College Success

Breaking Down the Junior Year Summer Internship Process: Accepting a Job Offer

In the last of a three part series about summer internships, we talked to previous corporate interns regarding their internship experiences following their junior year of college.

Are you a current college junior? A freshman or sophomore? If so, chances are you know at least one person who has completed an internship sometime within her college career. You may even know certain seniors who, upon completing a summer internship, have accepted a job offer and are in the process of planning out their lives post-college, before the school year has even started.

The remainder of seniors (at least those not planning on attending graduate school immediately) are caught up in the fall frenzy of career fairs, information sessions and interviews for employment positions. In the midst of these recruitment events, each student is attempting to put her best foot forward – addressing why her academic major, interests, life goals, leadership activities and lastly, work experiences, make her the right candidate for the job.

With previous work experience a strong quality that recruiters look for, here are some tips offered by recent summer interns on securing, succeeding in, and making the most out of your junior year internship.

Considerations for Accepting a Job Offer After the Internship

If you’re not sure about ‘fit’

Shelby W., (Duke University, ‘14)
Financial Institutions Summer Analyst at Goldman Sachs

To figure out what the culture is like, talk to as many people as you can at the firm. Your university team will often be happy to set you up with professionals because now the roles are reversed – they are selling themselves to you! However, if you do not feel as though the firm is a perfect fit, it is important to realize that the subcultures of all groups or desks are very different.

In addition, if it is not your first choice, you should accept the offer to get your foot in the door in the industry. The following year, you can interview elsewhere with some experience under your belt – you are not too good for any firm and you will learn the same things everywhere on the street.

Claire S., (Texas Tech University, ’13)
Technical Design Rookie at Under Armour

You will have time to think before you accept or reject an offer. If you think you’d be interested in another position at the company during the internship, you can have time to talk to people in that department and maybe even shadow them. Under Armour was really open and encouraged us to meet with people from other departments that we were interested in.

If you decide the company isn’t right for you and you receive an offer, then you should not feel obligated to stay. An internship is only temporary and not just a chance for the company to see if you’re right for them, but for you to see if the company is right for you, too. If anything, it was a chance to learn what you want and don’t want in a future career.

Claire K., (Duke University, ‘14)
Asset Backed Division Intern at Wells Fargo

Regarding the division and role, the best way to predict whether it will be a good fit is to consider what type of work you enjoy doing, how you like to do your work, and the conditions under which you are the most productive and successful. Regarding the firm, the best way to know is to think about the type of people who you met during recruiting and interviewing and to consider if you would be excited to work for and with them. To really put in the hours that a job in finance or consulting requires, you need to believe in the mission of the group as well as respect and look up to the people you will be working for.

Kristin C., (Duke University, ‘14)
Institutional Equities Summer Analyst at Morgan Stanley

Shop around. When you return to school for the first semester of senior year, the entire campus will be buzzing with information sessions and interview sign-ups. Several of my friends used their summer experiences as leverage to achieve either offers at different firms or improve their current offers—to get the desks they really wanted. Keep in mind that your original firm may not appreciate your hesitancy, but you have to do what is best for you and your future.

Logistical Concerns

Claire K., (Duke University, ‘14)
Asset Backed Division Intern at Wells Fargo

Location was particularly important to me, mainly because I wanted to be close to my family and friends. It is important to consider what a city has to offer you outside of work, and if you could see yourself living there. If you aren’t thrilled about the city, it may depress your excitement about your future job.

Claire S., (Texas Tech University, ’13)
Technical Design Rookie at Under Armour

One of the first things you need to look in after getting an offer is the amount of taxes that will be taken out of your salary. Each state has different taxes and it is important to look into this because your actual salary will be less than what the offer is once taxes are taken out. I made the mistake of not checking into taxes right away and thought I would have a bigger budget to spend on housing, but once I looked into it, my plans completely changed. If you are with a good company, they should be offering you a suitable salary for your position and location, but it is always good to compare similar positions and companies and what they are offering. Also, if the company offers healthcare & benefits, you need to budget for those expenses to come out if you want them (which I would recommend).

No possibility of a return offer?

Lyndsay K., (Duke University, ‘14)
International Account Management Intern at Coach

Coach doesn’t operate like a lot of other internship programs where at the end of the summer you are evaluated and either receive or don’t receive an offer. Our management told us that if we wanted to work there full-time, we should keep in touch with our mentors and other colleagues to learn of future openings. The company actually had to cut people from my team while I was there because it had taken huge earnings hit in the previous quarter, so a hiring freeze will actually remain until January or so.

Overall, my mentor was great. He was very direct and said that he would want me to come back if they had the budget and also that he would be happy to be a resource for recommendations or advice in the future.


Caroline HerrmannCaroline Herrmann is a junior at Duke University majoring in Cognitive Science and minoring in German Studies. She is working on a Markets & Management Studies certificate. Her goal is to attend business school and she would love to work in marketing or consulting in the United States or Europe. She was a part of the first Forté College Leadership Conference and can be found on Twitter at @caroooline717.

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