BLUF: My boss doesn't see the benefit of having summer interns. What's the best way to convince him of the benefit?


Basically, our company (large-cap) has a fairly generous internship policy for students, but my boss doesn't really see the benefit of them. While most departments get 3-4+, this summer, we will only have 1, and it doesn't seem like it was a priority for him this year( with regards to organizing and the like). I feel this is an unfortunate development, both because I am in charge of supervising the interns (which hopefully will be a stepping stone towards becoming an actual manager), and because, as someone who has benefited from an internship a few years ago, I feel like I owe it to others who are starting out to give them the means to give them their first step in our field.

Talking to my boss about it, he explains, from his past experiences, that he thinks internships benefit the intern much more than the company, and that by the end of the 10-weeks or so, they are just getting up to speed, especially because we are a technically oriented department and do fairly high-level work. He would rather take the energy towards training/developing/supervising the interns towards our actual work. He made it clear that he could have had more had he requested them, but chose not to for that reason.

It is probably too late to affect this year, but I think that next year will probably have 0, and that would be unfortunate, so I'd like to ask people for some ideas on how to best show the benefits of our department having a summer internship program.


mdave's picture

You mention that your boss is the one organizing (I assume selecting the interns and  lining up the work and such) and that you are supervising them. It may be a good opportunity next year for you to develop and organize the workload, select and supervise the interns, and champion the results (which, of course demonstrates cost effective results tied into key organizational metrics (e.g. "actual work" as you call it), and flagging the best for possible post-graduation recruitment). It might be good additional  management experience for you as well .  You might consider looking at the work that the other departments use interns for. It may give you some ideas to get more out of them in the 10-week rotation and address some of your boss's concerns if you opt to present a proposal. Best wishes.

bug_girl's picture

One of the key benefits to internships is the identification and training of new talent. Don't forget to use that when you implement mdave's excellent suggestions. 

Having lots of up front prep *before* the interns arrive is the key to getting them to be productive in a short time.  If you don't start planning where they will sit, what resources they'll need, and what they will do until after they arrive, you won't get a lot out of it.

I love having interns, even though they are lots of work and have a fair amount of dramaz. 

Their joy and excitement keeps all of us happy about our jobs, and lets us feel like we are giving back, just as you mention.  It's a good thing, and I hope you're successful!