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The Micro-Internship Programme | The Careers Service The Micro-Internship Programme – Oxford University Careers Service
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What are micro-internships?

Micro-internships are short-term, voluntary, full-time work placements, which are available at the end of each term. Micro-internships have previously only taken place in Oxfordshire or Greater London, but from 2018 the programme is expanding across the UK and Germany, with other key locations being Manchester, Bath/Bristol, Edinburgh and Munich. These placements are available exclusively to matriculated Oxford students.

All placements last 2-5 days and take place in 9th or 10th week. Each internship gives you the opportunity to observe and assist with a notable project. The aim is to develop your professional skills, add to your CV, and offer you the opportunity to make new professional contacts. Placements can be research-based or professional, with host organisations ranging from investment banks and consultancy firms to tech start-ups and heritage sites.

Micro-internships are voluntary and unpaid although hosts will cover interns travel expenses (within the relevant city) and lunch expenses on production of receipts.

If you are an organisation looking to offer a micro-internship then please take a look at our Micro-internships Employer Information.

What will I do?

As the focus of the placement, you will be presented with an opportunity to observe and assist with a notable project. There are a broad range of internships advertised through the Programme, involving many different skills, and which are related to many different sectors.

The project you assist with may be self-contained or form part of a larger, on-going project. It is also possible for interns to be involved with multiple related projects over the course of the placement.

Your experience will usually be accompanied by work shadowing, offering insight into the professional workings and daily life at your host organisation. This might include sitting in on meetings and participating with day-to-day tasks, or observing an assignment or process.

Examples of past micro-internships

“I worked as one of three editors working on the second issue of the magazine ‘Health and Humanitarian: The Supply Chain Review’. My role included researching success stories in health and humanitarian supply chains, contacting professionals working in both the private and public sectors, collecting and editing articles from contributors, and developing layout for the magazine.” – intern at Pamela Steele Associates (Oxfordshire)

“My job consisted of researching representations of fear in popular culture, producing a research report and a blog post summarising my findings. The company is going to launch a new horror board game and they wanted to get some ideas regarding how to translate fear-inducing strategies in other media into the board-game format .” – intern at Inside the Box LLP (London)

“I focused on constructing a tasting experience and guidelines for the representative conducting the tasting and this was tailored to three different scenarios. The project was very open which allowed me to explore other related areas and to get a solid understanding of the premium spirits industry and the artisan alcohol market.”- intern at Mastiha World (Oxford)

Other past micro-internships have included:

  • The suggestion of new marketing initiatives, and reviews of existing marketing strategies
  • Data collection, entry and presentation: from creating, distributing and compiling surveys and survey responses, to the photographing and digitising of medieval manuscripts
  • Assisting with event planning
  • Assisting with fundraising and awareness campaigns
  • Product development
  • Research, analysis and report writing: from investigating the ramifications of organisation relocation and restructuring, to market research
Why do a micro-internship?

Internships offer the opportunity to acquire a range of employability skills such as problem-solving, self-management, presentation and communication skills, and commercial awareness (see more in our webpage about Employability Skills). These skills are highly valued by employers, and the ability to demonstrate them is vital during the recruitment process. By the end of your micro-internship you will have achieved tangible outcomes which can be then be translated as evidence for exhibiting certain attributes – particularly on CVs, cover letters and application forms, and in interviews.

The additional significant benefits of micro-internships include:

  • Convenience – all micro-internships last 2-5 days and take place during 9th or 10th week, so you can gain work experience even if you have a busy schedule
  • Accessibility – The majority of micro-internships are based in Oxfordshire (most of these within Oxford) and Greater London. Many students return to various parts of the UK during vacation – one of the reasons for expansion – and we request that placements are easily accessible by public transport.
  • Insight – a micro-internship will give you a concise insight into a particular sector or type of organisation. If you are considering pursuing a career in a certain sector, a micro-internship is a great way of helping you to decide if you might like to pursue it further
  • Variety – because placements are both short and voluntary, a great variety of different organisations are able to offer placements through the programme, many of which would not ordinarily be in a position to support interns – particularly start-ups and charities
  • Contacts- placements provide a fantastic opportunity to network with professionals in your chosen field, with some micro-internships leading to further work experience or career opportunities.

