What is an internship?

An internship is a work-learning arrangement in which career related work experience is combined with prior academic knowledge. Internships give students a "hands on experience" in a particular field of interest. Students may engage in an internship to gain work experience while also earning academic credit and possibly receive monetary compensation. Internships allow students to apply and expand learning in a particular field of study while also getting invaluable on the job experience.

When do I start looking for an internship?

While some companies may start looking for summer interns in the fall, most don’t start looking until after winter break. It is a good idea to start getting an idea of the field in which you are interested in working and a list of possible companies that you wish to apply. Winter Break could be a good time to put your resume together, so that you don’t have to worry about it once school starts. It might be a good idea to have it critiqued by Career Services. Be sure to watch out for deadlines, as they will vary from company to company. Internship books in Career Services will have listings of deadlines for most internships. In general, the sooner you can start sending out resumes to companies, the better. Starting in the end of January will give you the best chance of getting the internship you want. Be sure to check Lehigh Listings starting no later than January for internship opportunities.

How should I go about getting an internship if I am going abroad?

Even though companies typically recruit for interns in the spring, it is possible to go abroad and still obtain an internship by planning ahead. You should write your resume in the fall and then go to career services to find out what companies usually hire interns. It is important to send out your resume and cover letter explaining your situation prior to the semester break. This in turn will give you the opportunity to interview before you leave to go abroad.

What should I be doing now to ensure I get an internship?

Employees typically look for good grades, computer proficiency, leadership skills or involvement outside of the classroom. By concentrating now on your studies, staying up to date on computer software, and participating in clubs, sports, community service, etc., you will be able to better market yourself on paper as well as in an interview situation.

Why is it important to get an internship?

By obtaining an internship, you will gain first hand exposure to the business world, which is very important particularly when you apply for future jobs. You will also build confidence in a professional setting by observing the structure of a company and the different views of management. Another advantage of an internship is that you will have the chance to make contacts for future, full time employment. Last but not least, you will make money or earn college credit.

What is a good day in the life of an intern?

Any day in which you participate in value-added projects or work is considered good. By stating your expectations up-front and that you are interested in learning all that you can during your internship, you will reduce the chance of partaking in meaningless tasks such as photocopying and faxing.

What should I take away from my internship?

In addition to gaining a competency in the subject area that your internship covers, you should learn how to work in an office environment. Your internship should also enhance your analytical skills and ability to function as a value-added member during group projects-which you will be involved in not only in the classroom but also in future jobs.

How can I receive credits for my internship?

Many people do not receive credit for their summer internships when they are actually able to. A company is required, by law, to make sure the intern is eligible to receive college credit if no other form of compensation is given. So, for those students who will not get paid, credits are a requirement. Even if the internship is paid, credits may still be earned. A student who has accepted an internship should immediately contact the chair of his/her department, to learn specifically how to earn those credits. These steps need to be taken prior to entering into an internship, to ensure that it complies with all regulations. Even if credits may not be earned for an internship, it may still be a good idea to go through with the job. A lot may still be learned even if it will not count for college credits and it makes a great resume builder.

Lehigh offers two internship courses, one for juniors and one for seniors.
Fin 273. Finance Internship I (1 credit)
Based on a student's work experience, a sponsoring faculty member shall direct readings, projects, and other assignments--including a "capstone report." It should be noted that the work experience (at least 80 hours), by itself, is not the basis for academic credit. The faculty directed activity must be provided concurrent with the work. Course registration and related arrangements must be made in advance of the work engagement. This course must be taken Pass/Fail and cannot be used to satisfy finance major requirements.
Prerequisites: Eco 129, Eco 145, Math 51, Acct 151, declaration of a finance major, and department approval.

