Northwestern Mutual Poll Finds Most Summer Internships Are Valuable for Resumes, but Not All Provide Meaningful Work Experience  

As summer internships come to a close, college students nationwide are saying their internships were good resume builders but many lacked in real-world skill-building, according to a poll conducted by Northwestern Mutual on Facebook.

Results of the poll showed that 44 percent of college intern respondents found “adding the experience to their resume” was the most valuable part of their internship. However, the majority of respondents (68 percent) said that on most days they did not work on what they’d hope to do in a full-time career.

“It’s encouraging that students view internships as playing an important role in making themselves more attractive in the job market,” said Steven C. Mannebach, vice president – field growth and development at Northwestern Mutual. “While it’s discouraging that the poll shows a lack of real world work experience gained in many companies, Northwestern Mutual takes great pride in and places a strong emphasis and significant investment on building our industry leading internship program.”

Earlier this year, the Economic Policy Institute, Northeastern University and Drexel University found that more than 50 percent of college graduates under the age of 25 were jobless or unemployed, according to research based on data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and the U.S. Department of Labor.

“In this highly competitive job market, it’s more important than ever for students to do their homework and find the companies that will truly prepare them for life after college,” said Mannebach.

Northwestern Mutual's nationally-acclaimed internship program – now in its 45th year – has been a vital source of the company's future talent and leadership. The company expects that one-third of its financial representative interns will pursue full-time careers with the company after graduation. Almost 50 percent of the company's field leadership – managing partners and managing directors – are former interns.

“Our perspective is that real world experience is the most valuable way to learn and grow. This belief is consistent with the long-term view we take and, in turn, our internship program is a great way for young adults to further their professional development and achieve success in a career that can last a lifetime,” said Mannenbach.

The Facebook poll that Northwestern Mutual conducted about summer internship experiences yielded more than 500 responses from people who completed an internship program. The poll asked if the respondents would suggest their internship to others, if it gave them a valuable experience, and what was the most valuable reward.