This year marks the sixth anniversary of the St Andrews Summer Internship Scheme, a collaboration between the Students’ Association, Careers Centre and Principal’s Office that provides 25 internships every summer. The scheme offers four or six weeks of project-based experience to second and third year students.
Shona Mach, career advisor and head of the Summer Internship Scheme, said: “Students get feedback, give a presentation to staff, and use that experience in applications to great benefit.”
Often, students wish to continue their internships, as testimonials by past students on the Careers Centre website show. Ms Mach suggests reading these testimonials before applying.
She also advises searching beyond the title of the scheme.
“Look at further details to find out more about it,” Ms Mach said. “The very important bit is the person specification. Applying students must give evidence of the desirable skills mentioned in the person specification section in their CV and personal letter.”
Ms Mach also warned against common mistakes, saying, “Students don’t mention enough why they’re interested in that particular internship. Show a little bit of knowledge of the unit. Do some research for the interview.”
Ms Mach recommends applying to three of the schemes, the maximum possible, in order to take advantage of all the opportunities available. If you’re applying for the most popular schemes, namely those in marketing and communications, spread out your applications so that you have a higher chance of being accepted.
Ingrid Lustig, a third year IR student from Chicago, worked with the Summer Internship Scheme this past summer. She was able to work remotely from home for a portion of the internship and offered high praise for the program, saying, “I loved it.”
Ms Lustig found the application process simple. She applied to two schemes and was accepted by both, eventually choosing an internship with an organization that planned and coordinated networking events.
According to Ms Lustig, “[The internship organizers] give you an outline of what they want you to do, but you can make the internship what you want it to be.”
She cited the autonomy she received as a major part of what made the internship so enjoyable.
Candidates for the Summer Internship Scheme should apply before the deadline of February 26. For more information, refer to the University of St Andrews Careers Centre.
For first years or students who wish to review more options, Ms Mach points to the Careers Center website. The work shadowing scheme from winter break continues this summer, with the list of opportunities arriving in May.
As advertised on the banner of the Careers Center website, Santander sponsors several internships for all undergraduates (not specifically working for Santander). Check out Going Global, Catch Up, and Internships-USA.
Ms Mach also encourages getting in touch with members of the industry you wish to explore. Use Linkedin to find St Andrews alumni and join Saint Connect, St Andrew’s networking platform. When you connect with a professional in your desired industry, ask for a meeting if your location permits.
“Be enthusiastic about what the person does and ask about their role. Meetings can lead to work shadow and experience,” explained Ms. Mach.