Record 294 participate in MIT Externship Program
This January, 294 MIT students will participate in internships around the world through the MIT Externship Program. The program, run by the Alumni Association, matches current students with MIT alumni to introduce them to the professional world.
“We’ve found this to be one of our most successful student-alumni relation programs,” said Katie C. Maloney, Director of Student Alumni Relations and coordinator of the Externship Program. “That’s why it’s required that an alum serve as a sponsor.”
Since its inception in 1997, the Externship Program has grown from an initial group of 20 or 25 students to what it is today. Maloney attributes the program’s growth to “students having successful externships and telling other people about the program.”
“It was done all by hand,” Maloney said of the program’s initial year. “Since then, the process has grown where it’s completely online and paperless, and we have this matching algorithm to do the matching.”
This year, MIT students reviewed the listings on the Externship Program website from Sept. 21 to Oct. 12 and submitted applications to up to three externship opportunities. In order to apply, students had to submit a resume and cover letter to each listing of interest. The applications were then sent to the MIT alumni sponsoring the externships. The sponsors reviewed the applications, and were allowed to conduct independent interviews with students. Finally, the sponsors returned a list of students that they thought were qualified. A matching algorithm, developed by David Yang ’96, was used to maximize the number of matches.
According to Maloney, 758 students, including 636 undergraduates and 122 graduates, applied for externships this year. Of these, 380 matches were generated, and 294 offers were accepted.
“I believe this year was our biggest year in terms of number of students, number of alumni, and number of matches,” added Maloney.
—Jesse D. Kirkpatrick