MIT Sloan Raises Money From Alums For Internships

Posted by: Alison Damast on June 26, 2009

Career services directors at business schools have really had to rack their heads this summer to help students find internships. For many, creativity has been the name of the game. I wrote an article back in April about the efforts that school such as the Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business were taking to ensure students had something to put on their resume. As I reported, the once unheard of unpaid internship has become commonplace and students have been taking up summer jobs that, in headier economic times, they never would have dreamed of considering.

Here’s one more example of a school that is getting creative about helping MBAs land positions. At the MIT Sloan School of Management, the school was able to raise $50,000 from alumni to help students who wanted to work at start-ups or in the field of sustainability, according to a school press release. The school’s faculty allocated that money to firms that agreed to hire those students, allowing the companies to provide students with a stipend for their work.

Many of the start-ups the school reached out to were eager to have business school students work for them, but were unable to provide them with any compensation, says Jackie Wilbur, director of MIT Sloan’s Career Development Office. “Start-ups had the need for interns but were only able to offer little or no compensation,” Wilbur says.

The school reached out to a number of start-ups who had expressed interest in hiring students once they raised the money. Says Richard Locke, an MIT Professor: “Essentially, we created a subsidy for firms who were interested in having smart MBA students work on sustainability-related project.”

Companies that hired students included Boston start-up, WishClipper, a personal shopping Web site and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, a private foundation based in San Francisco that works for gay and immigration rights. “The grant was a great relief,” says Tripti Thapa, a student who secured an internship with the Haas Jr. fund. “I have loans to pay post-graduation, and I didn’t’ want to have loans for the summer, too.”

In addition to those funds, the school encouraged students who wanted to work on sustainability projects to apply for grants from the Sloan Non-Profit Internship fund. The work of the school appears to have paid off, with 96% of the class of 2010 securing summer internships, according to Jackie Wilbur, director of MIT Sloan’s Career Development Office.

Readers, has your school been especially proactive about helping you find an internship this summer? What type of internships did they help you find?

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