Connecting summer work with their field of study readies interns for college coursework
When you think of summer jobs for college students, what comes to mind – retail sales, food service, camp counseling? Responsible jobs like these fill the time and pad the wallet for the coming semester, for sure. But they only go so far on the resume if the learning experience doesn’t apply to their career plans post-graduation.
A growing trend for students is to pursue a summer internship with a company whose products or services are related to their degree. Companies are embracing this trend and bringing on these short-term employees because they see mutual benefits: while the intern gains applicable experience and knowledge, the company gains from the student’s contribution plus, in a very competitive market for talent, they potentially pre-recruit a full-time employee after graduation.
MBX is one of these intern-friendly companies, and this summer we hired three students with impressive academic credentials, each pursuing computer engineering-related degrees – two at Milwaukee School of Engineering and one at the University of Illinois. These students worked hands-on with our hardware assembly team, and here are their short stories about how the experience affected them.
Meet the interns!
Tim is a sophomore pursuing his Computer Engineering degree from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. By working in his relevant field of study he said he was able to learn directly how computers are assembled. Tim shared some advice for students pursuing internships, “Definitely look and apply for as many internships as you can, because different companies can offer different experiences in your field of study.”
This semester Tim has coursework directly related to assembling computers and felt like his time at MBX benefited his ability to perform well in his classes. He noted, “I thought I’d enjoy the software side of computers more, but I really enjoy the hardware side.” Tim also said he enjoyed how much teamwork is integrated into MBX and how welcoming the employees were. He said, “The one thing about this summer that surprised me was that coming and working at MBX didn’t exactly feel like work, because I enjoyed it.”
Carolyn is in her senior year at the University of Illinois pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering, and she learned about the internship opportunity at a career fair. Carolyn believes it’s important to get a degree-related internship and experience in the industry, to really get a feel for what you like to do and what’s going on right now.
Carolyn remarked, “Academia can’t prepare you the way that just working over the summer can. The experience gave me a few ideas in terms of classes I should take this year. For instance, I’m taking another coding class because I saw how useful it would be at a job like this.”
Carolyn says a highlight of her internship was “getting to actually see and touch and put together a huge variety of components that I only knew about conceptually. There are many specific things to building technology products that I never thought about before.”
Another advantage that the student interns gain from the experience is learning more about themselves. Carolyn notes, “I learned to have more confidence in myself and never be afraid to ask questions. I’m much more sure of myself and my abilities, now that I have an idea of what to expect in my field. I was also surprised by how easily I fell into the groove of working.”
Christian is entering his freshman year at Milwaukee School of Engineering pursuing his degree in Computer Engineering and expects to graduate in 2022. His summer work has him excited to pursue his career through schooling and suggests every student should try to find a career-oriented work experience.
Christian worked through a variety of different challenges with different hardware systems that gave him an interesting perspective. “It was always a good feeling to finish a difficult task and know that these systems will soon be used in the real world. Not many places out there offer this kind of experience.”
It’s great that these students can show applicable job skills on their resume and feel more confident about their career choice, while also enjoying the work that got them there. Once they graduate their experience will pique the interest of recruiters, and whether it’s at MBX or another great company, their employer will benefit from what the students learned not just inside the classroom but also hands-on through internships.
Find MBX at various Career Fairs in the area and learn about our job opportunities and internships. Meet our recruiters at Milwaukee School of Engineering Annual Career Fair on Friday, September 28, 2018, and see all our open positions on our Careers Page.