How do interns learn experiences

Around a fifth of all university graduates find their way into their first job through practical experience during their studies. This is the result of the study "University degrees in transition" by HIS Hochschul-Informations-System GmbH from 2011. This applies more than average to graduates of engineering and natural sciences, but also to students of psychology and education. The reason is obvious: potential employers get to know the students intensively. If the collaboration is promising, it is not uncommon for an offer to start a career to follow.


Use practical experience during your studies - for example through a project

The first step into the company usually takes place through an internship. Depending on the course of study, compulsory internships that are integrated into the timetable may be required. A particularly high proportion of practical work can often be found among engineers and economists. In some departments, an internship or project work in connection with the thesis is mandatory. If this is the case, there are often contacts with companies that students can use. As a rule, however, you are free to choose the respective company. The aim of this early collaboration between the university and the company is for students to apply the knowledge they have acquired during their studies in real problem situations. Depending on the university, these practical phases planned in the course are called "internship", "project in the company", "practical professional project", "project work" or "practical work". The focus is on project implementation and its written elaboration. The scope and duration of work, credit points and the conditions for grading can be found in the study regulations of their department. Often internships and project work are planned for the end of the course, when the students have successfully passed all examinations in the first semester.

Show initiative

Especially students for whom the study regulations do not provide for compulsory internships or project work should gain experience through voluntary internships. If you are planning to write your thesis in a company, an internship in advance is an ideal opportunity to get to know the employees, the working atmosphere and the internal processes. In contrast to the compulsory internship, voluntary internships must be completed during the lecture-free period. In addition, they are required to receive adequate remuneration as well as a pro-rata vacation. Employment contracts are not stipulated, but it is advantageous for both parties to record the key data of the internship in writing. The brochure "Internships - Benefits for Interns and Companies" from the Federal Ministry of Labor and Education provides a good overview of rights and obligations as well as sample contracts. Both students and companies criticize the often too short practical phases in the bachelor's degree, according to a result of the study "With the bachelor's degree in the job" by the Stifterverband, the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln and the HIS Hochschul-Informations-System GmbH. Especially for bachelor students, due to the tight schedule, voluntary practical experience is often associated with a delay in studying. There is a need for improvement here in many courses.

Accompany the company as a student trainee

Another possibility to be part of the everyday working life of an interesting company is to work as a student trainee. Working students work a maximum of 20 hours a week; this number of hours may only be exceeded during the semester break. In contrast to other student jobs, this activity has a technical proximity to the course of study. Unlike interns, working students work part-time, often for a longer period of time, and are always paid. The hourly wage is between eight and 14 euros. Due to the student status, working students are not subject to social insurance, but usually have to pay into the pension insurance. Another important difference to internships and project work is that working students do not work on a special project, but rather gain insights into various processes in the company over a longer period of time.

Diverse practical experience in various companies offers the opportunity to determine where the professional journey should go in good time before graduation. Often, working in the company during your studies also gives you the opportunity to write your thesis in the company - another stepping stone for direct entry into the company.