In the fall of 2013, my wife, Dorothy, and I decided to visit Normandy, France the site of our 1944 World War II European invasion. Before leaving, we read a number of books about the invasion and were struck by one key observation. The Generals developed the invasion strategy around assumptions about the physical geography, the German defense, and the weather. When the invasion began, the weather was lousy causing the landing crafts to miss their assigned destination, the geography was far more challenging than expected, and the German defenders were far more determined than forecast. With our troops under fire on the beach, the Generals were far offshore on ships and they lacked timely information because of poor communications (remember this was 1944) - our troops were being massacred. The onsite leadership fell to the non-commissioned officers and the junior commissioned officers – young men in their late teens and early twenties. They, not the Generals, made the life and death decisions that converted tragedy to victory. And these young people went on to become what Tom Brokaw named “The Greatest Generation”.
Fast forward to August 21, 2016. Anne Fisher of Fortune Magazine published: “Here's How Adobe Sources Over Half Its New Products From Interns”. Not life and death, but a current example of young adults making a difference. Adobe is the well-known software company.
I was unaware of the intern program and went to the Adobe website to learn more (www.adobe.com/careers/university.html). I love their value proposition: “Interns - Gain experience that counts while doing work that matters over a summer, semester, or academic year”.
To apply, students submit online applications including a detailed description of a concept they hope to turn into a marketable product. The most promising ideas lead to interviews with Adobe research scientists; successful applicants then build prototypes to prove their ideas work. Adobe’s interns include about 40% undergraduates, 15% masters candidates and about 33% PhD candidates.
Adobe lets people keep the rights to their own intellectual property. Interns are encouraged to publish and apply for patents, in their own names, on the work they’ve done for Adobe. Most company internship programs keep a tight rein on intellectual property that interns develop.
Adobe reports that interns play a key role in about 70% of their product development projects. Intern salaries range from about $30 per hour to over $50 per hour!
As college students you’ve begun your transition to effective adults. You’re building a foundation of skills and values. Many choices you make have far reaching implications. Don’t underestimate yourself. Your world abounds with wonderful opportunities, be alert and prepare!
Our mission is to help students become effective adults.