332 to participate in externship program

In 16th year, 260 MIT alumni sponsors offer IAP opportunities for students

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Now in its 16th year, MIT’s Externship Program will connect 332 undergraduate and graduate students to alumni-sponsored externships this January during Independent Activities Period (IAP). Run by the MIT Alumni Association, the program began offering short winter internships (“externships”) in 1997 for 20 to 25 students in its formative years. This year’s 332 is a new record, over last year’s 294 participants, according to numbers provided by Katie C. Maloney, Director of Parent Association and Student/Alumni Relations.

The first round of matched students were notified on Nov. 13 and were given until Nov. 15 to accept or decline their match, after which second round offers were announced on Nov. 19. In total, 444 applicants received offers this year, and 332 of those students accepted their offers.

This year 260 alumni sponsors offered externship opportunities through the program, seeking a total of 666 externs for 333 opportunities. Students applied to the opportunities by uploading a resume and a cover letter for each opportunity in which they were interested, for up to three applications per person. A total of 819 students applied, of which 686 were undergraduates and 133 were graduate students. These students submitted a total of 1844 externship applications, for an average of about 2.25 applications per student. Records were also set for the numbers of applicants and applications, surpassing last year’s 758 applicants (636 undergraduates and 122 graduates) and 1807 applications.

Externships are a great way to try new things, said Allison Z. Koenecke ’14, who has participated in an externship through MIT’s program every IAP in her time at MIT thus far and accepted an externship offer at NERA Economic Consulting for this coming January. She sees the program as an opportunity to sample a number of areas, having previously worked at Autotegrity in data analytics and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Yuqing Zhang ’16, who accepted an offer to be an assistant trader extern at Jane Street, hopes to get “a better picture of what a career in trading entails and whether it’s right for me.”

Positions in the financial industry were especially popular, as has been the trend for the last several years, taking four spots of the top five most popular postings. Jane Street Capital’s assistant trader position topped the list, receiving 65 applications, followed by 43 for J.P. Morgan’s investment banking position, 40 for Oliver Wyman’s financial services management consultant position, 38 for Quora’s software engineer position, and 34 for Five Rings Capital’s trader position.

For career comparisons, the Class of 2012 Senior Survey released over the summer indicated a similar trend. Of the respondents, 39.1 percent said they expected to be employed either full-time or part-time — of those, engineering, computer science/technology, consulting, and financial services encompassed the largest percentages, with 25.8 percent, 17.4 percent, 15.1 percent, and 10 percent respectively.