Struggling to Find an Internship? Are You The Problem?

By: Kaylie Shadburn 

With summer break nearing closer and closer, the search for internship opportunities is in full swing. Yet, unlike in previous years, students are struggling to secure positions, leaving some feeling disheartened and questioning: “Am I the problem?”

While all students are encouraged to gain experience in their desired industries, students in the Fermanian School of Business (FSB) are required to complete an internship with a minimum of 90 hours to graduate, thus increasing the pressure.

Third-year business administration student, Gaby Bruce is one of many students facing the challenges of finding an opportunity to fill her requirement. 

“I really do appreciate that the FSB pushes their students to get experience in their field before they graduate; however, I’ve found the internship search process to be quite challenging,” said Bruce. “FSB has all the resources necessary for students to successfully find internships, but I think the challenges come in the actual application process where there are hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students applying for the same positions.” 

Aside from finding opportunities and going through the application process, Bruce said she also has concerns about her application even making it through the sea of other applicants. 

“Most applications I’ve found are done through third parties, which adds to the stress that my application isn’t actually being seen,” said Bruce. “I’ve applied to about 10 places now, and 

have only heard back from two, even though I applied weeks or months ago.” 

Nick Cho, a third-year business administration student with a minor in chemistry, finds himself in a similar situation. 

“Getting an internship for this upcoming summer has been much more difficult than I expected,” said Cho. “I still find myself constantly applying to various internships just to hear back from a few.” 

So is the problem the students or the application process? Director of Career Services and business professor Nick Wolf assures students that it may not be either. 

“Same time last year we had 24 new internships posted by 11 different companies in one week. In that same week period this year, we had 15 posted by three companies and most of them were accounting positions for next year,” said Wolf. 

Wolf said that San Diego companies, in general, are just not offering as many internships as they have in the past. 

“We’re probably down 100 internships this month,” said Wolf. 

Wolf presumes that it may be due to concerns of having to let go of full-time employees in the upcoming months, but also that companies are only seeking interns who can provide technical skills to the position. 

“Companies are more geared towards interns in terms of their hard skills,” said Wolf. “If they’re looking for data analytics, that’s typically going to be done by a science or math student.” 

Wolf said he has also noticed that businesses are posting job opportunities later in the year than usual, leading to panic due to the scarcity of available positions this late in the game. He believes companies are thinking through their options and capabilities to take on interns, asking questions such as, “Do we have the budget or the need to take this on?”

“They’re waiting for the last second if they do it at all,” said Wolf. 

Career advisor Evi Alvarez at Career Services hopes to reassure students that they are supported through their internship search process. 

“Whether it’s identifying suitable opportunities, polishing your resume, or acing those interviews, we’ve got your back every step of the way,” said Alvarez.