Feedback from past interns

“Had a wonderful time that has given me a much better sense of what it is like to work in an office, to work as a consultant, and to work in the development sector. The people at PSA were all so welcoming and kind.” –2nd Year BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Pamela Steele Associates

“Really enjoyable to end the term working on something unrelated to my degree. Also great to be valued and listened to by professionals in an interesting sector.” –– 4th year BA Modern Languages, Nasio Trust

“It was a great experience that let me contribute to a close-knit team of people working on a global scale. It gave me a key insight into the sector and taught me a lot about this kind of work.”- 4th year BA English and Modern Languages, MEY Designs

“I had a fantastic time. The team was supportive and I was warmly welcomed into the office. Unlike some other internships I have completed, my micro-internship week felt like I had really contributed something. It was also a brilliant insight into the sphere of consultancy, and I believe I have improved my skills set and enhanced my CV – even after only one week.” MSc Nature, Society and Environmental Governance, Synergy Global Consulting

“It is my first experience of an internship, and it was truly amazing, as I achieved a lot during the 5 days, and experienced the whole development cycle, from learning about the division through documents, to interviews with clients and managers, to designing and developing the prototype.” – Dphil Computer Science, University of Oxford Estate Services

Applying for a micro-internship

When to apply (each term)

  • Placements advertised to students: from 0th Week
  • Applications deadline: from Hilary Term 2018, the deadline for MIP will be midday, Monday 3rd Week. (Some placements may seek further applicants, and you’ll be able to apply for them for an additional two weeks)
  • Applications sent to placement hosts for review, and the Internship Office communicates hosts’ decisions to applicants from 3rd Week
  • Applicants are informed of their application outcome by Monday 7th Week

Sign up to our ‘Internships Alerts‘ emailing list in order to stay updated about the Micro-Internship Programme each term.

Where to apply

Each term’s micro-internships are advertised on CareerConnect.

Once logged into CareerConnect go to Search & Apply under the Internship Office and Skills Programmes tab, and then select ‘The Micro-Internship Programme’ from the Programme drop-down on the Refine search toolbar (on the left side of the page) in order to identify and view all opportunities currently available.

See p16-20 in our comprehensive Guide to using CareerConnect for information on searching and applying for micro-internships.

Micro-internships are also advertised via our ‘Internships Alerts‘ emailing list, on our Facebook page, in the weekly Careers Service e-newsletter, and on the Careers Service blog.

How to apply

You may apply for two micro-internships per term, though you may only accept one placement offer. Please note that only matriculated Oxford students are eligible to apply. If you are unsure of your eligibility, please contact micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

You can apply to your micro-internship of choice by clicking ‘Apply Now’ on the respective vacancy page on CareerConnect, and following the instructions provided. You will be required to upload a file combining a one-page CV, and write a 300-word personal statement in the application form. Your CV can be a pdf file or a Word document. Please note that CVs or personal statements that are longer than the application requirements may not be accepted.

Please note that we are unable to accept applications sent by email. Students intending to apply for the programme should therefore make their applications before midday on the day of the deadline. It is your responsibility to ensure that your application has been submitted successfully and that you have received an automatic confirmation email. For any students experiencing technical problems, they should contact micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk so that we can assist during working hours.

To see the full range of support on offer to assist you in your application please download our Application Support Document. You may also find our Employer Feedback on Student Micro-Internship Applications helpful, offering key advice from previous hosts.

Don’t forget that the Internship Office runs Application Support sessions for applicants to the Micro-Internship and Internship Programmes. These sessions mostly take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the application period for internship programmes at the Careers Service and can be booked via  CareerConnect.

Sign up to the ‘Internships Alerts’ emailing list or follow the Careers Service blog in order to receive each term’s Application Support session schedule.

If you feel like you need more support with your application we would recommend taking a look at our website for guidance on CVs and Cover Letters. You can also make an appointment with a Careers Adviser.

