Ah, the infamous internship. It’s the first thing most of us have to a “real job” while we are still in college, and it becomes the most stressful thing during our upperclassmen years at college. Despite only being a sophomore in college, I am currently onto my third internship. All of them have been with relatively small fashion brands, and always with their social media/PR and marketing departments, but I have continuously learned how it is the interns at these companies and so many others that drive them forward and make companies develop further. However, some companies no longer want nor use interns.
This past month, Conde Nast, the publishing house that produces Vogue and The New Yorker along with various others, decided to cancel their 2014 internship program due to lawsuits over underpaid internships at W and Vogue. And while I agree that it is right for Conde Nast to re-evaluate their internship program, I think they need to restart it soon. A majority of the people who have successfully worked in any industry, especially the fashion industry, have found their beginnings and first jobs via internships.
Many people don’t realize the impact interns have on their companies. While it can be argued at either free labor or the experience of learning, interns really do a lot of work for a company. Many Wallstreet banks’ interns work on the floor with the analysts and executives; some companies’ marketing and communication tactics are made and developed by interns. My first internship was for an app company for fashion photography and I was a big part of the development process for the app’s current functionalities; my second one, which I am continuing to do while at school, I have been a big part of their marketing and social media plans; and my third one, which I do at part-time, I manage their social media and online marketing presence. I have been told that even though I have played a small role in all of these companies, my work has helped. The intern, who does many times work for free, becomes a player and employee of the company and can make a small to big impact on it. But if those opportunities for people to intern are taken away, then it makes it all the more difficult for people to get into some of these companies and industries.
What do you think of Conde Nast not having interns for 2014? What do you think of internships in general? Have you interned before? Please comment below.