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UIDP 1-Minute Survey | Importance of Gaining Corporate Experience

How important is it for those studying in STEM fields to gain formal corporate experience before leaving college? We asked UIDP members about a range of different experiences: lengthy, formal experiences like full-semester internships; formal, short experiences, like micro-mentorships; and informal experiences, like industry presentations to student groups or career fair discussions. Download the results.

Expectations are high that college students will graduate with at least some formal experience in industry. The vast majority of respondents said formal industry experience is extremely important (67%) or very important (27%) for college students seeing a full-time job after graduation. None of the respondents selected “not important.”

For STEM students in particular, respondents rated the levels of importance of three different types of experiences on a scale of one to five.

Interestingly, the weighted average for all the experience types were ranked well above average.

We also asked respondents to consider each type of experience from the point of view of a hiring manager who has not personally met the student and is reviewing resumes. For each of the experience types, we asked whether the experiences were of high, medium, or low impact for moving the student’s resume forward in the hiring process. Lengthy formal experiences, like internships, co-ops, and capstone projects, were ranked highly important by 94% of respondents. A strong majority said short formal experiences and informal experiences were of moderate impact.

But what is the value of the different experiences in terms of value to the student? We asked respondents to consider the time investment for a range of industry experience activities and the value proposition to the student. In this context, a single-semester internship or co-op provides more value to the student than a full-year experience. Not surprisingly, the lowest value is attached to brief in-person encounters at a career fair or attending one-off industry presentations.

Survey fielded Aug. 20-26, 2020 | n=33