11 Chicago companies you want to intern with

Tessa McLean
An internship with the right company can be one of the best ways to start your career. It can also be one of the most rewarding learning experiences professionally — understanding both what you want to do, what you don't want to do, and yoyur strengths and weaknesses. 
There are so many great tech companies in Chicago it can be daunting to narrow down your choices. So, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most exciting companies in town and detailed what it'd be like to become part of the team — even for just a couple months. Whether you’re a programmer, designer, engineer, educator, or biologist, these are 11 companies with killer internships.

What type of interns are you looking for?  At this point in the recruiting season, we are looking for Analytics and Strategy & Operations interns to join our team. Our S&O and Analytics departments look for different types of educational backgrounds and experiences, so we encourage those interested in applying to check out specific openings here. Individuals seeking Tech internships should check back in the fall when we recruit for those positions.
Why is your internship program unique? What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company?  Our program is all about incorporating interns into our company, culture, and departments from day one. We want them to feel part of the Enova team and get a holistic understanding of our day-to-day operations to ensure that we fit in with their long-term career goals. Our interns complete a number of small and large-scale projects using data to build recommendations that have a measurable impact on our company. We give our interns full exposure to using all the tools and technologies we offer as well as visibility to our senior leadership team during various lunches and round table discussions. Our interns work hard on solving business-related challenges, but they also have fun while they are here. From in-office activities and offsite events around Chicago, to the flexible culture we provide — no dress code or structured schedule, free food, and the ability to participate in summer hours — the list goes on and on!

What type of interns are you looking for?  kCura will host 24 interns this summer, filling roles in our software engineering, technical writing, finance, design, human resources, and education teams. The positions open for this summer are technical writing and educational content internships, and they are paid hourly. Programming internships for next summer typically open in early fall.  
Why is your internship program unique? What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company? Our eleven-week internship program is unique because we give our interns real-world assignments and problems, tailor their role to what they want to get most out of their internship, and get them acquainted with all aspects of our business.  Before interns start, we invite them to Chicago for a day in order to learn more about them and introduce them to kCura.
We have fun activities—like bowling and whirlyball—during the summer to promote work-life balance. Interns have access to additional benefits such as free fruit and discounts on Divvy.

What type of interns are you looking for?  Undergraduate and graduate students looking for a fast-paced, challenging environment where you contribute to an important project that drives value to the company. Internships vary by department.
Why is your internship program unique? What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company?  We want our internship program to be a win-win. Interns should be able to express their goals for their career while working as part of the team to challenge themselves, and for Narrative Science to be a place you can excel in your own strengths. Our goal is for interns to learn a lot, and for our team to learn from our interns, too!

What type of interns are you looking for?  We are looking for interns for our development team. Ideally this person is a junior or senior in college, majoring in computer science and local to Chicago.
Why is your internship program unique? What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company?  Signal interns have the opportunity to work on real projects that will help us change the world of digital marketing. Our interns have worked with and learned from some of the best developers in the industry to do things like make changes to our user interface, add functionality, or run tests to ensure product quality. They will learn to do all of this under our “Code to Code By” credo, which values code quality over code quantity, and sustainable code over “good enough” code. Signal interns have the rare opportunity to do something that has an impact, while gaining skills that will benefit them for their careers. Signal interns experience life at a growing startup, with all the values, fun and excitement that come along with that. We love intellectual challenges, good times, and making a difference. Plus, we have lots of perks that include tasty treats, movie and game nights, supper club, scavenger hunts, and Hack Week. We are on a mission to create the best technology, and we have filled our offices with the smartest people in the industry who are passionate, work hard, and like to have fun. This means we look for the same from our interns, and have high expectations of them. We want people who are dynamic and just as excited to work on code as they are about grabbing coffee for the team. 

What type of interns are you looking for?   Solstice is looking to add multiple Visual Designer Interns to our team. We are targeting students entering their senior year in college to join us for 3 months this summer. 
Why is your internship program unique? What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company?  Last year, our interns were able to work on two exciting projects - one working on an R&D project and the other an app for the healthcare industry that incorporated beacon technology. "Being able to participate in Express Day, working in a collaborative environment towards a working product and designing for new technologies were some of the highlights from last summer," says Lauren Blackburn, now a UX Analyst with Solstice. 
The goal of our internship is to accept a full time opportunity with our team and join us as an Analyst.

What type of interns are you looking for?  We are looking for insanely talented interns for our Data Science, Development, Design, UX, Product Management, and Business Analyst teams.  Interns preferably should be juniors going into their senior year of school, but if we find a rockstar who isn't we'll consider them to be part of the Uptake team.
Why is your internship program unique? What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company?  Our internship program is unique because we are offering interns real life work experience. They will be functioning as if they were full-time employees, working on projects that are going to help evolve our business now.  These projects will be very meaningful to the organization and without them, we wouldn't be able to get these important projects done.  With that said, we will be having a lot of fun too throughout the internship.  I can't tell you the details YET...
Interns can expect to gain great mentorship from the best leaders in the industry and the opportunity to grow their career with us.  Our end goal of the internship is to have them come learn about the business for the summer, and at the end of it, we want to make an offer and bring them back full time once they graduate college (assuming we enjoyed their work/company & they enjoyed being here as well).

