If you live in the “Windy City,” you know that the weather isn’t the only thing that’s cold. Although the iconic architecture and amazing food can make Chicago a fun place to call home, breaking into the job market can feel like cold-calling employers. Even if Chicago isn’t as packed as New York, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t just as hard to find a good job that helps pay the bills. However, if you know where to go, there are a plethora of internship opportunities for students that aren’t just being a coffee transporter.
Let’s talk about some companies located in Chicago and how you could find an internship with them.
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
Arguably one of the most iconic companies in Chicago, you’ve definitely seen Hyatt Hotels & Resorts around. From Hyatt Regency Chicago, the seventh-largest hotel in the world, to the various globally recognized movie locations, such as Park Hyatt Tokyo in Lost in Translation, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is truly a luxury brand. However, this doesn’t mean that internships are impossible or that there are no opportunities for entry-level graduates.
Hyatt hosts multiple university programs for students and recent graduates. The time commitment for student opportunities is also very manageable, ranging from 3-5 hours a week for the campus ambassador program. If you really want to really sink your teeth into the hospitality industry, there is also a summer internship opportunity that lasts 3 months and allows you to shadow hotel leaders and participate in hotel meetings. Not only can you list a large luxury corporation on your resume, the relatively low time investment also allows you to pursue other opportunities or internships, if you are available.
McKinsey & Company
Founded in 1926 by a University of Chicago professor, McKinsey & Company later grew into the global consulting firm it is today. However, because it is of the “Big 3” consulting firms, it can be very difficult to get a job there, with a success rate of just 1%! This is why getting an internship can be your fast-track to landing a job at this prestigious consulting firm, and why your application needs to be top-tier in order to be successful.
Make sure to network before you get in. It’s common for the “Big 3” to take students from the top business schools, but it doesn't mean that only those students will get in. Talk to your professors or LinkedIn connections for advice and networking opportunities. You will also need to take the PST, a problem solving test for potential McKinsey & Company employees, before you even get to your first interview, so make sure to be prepared. The hardest part of the test isn't the questions, but getting them all done during a short time frame, which is why practice is key.
Although United Airlines has offices across the world, it is headquartered in Chicago, making any internship there valuable for networking within the company and beyond. Since it doesn’t have an established internship program, it can be hard to find opportunities. However, don't let that unsettle you. Depending on the time of year and availability of positions, there are opportunities in fields such as corporate communications, technical operations, corporate real estate, and more. There are also extensive travel perks for interns, with unlimited standby travel and discounted airfare to anywhere they want to fly.
Similar to McKinsey & Company, Deloitte is known as one of the “Big 4,” but this time in accounting. Unlike most internships in corporations that typically want seniors, Deloitte internships are open starting sophomore year, which allows you to get a head start on your career. Although, even if you don’t get into an internship (which is reasonable considering how competitive applications can be), there are still many options to choose from. From national case competitions to conferences, there is a learning option out there for any type of student who wants to dip their toes in the accounting field.
You can also “attend” Deloitte University, a place where interns and potential recruits can travel to learn new skills and experience cutting edge technologies, such as holograms, used in the industry. 96% of the Fortune 100 have had events at the main campus, which only emphasizes how important this “university” can be for networking purposes.
Perfect Search Media
Perfect Search Media represents the best of the best with its digital marketing campaigns with a focus on search and social media marketing. From the New York Film Academy to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, working here means connecting with influential companies across multiple industries. All of Perfect Search Media’s internships are flexible, with 3 days or less in the office, and some remote options available. However, the small nature of the company means that internship spots may not be widely available. If you want to pursue a different route, you can also become a freelance writer for the company, which allows you to highlight a valuable job opportunity on your resume, even before you graduate.
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