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In Defense of Internships

by Tilton on June 17, 2011

This is a response to “Spend Your College Tuition on Being Mentored and Starting a Company” by Jason Calacanis


While I appreciate the sentiment you’re making regarding your child’s future, I am concerned with this article. Your statement “We don’t do internships because the law is so fracked up in California that if you give an intern real work to do, you will get sued,” seems wrong. I did as much research as I could over the last day about interns suing companies because of their workload and I can’t find one case of an intern suing a company because of being overworked nor could I find any mention of the law you were discussing. Could you point at a case or law that shows what you are talking about?

Second, focusing the fault of higher education and the education bubble solely by pointing at internship is the equivalent of using Valleywag to point out the fault of the tech industry. It seems you are making over-generalizations about the role of interns in a company. When both the company supervises the intern correctly (which wasn’t addressed in your article) and the intern is passionate about the work, the system does well.

Lately, the reason that I wouldn’t pay you $25K to mentor me but would pay a college the same amount would be because I think the value of exposure to a rounded, liberal arts education with a degree that I can present to an employer and a network of alumni that I can connect with beats the mentoring and networking program you’re describing.

For the exceptional, creative entrepreneurial student, there would be value in the program you are describing. However this isn’t a solution for the “higher education bubble,” right?


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