In the past, internships were sometimes regarded as community service or worse, as a source of free labor for entry-level work. No longer. Among top-tier tech companies and high-growth companies, paid internships are highly competitive and serve as an important recruiting tools for companies and interns to make meaningful business contributions.
Zayo’s Class of 40 Summer Interns Contributing in Many Areas of the Business
“I want to learn things they don’t teach in class. Nothing compares to hands-on work so I really want to try out several projects to find out what I really like to do.” Zayo summer intern Victoria Jessar sums up the views of Zayo’s summer interns – a group of 40 upperclassmen and graduate students – half of them women — working in nearly all areas of Zayo’s business.
Recent research from the University of Wisconsin suggests that relevant internships can boost employments prospects significantly for the very reasons that Jessar suggests – workplace skills, and in Zayo’s case, exposure to its leadership and its unique entrepreneurial culture.
“Zayo’s internship program is all about developing promising talent — students who have the academic background and potential to become part of our team after graduation,” said Maggie Newland, Zayo’s lead for the internship program. She’s responsible for screening hundreds of resumes, facilitating the competitive selection process and managing all aspects of the program, which includes a balance of in-depth training about the company and industry, mentorship and on-the-job experience. Interns pursuing degrees ranging from engineering to business to law work for 10 weeks in their functional areas, most from the company’s Boulder or Denver offices.
Brent Hebert, who was a computer science intern in 2015, is now a full-time junior application developer. “As an intern, I had meaningful tasks that were implemented and used in the Tranzact platform,” he explained. “I was a full member of the team from the beginning. The culture at Zayo is awesome, the technology is interesting and the team is friendly and helpful. And I’ve already had the opportunity to contribute in several different areas.”
“I appreciate that Zayo focuses on inclusivity, especially for its intern group,” said Katie Hermosillo, a University of Colorado Operations & Systems Management major, who intends to expand her knowledge of telecommunications this summer. Zayo has developed a reputation, especially at CU Boulder, where buzz about the company results in strong participation at recruiting events and job fairs.
Most interns are college juniors, many from Colorado universities, including the University of Colorado, Denver University, Colorado School of Mines and Metro State University. Others are pursuing degrees from other leading universities, including the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California.
At the other end of the spectrum are three law students, Zayo’s first legal interns. “I wanted work in-house (versus a law firm) this summer because working as corporate counsel is like being 15 different lawyers at once,” noted Clara Chalk, a J.D. candidate at Texas Law School. “I love working with entrepreneurs. There’s something very powerful about creating your own opportunity.”