Careers advisor challenges summer internships

An Oxford University Careers Service advisor has claimed that students undertaking summer internships feel drained and unfit to continue their final year of study.
Alison Bird told the Financial Times, “You look at the salaries and think it seems a ridiculously high amount but they work very long hours. If they are on the trading floor they will be in at 6 in the morning and some of our students in mergers and acquisitions are working until 10 or 11 at night, which is pretty grim,” she said.
Referring to a group of Oxford interns at a bank in Canary Wharf she visited last August, Bird said, “They were working very long hours and living on takeaways, and I was worried about the health of some of them. When I asked them if the hours had put them off they said they hadn’t because the money was so good.”
John Kirwan, acting Careers Service director, said, “Some of my colleague’s comments seem to have been misinterpreted, so that the views of the Careers Service were misrepresented.”
He said that the Careers Service was fully committed to internships because they were useful in preparing students for full-time work.
“We are very positive about the value of appropriate work experience, including internships, for students,” he said. “As part of broadening their experience and employment prospects, the Careers Service encourages all Oxford University students to gain relevant and realistic work experience suited to their career aspirations.”
Kirwan acknowledged that the placements might have a detrimental effect on academic work, but maintained that they were highly beneficial when students came to apply for jobs.
“The Careers Service actively promotes the publicising of internships and other work experience opportunities, from a wide range of sectors, while recognising that students also need to take into account college regulations and the potential impact of such activities on their academic studies.”
Internships continue to be a popular choice for many students, with the most popular placements being at investment banking firms Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.