Fin 373. Finance Internship II (1 credit)
Course description: Based on a student's work experience, a sponsoring faculty member shall direct readings, projects, and other assignments--including a "capstone report." It should be noted that the work experience (at least 80 hours), by itself, is not the basis for academic credit. The faculty directed activity must be provided concurrent with the work. Course content and work experience should have added rigor from Finance Internship I due to the satisfactory completion of the finance core (Fin 323 and Fin 328). Course registration and related arrangements must be made in advance of the work engagement. This course must be taken Pass/Fail and cannot be used to satisfy finance major requirements.
Prerequisites: Fin 323, Fin 328, declaration of a finance major, and department approval.

Each course requires fulfillment of the Internship Contract outlined below:

Internship Contract:

The student must satisfy the following set of requirements before registering for either Fin 273 or Fin 373.
1.    The student must satisfy the prerequisites for the course (For Fin 273, the prerequisites are Eco 129, Eco 145, Math 51, Acct 151, finance major, and department approval. For Fin 373, the prerequisites are Fin 323, Fin 328, finance major, and department approval.)
2.    The student must secure an internship.
3.    The internship supervisor must agree to provide an evaluation of your internship experience at the end of the term. See sample form at the end of this contract.
4.    A contact sheet with the following information must be provided to Professor Kish.
a.    Your name
b.    Your email address
c.    Address and Phone Number
d.    Approximate dates of your internship work
e.    Approximate number of hours per week
f.    Name, title, and phone number of your internship supervisor
g.    Name and address of the firm responsible for your internship
5.    An email from your supervisor outlining the Internship position, as well as, what the student Intern should learn from this experience.
6.    This agreement must be signed and the above information submitted before you register for either Fin 273 or Fin 373.

Name (Print or type):    ____________________________________
Student Signature:     ____________________________________
Date:     _______________________________________________
Approved by:    ________________________________________

To obtain credit for either Fin 273 or Fin 373, the student must complete the following requirements.

7.    During the internship, the student will prepare a weekly log of his/her internship experience. Focus should be on what you learned, as well as what tasks you perform. Thus, the weekly essay (not bullet points) should provide an overview of the internship activities interwoven with the skills mastered. The weekly log (1-page maximum) must be emailed to Professor Kish ( on a weekly basis and are due each Monday. They should include a tally of the hours worked.
8.    A completed evaluation from your supervisor must be received by Professor Kish. Failure to obtain an evaluation in a timely fashion will result in an incomplete for the course until the evaluation is received.
9.    Gather information for your "capstone report" during your internship. This report should be approximately 10 pages of written text (double-spaced), not counting an executive summary, tables, exhibits, and references. Your report will be on a topic related to your internship experience and approved by Professor Kish. This report is due the first day of finals week during the semester in which the internship is undertaken.

•    Executive Summary: Each write-up must include an executive summary. The executive summary is a one-page essay overview of everything covered within your report, including the overall solution (1 page Maximum). It is not an introduction and is not to be in bullets.
•    Body of Report: The body of the report should include an introduction and a conclusion. Your report should address all the questions presented within the assignment as well as factors that are disturbing such as limiting assumptions or ethical implications of suggested alternatives. DO NOT write your report in the style of "The answer to question 1 is . . .". Also resist the temptation to use statements like "See Exhibit 3" without explaining the data within the text of the report. Expand the statement to something like the following: "The current ratio is 2.3x, which is below the industry and peer group average, and it has been declining over time.  See Exhibit 3 for a detailed analysis of the ratio calculations." Be sure to include page numbers.
•    Exhibits:  Tables, graphs, and detailed equations should be placed in exhibits to avoid disrupting the flow of the report. Exhibits should be used to illustrate, explain, and elaborate on points made in the report text, but it should be possible for the reader to follow the report without ever referring to the exhibits. Exhibits should also be stand-alone documents, so include relevant titles and highlight the important figures or equations. All exhibits must be tied into the text. Show only the relevant number of decimal places when reporting numbers.
•    References

10.    Depending upon the quality of the internship experience, other work may be assigned.
Internship Evaluation Form

To the Internship/Work Supervisor:
    In order to evaluate the intern’s work, award academic credit for the internship, and offer appropriate career guidance, we ask that you provide an honest appraisal of the student’s work.  This evaluation form is required for the student to receive credit for the internship.

