California is students’ top externship destination

IBM drastically increases acceptances after recent partnership with MIT

1425 students sent in 3686 applications to the MIT Alumni Association’s Externship Program this year, according to Elena Byrne, Assistant Director of Student Alumni relations at the MIT Alumni Association. Of the 517 students who received matches from companies, 420 accepted their externship offers to work with alumni sponsors this January.

The externs for this year consist of 58 freshmen, 133 sophomores, 138 juniors, 70 seniors, and 21 graduate students.

Companies offered a total of 717 externships with 287 alumni participating and 183 alumni hosting externships for the upcoming Independent Activities Period. California, New York, and Boston were the top externship locations this year, with 98, 72, and 46 externs, respectively.

The Alumni Association’s externship program began in 1997 and has grown from an initial group of 20 to 25 students to what it is today. According to Byrne, the program aims to provide an exploratory experience for students in their hometown with a local alumnus.

Byrne also said that the externship program helps alumni by increasing student awareness about opportunities in their fields, introducing them to potential summer interns and future employees, building satisfying and lasting mentor relationships, and reconnecting alumni with MIT and the student experience.

The most popular externships included opportunities at IBM, Hudson River Trading, Millennium Space Systems, Tech Square Trading, Microsoft, RightHand Robotics, Five Rings Capital, Twitch Interactive, Inc., Quizlet, Five Rings Capital, and NASDAQ OMX, with IBM receiving 280 applications.

Dr. Dario Gil PhD ’03, Vice President of AI and IBM Q, wrote in an email sent to The Tech that “this year alone, IBM will host 31 MIT student externs, which has grown from 2 students two years ago. This is due, in part, to the recently announced partnership with MIT on the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab.”