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Placements/internships in management and business

Can I get meaningful work experience in business and management while at university?

Yes! A whole range of companies and organisations offer summer internships in their commercial functions, which could include business administration, risk management, sales, purchasing and procurement or HR. Companies that run graduate management schemes – such as in retail or hospitality (eg McDonald’s and Enterprise Rent-A-Car) – usually offer year placements in management, too.

As business and management internships tend to give you an insight into different business functions, they can be a great choice if you know you want to contribute to a commercial enterprise after graduation, but are not sure about the job role you want to take. Find out more about getting a business or management internship.

Summer internships and placements are usually aimed at penultimate-year students, but graduates may be able to gain a graduate-level internship via Step – this organisation promotes short-term internships for graduates with smaller organisations.

Do I need a business degree to get a business or management internship?

Some employers ask for a business- or economics-related degree, but many don’t. Most management internships will accept students studying any degree subject, for example. Browse the vacancies that interest you to discover their exact degree requirements.

What are the deadlines for formal work experience in business and management?

The closing dates vary vastly from sector to sector, so revisit this page regularly to keep on top of new deadlines. However, you can expect most big-name commercial organisations to open their internships in the autumn term and close them in December or January; a few will stay open until spring.

What does the recruitment process involve?

Many graduate employers offer graduate jobs to interns and placement students who have impressed them, so they tend to put internship candidates through a recruitment process similar to those they set up for graduates.

Depending on the organisation, you can expect to:

  • submit an application form, which may include uploading a CV and covering letter
  • take online aptitude tests or take part in a games-based exercise
  • undergo a phone or video interview
  • attend an assessment centre, which may include a group exercise, case study, written task, presentation and/or a second interview

What can I do to impress during the business internship recruitment process?

Recruiters will not expect you to have the same level of knowledge or experience as graduate candidates, but they will be impressed if you can prove that you can think commercially: that is, to be aware of the impact of your decisions on a business’ bottom line. If you have completed a part-time job in a customer-facing role or a business environment, make sure you write about it on your CV. It would also be a good idea to follow the business news to inform your understanding of how larger economic developments could affect the organisation you are applying to.