Thank you for your time.

Please return to:    Richard J. Kish
                Chair, Perella Department of Finance
                Lehigh University   
                621 Taylor Street
                Bethlehem, PA 18015
Or email to:

Student Name:  _______________________________________________________________
Internship Dates and Duration:  ___________________________________________________
Name of Internship/Work Supervisor:  _____________________________________________
Title:  _________________________  Organization: __________________________________

Brief description of work performed:

Assess the quality of student’s work (circle one):
Excellent        Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor

Describe the student’s greatest strength:

Give suggestions for the student’s professional development:

Please rate the student’s performance, based on the following criteria:
Ability to solve problems:   
Excellent         Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor              NA
Follows instructions carefully and accurately:
Excellent         Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor              NA
Follows through on projects:
Excellent         Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor              NA
Meets deadlines:
Excellent         Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor              NA
Speaks clearly on the telephone:
Excellent         Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor              NA
Communicates well with co-workers:
Excellent         Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor              NA
Communicates appropriately in work situation:
Excellent         Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor              NA
Uses proper spelling and grammar in writing:
Excellent         Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor              NA
Is organized and accurate:
Excellent         Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor              NA
Maintains a professional appearance:
Excellent         Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor              NA
Maintains a professional manner:
Excellent         Good        Fair        Below Average        Poor              NA
Additional Comments:

Signature of Supervisor: ________________________________  Date: ____________________

How Do I Get an Internship?

Numerous companies offer summer internship opportunities. Going about obtaining an internship is the responsibility of the potential intern, since it is rare for companies to recruit interns. Here are a few suggestions on how to get started:

Asking relatives or friends for contact information is a great way to pursue an internship. Get as many phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and company addresses as possible. Then, take the initiative to make that first phone call or letter. You’ll be surprised how far your eagerness will take you. Create a list of companies you would like to intern with. Then, look up their web page on the Internet. Most companies will list the addresses or phone numbers of people to contact for internship information. If that information is not listed, find the address or phone number of somebody in human resources. If the company you wish to intern with does not have a web page, then find the companies address or phone number in the local business journal of the city where the company is located. Career Services can be a very useful resource in your search for an internship. Often times, underclassmen view Career Services as an office where seniors spend all their spare time trying to tie up a job for after graduation. While that may be true, Career Services provides a great deal more to the entire student body and can be extremely useful in helping you obtain an internship. Several of the key services offered through Career Services include:
  1. Career Counseling

  2. Students can schedule times to come in and talk with staff members about any questions they might have regarding specific careers. Self-assessment guides are also available for students who are unsure as to what career might best suite them.
  3. Career Library

  4. Provides an extensive collection of books and videos about various careers, graduate schools, and employment opportunities.
  5. Lehigh University Career Advising Network (LUCAN)

  6. Allows students to access a database of Lehigh alumni who are willing to discuss career advise with undergraduate students.
  7. Job Notices

  8. An up-to-date list of specific employment opportunities is available on Lehigh Listings On-Line which includes internship positions.
  9. Career Fairs

  10. Gives students the opportunity to discuss possibilities for employment as well as internships with a variety of employers.
  11. Critiques

  12. As a good resume and cover letter is essential for obtaining an internship, Career Services provides a critique service. Simply drop them off at the office and they will be returned promptly with comments that will help in refining the documents.
  13. Workshops

  14. A variety of topics including resume writing, interviewing techniques, job search strategies, and summer jobs are covered in these sessions.
  15. Mock Interviews

  16. In order to better prepare for an interview, Career Services provides students the opportunity to practice their interviewing skills and have them reviewed by a counselor.
  17. Materials

  18. Career Services publishes its annual Job Search Manual, which can be picked up free of charge in the Career Services office located on the 4th floor of the Rauch Business Center. It provides a great deal of information including sample resumes and cover letters. It also provides a list of web sites that can assist students seeking internships.

This brief overview on internships was put together by the Fall 1998 Internship Class. Hopefully their responses will help you as you search for an internship. Remember, it’s never too early to start looking. Good luck!