The top ten employers with commercial graduate schemes and internships

Which are the most popular graduate employers that offer commercial and business opportunities? Our survey says...

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Most vacancies are open to graduates of any degree subject.

Through taking part in Cibyl's latest Graduate Survey, 71,713 students from 140 universities chose their favourite graduate employers. Cybil is a research owned by the same parent company as TARGETjobs and formerly known as Trendence. To help you start your own job search, we reveal the ten most popular employers that offer business and commercial roles for students and graduates.

Find out more about the Graduate Survey and its methodology

The top ten graduate employers with commercial graduate programmes and internships

  1. Google. Google advertises graduate-level jobs and summer internships in its business function on an ad hoc basis.
  2. Cancer Research UK. It may surprise you that a charity would have a business graduate scheme, but even charities need to be financially sustainable – and Cancer Research UK’s graduate programme includes streams in finance and HR and in fundraising and marketing. Cancer Research UK also runs an internship that covers many of the charity’s departments.
  3. BBC. The broadcaster doesn’t just offer TV production or journalism schemes, it also offers graduate schemes in communications and safety. Jobs in its business-related departments suitable for graduate may be advertised on an ad hoc basis. It also runs ‘business support and technology’ work experience schemes in London and Salford.
  4. GSK. GSK runs its ‘graduate future leaders’ programmes in various business operations, and sales and marketing functions – from communications and HR to procurement. It also offers summer internships and industrial placement years in similar areas for students from any degree discipline.
  5. MI6 – Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Did you know that you could join MI6 as a business support officer? You might be facilitating the teams gathering intelligence or joining one of the corporate teams ensuring the smooth functioning of the service. These roles are open to British citizens with GCSEs.
  6. Amazon. Amazon offers commercial graduate schemes for graduates, such as a business development scheme for students with engineering, commerce or business degrees. It also offers business-related graduate jobs and internships on an ad hoc basis. Roles could be in areas such as sales/advertising/account management, business development, HR and marketing/PR.
  7. J.P. Morgan. This financial services firm runs all of the finance and banking programmes that you’d expect, but also offers a number of internships and graduate programmes in its cross-firm functions, including a global finance and business management programme and a human resources analyst scheme.
  8. MI5 – The Security Service. MI5 has a business enablers graduate programme, which places you in various corporate posts such as in the finance, HR, security and legal teams. This programme is open to graduates with at least a 2.2 in any degree discipline.
  9. Civil Service Fast Stream. The Fast Stream is the name of the Civil Service’s graduate scheme, which supports the work of the government. It runs a number of schemes in commercial-related areas, which are open to graduates with a 2.2 in any subject: these include a commercial, human resources and project delivery scheme, as well as a generalist stream. There are also internship and work experience schemes for students from underrepresented backgrounds.
  10. Microsoft. Microsoft runs graduate programmes in specialisms including customer success management and project management. It also offers internships in areas such as finance, marketing and sales.

Most programmes mentioned above are open to all degree subjects; some, but not all, require a 2.1 minimum. However, the vacancies offered by graduate employers – and the degree subjects they require – can change, so check out the individual company websites for roles you’re interested in.

Search for commercial graduate programmes and business jobs

There are, of course, a huge range of business-focused vacancies outside of these top ten:

How to choose the best graduate employer for you

There are essentially two types of commercial graduate programmes on offer: those schemes that rotate you around different business functions and those that place you in one commercial function (such as marketing). When choosing where to apply, think about whether experiencing a breadth of roles or specialising from the start would best suit your career ambitions.

Look, too, into the employers offering the graduate programmes. The truth is that you won’t have time to apply to a huge numbers of employers – or at least not if you want your applications to be sufficiently high quality to get you interviews. Instead, start with a shortlist of your preferred organisations (say your top three). Once you have applied to them, you can move to the next three on your list and so on. This will give you the space to tailor your applications in the way that the recruiters expect.

But how do you identify your preferred employers? Pinpoint what is most important to you. Is it the type of training that you’d receive? Support for a professional qualification? The potential for rapid promotion? Maintaining a good work/life balance? A high starting salary? The employer’s values or approach to sustainability? Once you have your criteria, see which employers match them. You might find it helpful to keep a scorecard. Doing this will also help you articulate genuine reasons for wanting to work at that company – something that all employers want to see.

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