What type of interns are you looking for? Syndio is comprised of 3 departments: Development, Customer Success, and Implementation. We’re always looking for talented interns to work in any of our departments and generally we accept students going into their senior year. Dev drives the development of new features and capabilities for our tools and technology. The Customer Success team helps to craft the way the world sees Syndio. They engage clients through a variety of mediums and they keep them updated on the Syndio team’s exciting work. The Implementation team designs, executes, and delivers phases of Syndio’s client projects. They push the team to meet deadlines, communicate effectively, and deliver excellence across domains and product offerings.
Why is your internship program unique? What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company?  A Syndio internship is unlike your typical college internship experience. Since we are a small and growing firm, every team member has the ability to make a huge contribution, whether he or she is an intern or the CEO. This is NOT a paper-filing internship. We expect candidates to be highly independent, quick learners and willing to give us feedback and suggestions for improvement. Culturally, Syndio is also quite different from your stereotypical internship. We value getting work done as opposed to looking like you’re getting work done, so we are very flexible about taking breaks, having fun in the office and setting hours for you to work.  We love having an entrepreneurial atmosphere, so we look for candidates who can be highly productive in a relaxed office place while still maintaining professionalism.

What type of interns are you looking for? Business Development Intern (currently open), Graphic Design Intern (position will open this quarter), Marketing Inter (position will open this quarter). College students and college graduates accepted
Why is your internship program unique?  The marketing internship program at UrbanBound is unique not only because interns learn and practice skills they can only gain in the working world, but because they will see the direct results of their work on the business, and fast. Interns have a significant impact on the goals that are reported to the C-Level and then to the Board—their work is valued  We as managers make sure that our interns are put on projects they are passionate about and are working on things they can use as they progress in their careers. After a couple of months, a marketing intern can expect to have a strong knowledge of inbound marketing, how to use a CMS, how to optimize content for SEO, and how to operate in unison with an 8-person marketing team...well, 8 and growing!
Our internship program at UrbanBound is special in so many ways, primarily because it consists of real projects that affect our company in real ways. There's no busy work here—we really stress learning the ins and outs of our business and like to think of our internship program as a "teaching hospital" for the tech space. Our internships are also unique learning opportunities because they are really geared to the intern's priorities. Many of our intern managers are former UrbanBound interns, especially in our Marketing department, so the structure of their programs is a direct result of the intern perspective.
What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company? 
All of our interns learn what it's like to work at the startup pace. We move quickly at UrbanBound and our interns are able to experience how we structure, organize, and execute our business goals and strategies. Every intern can expect to gain a working knowledge of the relocation industry and how it applies to other businesses. In terms of our Graphic Design internship specifically, interns observe firsthand what it's like to be an in-house designer. We're a tech company, we're a startup, and we have a very specific marketing strategy—

What type of interns are you looking for?  All Avant interns must be a Junior or a Senior in college with the exception of our legal intern, who must be a 2L student from top-tier law school.
Why is your internship program unique? What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company?  Avant is a young and fast growing company that provides the opportunity for interns to come in and complete meaningful projects that will have a direct impact on our products and customers. Our internship is unique because participants will work directly with leadership and executives to help build strategies from the ground up while also executing on their ideas. The internship program will include a robust experience with SQL training, Data training and fun events (including a rooftop Cubs game). Interns will have exposure to multiple teams across the business as Avant focuses on cross-functional teamwork. At the end of the summer, interns will have the ability to present all that they have learned to the entire Avant team. 

What type of interns are you looking for?  We're looking for Sales Interns with Junior Standing (graduating in 2015-2016, must be pursuing undergraduate degree).
Why is your internship program unique? What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company?  Our Sales Internship is very hands-on and provides the same training that our full-time Sales Executives receive. Interns will gain real world experience in Inside Sales including learning in-depth product knowledge, effective utilization of Salesforce.com, and how to manage the full sales-cycle from cold calling to software demonstration to contract negation and closing.  Our ultimate goal is to find full-time prospects among our interns for hire after graduation.

What type of interns are you looking for?  What we look for in a Performics Digital Media Trainee is someone with an interest in and passion for Digital Media;  past experience — whether in a previous internship or via relevant coursework — is a definite plus, and have been proven qualities attributed to our most successful candidates/trainees. All DMT candidates must be college graduates by the start date of the respective program.
Why is your internship program unique? What can an intern expect to gain from a couple months with your company?  We believe our Digital Media Trainee program to be unique as a result of the structure of the program. The DMT program runs for 15 weeks, with the first week dedicated entirely to training and onboarding. The remaining 14  weeks  are divided into two seven-week rotations, in which the Trainee is cross-trained on two functional areas of the business, in order to give them a very well rounded view of the business as a whole. As a result, the DMT will develop into an employee who is knowledgeable on multiple areas of the business, and flexible to work across channels. Within a few months with our company, the employee can expect to be well versed in our business model from a holistic standpoint, and ready to take on a full time entry level role (pending availability and successful program completion) at the end of their traineeship.


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Viktor Bogdanov
Thanks for this list of companies allowing for internship, Tessa! The company I work in - one of Chicago's top mobile app developers 2015 (by Clutch) - also hires interns and one of them has just written a blog post about what attracts millennials in tech companies, you may find it interesting http://intersog.com/blog/interning-at-intersog-intersog-ship/

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