What’s an Externship & What Should I Expect?

Students have many opportunities to really kickstart their career journey while still in school. There’s the quintessential summer internship, on- and off-campus jobs, chances to connect with alumni and professionals, and more. Less common, however, is the externship. Here’s what you need to know. 

They’re short. 

When I attended an externship at Cornerstone Research, it was a one-day event. Longer ones exist, some even lasting eight weeks, but for the most part, they’re more likely to be a day or two, or maybe a week. 

They’re a great opportunity to network. 

Externships tend to focus on job shadowing, which gives you the chance to really connect with an employee and see what their typical day or week looks like. They can also include Q&A panels, lunches with staff members, and other opportunities to mingle, both with company employees and fellow students. 

They provide valuable insights into the company.

Most externships start with a general presentation or overview of the company, and then incorporate various events focused on different aspects of the job, all hosted by different people. This allows you to gain perspective through different viewpoints. In my experience, I had the chance to learn about Cornerstone Research by listening to presentations given by junior analysts, senior analysts, senior staff, and even former employees. 

They focus more on information, rather than action. 

Internships give you experience in carrying out certain actions, but externships focus on conveying information. I took notes during my externship throughout the day— during the morning presentation, in the mock case interview session, and while the company’s “alumni” (former employees that were now in advanced programs, like MBA or PhD) shared their stories. 

They can lead to an internship. 

Many externships act as advertising for internships. While you may not be getting that hands-on experience in one day, a lot of the information presented can help you figure out if the company as a whole, or even just their internship program, may align with your skills and goals. You may even get some helpful tips about the internship interviewing process!

Overall, externships are great opportunities to help you delve a little deeper into a specific job, company, or career path. While they differ from internships, they provide a different set of advantages and benefits that you’ll be able to use in your career journey. 

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