Hand pointing at abstract drawn lamps and business sketch on concrete background. Idea concept

Haven’t secured a summer internship yet? Don’t worry– there is still time to plan for a summer that allows you to explore your interests and expand your skills! Below are some options beyond the traditional internship experience to consider:

Complete a Virtual Work Experience

  • Forage offers free bite-sized 5-6 hour virtual job simulations designed by employers. There are experiences with BCG, J.P. Morgan, Lyft, and more.
  • Parker Dewey features micro-internships that allow students to engage in short-term, paid, professional assignments.

Take an Online Course

Developing skills relevant to your career field of interest is a great way to spend your summer break. This may be especially helpful for those pursuing more technical fields.

Complete Personal Projects

Summer can be a good time to delve into those side projects that you didn’t have time for during the academic year. Maybe you can build an app, or write a short story, or create a new data visualization tool! Remember you can showcase all your projects and more in the MCS portfolio resource MUSE.


If you are interested in a field, consider volunteering to explore this interest. For example, if you are interested in healthcare, volunteer at your local hospital. If you are interested in veterinary medicine, volunteer at the animal shelter. Volunteermatch.org is a great website to find an opportunity that matches your interest and location. If you want to apply your technical skills to a good cause, you can also do a project through Prometheus. Prometheus allows you to apply for smaller technical projects at non-profits.

Connect with Alumni and Shadow Professionals

We have alumni all over the world spanning all different industries from the arts, to technology, to public service, medicine and entrepreneurship. If you are hoping to explore a career field, one of the best ways to learn more is talk to people in the industry and role. Setting up a quick career conversation with an alum, can be as easy as logging into MCS Firsthand Advisors. You can also search for alumni on LinkedIn or in the Harvard Alumni Directory. And if you are looking for tips on what to say in an outreach email or LinkedIn note, read the MCS Making Connections Guide. In some cases, you can set up a day to shadow the alum in their professional role. For example, many students considering a career in medicine, will shadow a physician for a day or half day to see patient interactions and gain insights into what it is like to work in a clinical setting like a hospital.

Attend a Professional Development Conference/Networking Event

Expanding your professional network can also include joining a professional organization such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Anita B. Org (creators of the Grace Hopper Conference), Society of Women Engineers and more. They often offer discounted membership for students and scholarship opportunities to attend large networking events and career fairs.

Be Entrepreneurial

Are you a great gardener and landscaper? Consider starting a local lawn mowing business this summer. Perhaps you can tutor students in your subject area of strength or help high school students navigate the college admissions process. Or you could even take your creative and fashion forward ideas to market to sell custom designs though Etsy. Animal lover–consider a pet walking business! Consider using sites that feature contract work like Fiverr.com to find free lance opportunities that fit your interests. Maybe you joined a hackathon and it sparked a great new idea to change the way healthcare is delivered–perhaps workshop this idea more in the summer. If you find you really enjoy pursuing your own ventures, consider enrolling in LPCE’s Studio Lab course in the fall (CE 10).

By Meaghan Shea
Meaghan Shea Assistant Director, Technology, Data Analytics, Life & Physical Sciences & Entrepreneurship