by Alex King
As the Professionalism themed issue of Punch Bowl is out later this week (get pumped!), I’ve decided to take a professional slant in my column as well. Some pessimistic people at our fair University claim Penn is gloomily pre-professional and everyone is just concentrated on getting a job. This is obviously not true, since no one starts working till college is over, but during college, everyone does internships. Clearly then, college prepares you for internships. But whether you’re a silly freshman who hasn’t realized this yet, or a junior who’s utterly screwed, not everyone knows how to get an internship. But I do.
Step 1: Pre-Gaming
So you want an internship? Great. But you can’t just waltz into the process all willy-nilly. Oh no. You need to effectively prepare yourself long before you actually apply. First you need a major that will look appealing to employers. Most people major in the boring sciences, like Economics, for this reason, not realizing that because everyone does this it makes them as indistinguishable as they actually are. You’ll also need some extra-curricular activities leadership positions that prove you’re a leader and also not an incredibly boring person. Nothing says “I’m interested in Investment Banking!” like the “I’m interested in Investment Banking! Club.” Make sure you’re President or something.
Step 2: Pick an Industry
Next, you need to pick which Industry you’re going into. If you go to Penn, you are not allowed to pick an actual industry that the nation depends on, like manufacturing or something. This is called working “in industry” or “sucking.” No, you need to pick some parasitical industry that lives off of other industries, like I-banking, consulting, or law. These are the only three choices for careers here, so pick one. To narrow it down, first consider this when picking your future career: Which one sounds the most fun to constantly tell yourself is worth working yourself to death for? There is nothing else to consider.
Step 3: OCR
OCR, or, ‘On Campus Recruiting’, is when students get to liaise with potential employers while trying to edge out their rivals/friends. That is to say, students who aren’t rich/cool enough to already have internships lined up through limitless family contacts. For the huddled masses, just smile big and project confidence. If you followed Step 1 well, this part will be a breeze. Remember to tell your friends you’re competing with you’re rooting for them. Do not root for them.
Step 4: So You Got an Internship
Congratulations! But don’t get too excited, now comes the part where you have to brag to your friends. There’s some tricky math here, however. How awesome what you’ll actually be doing at your internship should be inversely proportional to how prestigious the firm you’re working for is. If you’re working for BCG or Goldman, your friends will be impressed even if you’ve been hired for the employees to ash their cigarettes in your mouth. But you had better have a way better sounding job if you’re working at Bob’s Deep Discount Futures and Pawnshop. If the law firm you’re working at is best described as “1-800-DEVORCE” (sic), then say you’re interning as their CEO.
Step 5: Actually Do Your Internship
This part is completely irrelevant. Your internship exists solely to be put on your resume so you can get further internships, and eventually a job. Good work!
Note to any of my employers past or present reading this article: This piece in no way reflects my feelings about an internship I may have had or will have with your firm. I loved/will love my internship with you. I gained valuable experience about the industry/life. I love your firm. I am naming my firstborn child after your firm. Please do not fire me. I love you.