When we talk about internships, most people by default assume the candidate to be an undergraduate. And it is natural considering that we have witnessed an exponential rise in the number of undergraduate students participating in an internship. However, internships are not only meant for college students. Many recent graduates and postgraduates are also opting for internships as a way to segue into a new career field.
But the thing is that both the motive and the working of internship in undergraduates vary from that of postgraduates. Here is how internships differ for postgraduate versus undergraduates:
Postgraduates opt for an internship in the career of their choice instead of their education stream
In the case of undergraduate students, you will mostly witness a computer science student opting for an internship in the field of computer programming, an electrical student in his field and so on. However, many postgraduate students opt for an internship in a particular field because they want to understand the career stream and know if that is something they really want to pursue further. Many times postgraduates leave a job offer in the area of their education just to try something totally new.
Postgraduate Internships help to gain work experience while undergraduate internships are about earning internship credits.
Job applicants with prior postgraduate internship experience are often preferred by employers because of the knowledge and skills they have gained through internship and that is why most postgraduate internships are like on-job training where you work to gain skill and experience
On the other hand, undergraduate internships are meant for earning job experience as well as for earning internships credit which is mandatory for an undergraduate to complete his/her degree course
Postgraduate Internships are paid more as compared to undergraduate internships
And correctly so. An undergraduate student is still in the learning phase and may or may not add any substantial value to the organization. Postgraduates are, however, better skilled and qualified to add value to the company from the day they join the internships and hence are paid more than undergraduate interns.
Postgraduate internships versus full-time job is a choice
Undergraduate students do not have this choice. They cannot opt for a full-time job before the completion of degree and the only option they have is to pursue an internship. Postgraduates, on the other hand, can make a choice and decide whether they want to opt for a full-time job or an internship. They sometimes opt for internships during a career transition to gain experience in the new field by giving up on job offer.
Undergraduate internships are mandatory, postgraduate internships are not
The Indian government has made it mandatory for undergraduate students to complete at least 3 internships. Failing to do which can hamper the completion of your degree course. However, there is no such rule for postgraduate internships and it is completely out of choice.
The bottom line
Whether it is a postgraduate or an undergraduate internship, internships always help in honing your skills and giving you the exposure of the corporate world. And in many cases might land you a full-time job offer. Win-win for all.