Each year many HEC students want to get an internship in the USA for their professional gap year or for the summer – and most of them manage to find some nice opportunities in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles at the end of the day.
Here is a quick starter pack for HEC students who want to have some tips in order to make their project come true!
- Where should I search?
There are many ways to find nice opportunities in the USA – here is my non-exhaustive selection:
- The HEC Career Center: on your personal Career Center, you may set up an e-mail alert to check all internships offers in one sector or another (banking/legal/HR…), with a determined location (USA / NY/…) every day: that’s the perfect way to see all the interesting opportunities offered to HEC students. The offers are sometimes reserved for HEC students as some firms target these applicants. You can directly apply to the offers on the platform – that’s so easy to use!
- You can also have a look at the online Interns’ network, where all previous HEC students are referenced, with many criteria to make searches simple. Feel free to contact a former intern to have insights!
- You may have a look at the French American Chamber of Commerce website, here: just create an account and you’ll access a selection of offers.
- If you are interested in start-ups, in tech firms and so on, the Angel List is probably the perfect website to get a job in such a firm: most tech firms offer opportunities on this platform, and it’s also very easy to apply as soon as you have an account.
Also, don’t forget to check your email box, as many fellow HEC students share internships offers, and feel free to send unsolicited applications (especially for Silicon Valley tech firms). Indeed, firms in the USA are usually more flexible than in France, and they may be interested in having a new member in their team to implement a project.
- What is the schedule for the Visa? Are the requirements hard to meet?
It’s not that difficult to get a Visa to work in the US when you are a student. The relevant visa is the J-1 one, meant to boost cultural exchanges.
You’ll need at least one month to get it (usually 6 weeks in fact, but it depends on many factors: if you are very reactive at each step, it will take one month), so consider this duration for your internship research! You and your employer will have to send different forms to the US Consulate, in cooperation with a sponsor helping for every step of the process, and you’ll have an appointment at the consulate as the last step of the process. There is nothing particularly difficult in this process, it’s just an administrative thing.
For a 6-month internship, the sponsor cost is more or less $1,000 – most firms pay for that, but don’t forget to negotiate it or to clarify it before launching the process!
- What about housing?
Housing is expensive in the US – in NYC for example, it’s typically around $1,000 a month. You can spot good opportunities on Facebook (there are many very active groups with great offers) but also on Craigslist, where you’ll find many apartments to rent. I would recommend not to pay the first rent and the security deposit before visiting the flat/room as there are scams.
Then… enjoy! Just live the American dream!