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The First Foot in the Door Is Usually an Intern's

July 08, 1994| Associated Press

What do presidential adviser George Stephanopoulos, Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward and Tabitha Soren of MTV news have in common?

They all started their careers as interns.

Internships have long been important channels into careers for high school and college students or recent graduates. But how does that aspiring journalist or government bureaucrat find the best one?

Two recent graduates of Stanford University in Palo Alto have compiled a book that attempts to answer that question.

"America's Top 100 Internships" (Villard Books, $16) promises to help make life a bit easier for students seeking the best internships in the country.

The title is a bit of misnomer. The 100 companies named in the book offer more than 11,000 openings for high school, college and graduate students.

The book was researched and written by Mark Oldman and Samer Hamadeh, who say they wanted to compile something more than "phone book directories" and data bases that they encountered in their own search for internships.

The book is indexed for job type and geographical location. The entries tell the potential intern everything from selectivity and compensation to quality of life at the various internships. There is also a "busywork meter" showing the level of menial tasks that may be required.

Oldman says doing chores can be beneficial in the long run. "Some industries, such as entertainment, have a lot of busywork," he said. "What makes it worth it is that you get to network and meet top minds in the industry."

The authors interviewed former interns from all the internships and give fairly in-depth accounts of what each job is like. From Lucasfilm in San Rafael, the production company of "Star Wars" mastermind George Lucas, to Microsoft, Marvel Comics, the National Basketball Assn. and the Central Intelligence Agency, students get a taste of what's available.

Beyond the essential information, each entry usually has colorful descriptions of "perks" available to interns. For example, Boeing interns get to "test-fly" planes in the company's flight simulator, while Robert Mondavi Winery interns are invited to evening wine tastings.

Interns at Apple Computer set their own hours, participate in seminars and sporting events, receive discounts on Apple products and "great pay" ($600 to $1,100 a week). Interns at Intel, which produces computer chips used worldwide, earn $450 to $1,000 a week, get round-trip travel, housing options, rental cars, seminars and a crack at a permanent position. By 1996, according to the book, 70% of all college graduates Intel hires will come from its intern alumni.

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