Look for More Remote Internships this Summer



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The Covid19 outbreak has forced many UofL students who were finishing up spring internships and co-ops into remote/virtual work.  And there’s a strong likelihood that most students who plan to do summer internships and co-ops will also find their positions in the online environment.  But with some planning, adjustments, and flexibility, you can still have a great learning experience as you work for employers in the community.

Jennifer Applebee, the Graduate Internship Manager for the UofL College of Business, says aside from technology, the main difference between traditional face-to-face internships and the virtual versions is the emphasis students must place on time management skills.  “Students won’t have someone consistently looking over their shoulders to ensure the work is getting accomplished. While the companies we work with have a good supervisory plan in place for managing these remote students, the students are responsible for having to solve some problems on their own in order to continue the project as they may not receive an immediate answer to their questions.”

Virtual internships can very much meet the goals of all parties involved. In fact, Robert Shindell, the president of InternBridge  which consults with employers about internships, says location is not a factor in internship motivations.  According to InternBridge research, student goals for internships are:

  • Gain hands on experience
  • Learn new skills
  • Make professional contacts
  • Become better prepared for employment
  • Gain a realistic preview of the work world.

For employers, the motivations to hire interns are:

  • Provide students with real work experience
  • Gain fresh ideas for the company/organization
  • Gain a fresh perspective from students
  • Low risk recruitment strategy
  • Gain short term talent.

As Shindell points out, all of these goals can be met, whether the internship/co-op is face-to-face or remote.  

Applebee from the UofL College of Business says they are finding more and more companies that are coming around to the idea of remote internships. “That’s especially true in the midst of the pandemic where everyone is working from home so we may definitely see more of these opportunities become available.  The best channels are still the job boards, either school specific or even LinkedIn/Indeed.”

Above all else when it comes to looking for a remote/virtual internship or co-op, Applebee said the key is the same strategy that students should always utilize in the employment marketplace.  “Making connections and building relationships is the best way to create not only distance/remote internships but also local internships and that is our approach to gaining internships for our students.”

In an upcoming article, we’ll offer tips on how to get the most out of a virtual/remote internship. In the meantime, don’t forget to connect with your UofL career center about internship and co-op matters.   The career centers in the College of Business, Speed School of Engineering, and the Law School as well as the University Career Center are all available to assist.