Listing Externship as Internship

Hi Guys,

I hope you are well. I am currently a sophomore at a US News top 40 but nontarget majoring in CS (GPA >3.7). However, as I originally came to school as a Mechanical Engineering major and later switched to CS, I have very little experience in CS in terms of internships. I am looking to break into some of the really competitive Management Consulting firms, which I heard REALLY value experience at top firms especially if you go to a non-target.

One McKinsey analyst that got hired from my school put it this way: "Go to an Ivy League if you don't then you have to land an internship at a Fortune 500 company to have your resume looked at.".

Let me be honest, I have applied to and got rejected from all the internships I applied to due to a lack of CS knowledge. For this reason, I was forced to rely on Externships. However, externships are dime a dozen and it really didn't take me a lot of work to find one at a fortune 500 firm. Because of this, I am afraid that recruiters won't take my experience seriously and therefore won't take my resume seriously. I guess what I am trying to ask is, Can I list my externship as an internship on my resume?


P.S I should also add that my externship is unpaid, part-time, and I won't be receiving any intern perks like a company email or a company laptop. If a background check is done, I am not entirely sure that I would show up as having ever been employed at this company because again it is an unpaid externship.

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Comments (13)

Mar 29, 2021 - 12:12am

Be honest, put it as an externship. If I interview you, i'll see you fold quickly

  • 1
Mar 29, 2021 - 12:16am

I completely understand your point of view but I will be doing a lot of the work that an intern does. It's not just a two-week externship where I shadow some professionals. SO I am confident that I will be able to answer any interview question that may come up. But again I see where you are coming from.

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  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Mar 29, 2021 - 12:37am

Do not lie. If you were never employed by the company it will be an issue during background checks

For now, I'd have the positions with an accurate title and focus on writing good bullets of the work you're doing

My priority for the fall would be to secure a good internship for the summer before senior year. You can try to go for consulting for next summer, and you might as well, but tbh internship recruitment is probably a lot harder than full time for nontargets in consulting, so I'd make sure you're putting a strong effort forward to get one of the best internships of companies that recruit from your school. The position you're in right now isn't the end of the world and lots of sophomores don't get internships, but if you're in the same position this time next year you're behind big time

Also remember it's important to have good leadership/etc as well so make sure you're not neglecting that

  • Prospect in Consulting
Mar 29, 2021 - 10:06am

A top 40 is likely not a non-target for MBB. We're talking about a William & Mary, Georgia Tech, or a UF. I go to a top 50 and we have dedicated recruiting teams, OCR, and regularly place at a regional office for all 3 MBB. I would do some digging on your university's clubs or LinkedIn and find the organizations that are a pipeline to these firms, like your school's consulting club.

Mar 29, 2021 - 10:24am

How exactly would you define nontarget. My school has about 10-12 people at Mckinsey but primarily because they have an office in our school's city. As far as the other MBB firms are concerned we have about 1-2 at each. We have 0 at Kearney, OW, or LEK. Would my school be considered a nontarget or a semi target?

  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Mar 29, 2021 - 1:03pm

Target / non-target has zero to do with your university's ranking. It's purely about whether or not companies participate in on-campus recruitment, and the answer varies by firm (e.g., your school can be a target for Bain but a nontarget for Oliver Wyman)

Generally, target = on campus recruitment and a decent number of people, semi-target means some on-campus recruitment but not many people or no on-campus recruitment but a consistent few people/year through alumni actively trying to pull some people along, and non-target means minimal on-campus recruitment or overall placement

  • Prospect in Consulting
Mar 29, 2021 - 5:37pm

Just list it as an externship. You're only changing a couple of words on your resume, like extern to intern. What matters more is what you do and how you quantify it on your resume and your interviews. 

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