-year MBA at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, was offered an internship last summer at Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, he accepted right away—even though the internship was in sales, and he wanted to work in strategy.
"Google was my top pick," he said. "I knew it was more of a sales job, but I wanted to give it a shot, anyway."
Vault surveyed 5,800 undergraduate and graduate interns in North America, who rated 60 companies on how much they wanted to work there. The top 10 included Apple and Facebook, as well as Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.
Google's name "carries a lot of weight," said Derek Loosvelt, senior finance editor at Vault. Glossy perks also help. Second-most-desirable internship company Apple gives interns free products, he said. But interns may not be so easily swayed by shiny new toys. "When we ask interns to tell us why they are accepting full-time offers, they seem to care most about the training and mentoring opportunities," said Loosvelt.
Financial services companies are still strong résumé-builders, but notoriously punishing work hours have made them less sexy, said Loosvelt.
Trisha Chakraborty, who interned at JPMorgan Chase for two consecutive summers, said she worked from eight in the morning to eight in the evening, plus regular weekends and nights. But her internship allowed her to rotate through different positions and learn about different parts of the company. "I wanted to be here because of the brand, but also because they give you access to the diverse nature of JPMorgan Chase's businesses. I could essentially pursue any job within financial services at one firm."
"Even if it's not your dream job," said Chakraborty, "if you make yourself known, people will give you those dream opportunities."
The 20 most prestigious companies to intern for, based on Vault's survey, are below.
3. Goldman Sachs
5. J.P. Morgan
7. Tesla Motors
8. Morgan Stanley
9. Walt Disney
11. McKinsey & Co.
13. Berkshire Hathaway
14. Boston Consulting Group
15. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
18. Bain & Co.