Work

Over 100,000 students voted on the No. 1 internship of 2019—and it isn't Google or Facebook

Robert Daly | Getty Images

Google and Facebook offer some of the most sought-after internships and jobs in the world.

But when career site WayUp surveyed over 100,000 students and considered thousands of employers, they found that it's actually SAP that offers the best internship of 2019.

In 2019, the German software company employed over 1,000 interns in 18 cities across six countries and had the highest acceptance rate among interns who were offered full-time positions at the company.

"If we equip millennials with the best technology and empower them with permission to be bold, I think we'll watch the next great generation do incredible things," said SAP CEO Bill McDermott in a statement.

This is the third year WayUp has ranked internships, and the full list of the 2019 Top Internship Programs includes a wide range of companies, from household names like Google and Facebook, to lesser known organizations like Nashville-based technology insurance company Asurion.

Here is the full list of the top internship programs of 2019:

Chart asset: Top 100 internships 2019

Liz Wessel co-founder and CEO of WayUp stresses that students should consider a wide range of internship opportunities beyond just the big tech companies.

"A lot of companies, especially those that are not considered 'traditional tech companies' or 'the big five' or whatever you want to call them, are trying to go from more traditional companies into tech-focused or tech-enabled companies," she tells CNBC Make It. "And I think that this is the most pivotal time for someone who wants to be part of that transformation."

Wessel herself interned at Google, and reports "nothing but the best things" about her experience. But she emphasizes that interns may have the opportunity to play a bigger role at a smaller company in transition than they would at a major tech company, where "your role might be for example, to help change a button's position on an app."

"Don't get me wrong, that app is going to be used by tens of millions or hundreds of millions of people! But still it might not necessarily have the same impact."

Visitors check in at the reception of the headquarters of SAP AG in Walldorf, Germany
Wolfgang von Brauchitsch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

While the companies on WayUp's rankings are diverse in their industries and geographies, they all have one thing in common: They pay their interns.

"The first thing interns really care about is pay," says Wessel. "A dollar per hour is not usually going to impact an intern's decision to stay based on that one thing, but offering around the average pay and showing respect by paying what a candidate deserves does make a big difference."

Wessel points to organizations that offer their interns 401(k) plans, travel opportunities, flexible working and mentoring and learning opportunities. She says that companies offer these benefits because they see their interns as an investment in their organizations' long-term success.

"A lot of these companies are realizing that you want to grow great talent from the bottom, and if you don't get great talent at an early stage, you're not going to have very good talent at the mid-stage and at the top," says Wessel. "I think companies are looking at their long-term future and are realizing that this talent is their future.

She cites the example of Adena Friedman, who began her career as an intern at Nasdaq, which is on the list, and is now the CEO.

Wessel's advice for students interested in an internship at a company like Nasdaq, or any of the other organizations on WayUp's list is simple. "I can't recommend enough that students start to think about internships now," she says. "I know that sounds crazy, but many of the companies on this list start recruiting in August or September for their Summer 2020 internships. A lot of these companies are actually recruiting now."

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