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What It Takes to Get an Internship

By Caden Lopez

According to Lily Zhang from The Muse, “An internship is a short-term work experience offered by companies and other organizations for people—usually students, but not always —to get some entry-level exposure to a particular industry or field. It is as much of a learning experience as it is work.” Getting an internship isn’t always easy, especially when you have to meet certain criteria. Many individuals will allow for an internship with no previous experience for free; but when it comes to working for a big-name university, or a corporate job, some background in the field is usually required, whether it be classes taken or actual job experience.

To get more information on this topic, I interviewed a professor of mine who teaches in the field of Sports Management. Dr. Yong Wang has worked with the NBA, interviewing multiple famous basketball players, and also working in China for one of the major basketball leagues as well. He gave me some very valuable information when it comes to internships.

As Dr. Wang has had many internships himself, his biggest factor in first impressions is how you dress. If the occasion calls for it, wear a suit, and if your meeting is very official, you should match your suit and tie, with some shiny dress shoes, of course. Dr. Wang was also asked what the most important step in securing an internship was. Dr. Wang said that communication throughout the whole process, how you talk to them, either through email or in person, sending a follow-up thank you note after interviews, how transparent you are with time, and more are all important throughout the interviewing process.

My last few questions were more about failing and how to keep going. I asked Dr. Wang what he thought people should do if they fail to get an internship or even an interview. Responding like a true professional, Dr. Wang goes on to say, “It happens, learn from your mistakes, and go for the next one available”. I found this to be a great response, as you are not going to get every job or position simply by applying for it. People can sometimes forget that it takes time, effort, and dedication to do important things, especially in getting an internship.

The last question I had for Dr. Wang was any advice he had for people currently trying to get an internship. He said, “Try to explore all your opportunities, don’t be lazy, and don’t do anything last minute”. Dr. Wang again alludes to that sense of urgency that more people should have, especially when chasing an internship.

You may be asking: What about pay? Well, there are paid and unpaid internships, however thankfully if you have an unpaid internship, you will most likely receive another form of compensation; healthcare, credits for school, items, etc. Thankfully most internships are paid for, with most making “about $18.50 an hour. Graduate students got paid a fair bit more, with doctoral students making an average of $32.35 an hour” (Zhang). As far as the unpaid, “In theory, unpaid internships are mostly learning rather than work experiences” (Zhang).

Overall, applying and interviewing for an internship is similar to getting an important job. You are most likely going to fight for that spot you want and will have to present yourself very nicely to impress the people you are trying to work for or learn from. With perseverance, dedication, and willingness to improve and accept mistakes, you can get that internship, and maybe even land yourself a job along with it in the future.

Works cited:

Zhang, Lily. “What Is an Internship and How Do You Get One?” The Muse, The Muse, 24 Sept. 2019,

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