What happens then?

Once the deadline has passed, the Internship Office sends all applications to hosts for selection, although does not take part in the selection itself. Hosts may contact applicants for interviews or telephone calls, so please do ensure that you regularly check the email that you supplied on your CV and where possible, provide a telephone number with a voicemail.

Once hosts have made their decisions, the Internship Office will let all students know of the outcome of their application. Successful candidates will then be connected with their host so arrangements can be made prior to the placement week.

Frequently asked questions

Will I be paid?

Micro-internships are voluntary and unpaid, although hosts must cover the intern’s travel expenses (within the relevant city) and lunch expenses on submission of receipts. Students will submit receipts directly to the employer for reimbursement during their placement.

If you think you will be unable to take up a placement for financial reasons please let us know.

Is accommodation provided?

It is the responsibility of applicants to the programme to arrange, and cover the cost of, their own accommodation. We strongly recommend that you research this before applying.

For Oxford-based placements, if you live in college accommodation we recommend that you approach your college with requests for a 9th or 10th week extension as soon as you apply for your micro-internship. See below for further information about accommodation.

On what days will the micro-internship take place?

Micro-internships take place each term during 9th or 10th week, and last between two and five days. Before applying for a micro-internship you should ensure that you will be available for the duration of the placement. The duration of the placement, and the days on which it takes place, are decided by the host organisation. These are usually specified upfront but if you have any further queries you can email micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

How many hours per day will I work?

Usually, micro-internships are full-time hours (for example, but not limited to 9am-5pm) each day, although this is decided by the host and will be communicated to you before your placement. Some hosts offer flexible working hours, and this is usually stated in the advert. Therefore, please ensure before applying that you are available full time during the placement week.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any current, matriculated University of Oxford student (undergraduate or postgraduate) may apply for a micro-internship. Visiting students are unable to apply.

MBA and EMBA students from the Said Business School are unable to apply; we would encourage those students to access the Said Business School Careers Service.

How many times can I apply?

You can apply to two different micro-internships per term, though you may only accept one placement offer per term.

Is there anything I can do before my placement?

Absolutely! Employers appreciate knowledge of their organisation, so it’s always best to do some research beforehand, for example by visiting their website. Once you have been connected with your host, you are able to ask for further details of what is expected in the week, particularly helpful if you need to brush up on a few skills beforehand. We recommend that you attend ‘Making the Most of Your Internship’, which usually takes place in 8th week – please check full details on CareerConnect.

It is also important to ensure that practicalities such as travel and accommodation are arranged in advance of the internship, and you may find other sections of this webpage useful.

My question is not answered here!

If you have a question to which you cannot find the answer, email us at micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

To keep updated with the launch of vacancies and deadlines for the submission of applications, make sure you follow the Careers Service blog, sign up to our ‘Internships Alerts‘ emailing list, and follow us on Facebook.

Accommodation during micro-internships

For Oxford placements, if you live in University-maintained accommodation we suggest that you approach your college as soon as you apply for a micro-internship to see if you will be able to secure an extension for 9th or 10th week. We can provide a letter of support to your college if necessary: please contact us at micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk.

If you are unable to obtain an extension in college, or if your placement is in another city, you might consider some of the following options:

  • Staying with friends or family
  • Circulating a request for a spare room via your JCR/MCR mailing list, president or meetings – many students who live in house- and flat-shares outside of college will have rooms available in Oxford during the holidays
  • Asking friends at other Oxford colleges to book a guest room for you
  • Approaching the accommodation offices of other Oxford colleges directly
  • If outside Oxford, approaching the accommodation offices of other universities directly
  • Facebook groups like OxGrad Housing can be useful for finding or requesting rooms in Oxford
  • Websites such as AirbnbSpareroom or Unlease
  • YHA Oxford has private rooms from £55, and there are many cheap hostels and hotels across London

Please note that micro-internship hosts are unable to help with accommodation, unless specifically stated otherwise. If you think you may be unable to undertake your placement due to accommodation issues, please contact us (micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk) and we will try to help.

This information was last updated on 16 January 2018.
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