If you meet a student in college who tells you he or she has an internship with a company in the digital business, you should have a new, profound respect for this kid. Today’s internships are not about the old grind of filing, reception work, or getting coffee for the staff. Today’s internships bring a whole new meaning to survival of the fittest.
Many digital companies use the internship program as a research lab for discovering new genius talent. Finding the next Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, or Steve Jobs doesn’t happen in a job interview. It is more of a scouting process, similar to sports.
Digital interns are under tremendous scrutiny by those who are responsible for hiring the best of breed. Interns are given daily challenges that only can be compared to the endurance of pledging for a sorority or fraternity. The tasks are so daunting that less than half of the interns last the full semester.
Not every young person is prepared to travel to foreign countries for research, play mind games that test for confidence, or have the skills to lead a new business pursuit.
These kind of skills are usually cultivated after years of experience. However, digital companies look for clues that certain students possess that show signs of what they characterize as unique qualities.
Being a digital intern also comes with major perks: high-end bicycles, free meals from nations around the world, weekend retreats, and premium housing.
I am reminded of all the stories I’ve heard over the years from young friends by the new movie, “The Internship.” Starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, the hilarious duo from “The Wedding Crashers,” this brilliant comedy illustrates the daily, mind-blowing challenges facing interns in the digital industry today. The script was surprisingly written by Vaughn and former New York Post entertainment writer Jared Paul Stern. It was produced by Vaughn and Shawn Levy.
After you see this movie, you will be very happy to be an older person away from the maddening competition.