As many of you embark on your summer internship applications in the new academic year, I thought it would be appropriate to draw your attention to one of the LSE programmes that assisted me in landing three internship offers during the first year of my undergraduate studies! So, without further delay, let me introduce you to the LSE Internship Fund Scheme…
What is the LSE Internship Fund Scheme?
The LSE Internship Fund Scheme is an initiative put forward by the Departments of International Relations and Social Policy to assist individuals in gaining an internship in the first and second years of their undergraduate programme. The scheme offers eligible students to apply for a grant, which allows them to undertake an internship that typically would have been unpaid. While these internships are self-sourced by undergraduates, it presents an opportunity for pupils to gain real-world industrial experience and build their professional skills throughout the summer. The only catch is that the Internship Fund Scheme exclusively covers summer internships in charities and small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the United Kingdom! However, this is even better since it means you’ll get more exposure to the industry than if you were interning at a large corporation, where you might sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed. For further details about the Internship Fund Scheme, please click here.
How did I acquire three internship offers during my first year with the scheme?
After applying for the Internship Fund Scheme in late January, I was delighted to receive an email stating that I had received funding. I then began to meticulously select the organisations that I wished to apply for, ensuring that they were under the criteria set out by the programme, either charities or SMEs. The programme organisers also had a list of organisations that had partnered and hosted interns in preceding cohorts, which was helpful, considering prior to this, I had to cold email organisations and firms. Albeit most firms did not respond to these emails, I persevered and was able to land a few interviews. The organising committee then urged me to contact the LSE Careers team for assistance as the deadline for securing an internship was fast approaching.
Fortunately, LSE has an excellent Careers team who prepared me for these interviews. As a result, I was able to schedule one-on-one mock interviews with various team members, which was valuable and something I would strongly suggest to anybody seeking employment or internships. Following my Microsoft Teams discussions with the Careers team, they frequently followed up to check on my progress and inquired if I had received an offer. Still, they also presented ideas and areas to improve on after listening to my replies in the mock interviews. This enabled me to gain confidence in front of the camera and resulted in three offers!
Did my experience help me during the application season in my second year?
The short answer is that it very surely did! I can’t believe how much my first application season experience helped me with the applications I completed in my second year. One of the many lessons I took away from the programme was never to give up and to never settle for anything less than your best. When submitting applications, it’s always about the quality of the applications as opposed to the quantity. Rather than pumping out applications to feel like you had a productive day, I soon came to realise less is always more. In light of this epiphany, the quality of my applications improved significantly in my second year, allowing me to receive more offers. Furthermore, the internship reinforced my desire to work in finance rather than any other industry. Another crucial takeaway I realised is that it is always best to accumulate as much experience as possible under your belt to ensure you know what industries you’d like to apply to in the following application season!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me on LinkedIn or leave them in the comments section below, and I’ll be delighted to provide any support or insight into the programme!