For aspiring architects looking to transition from school into a job with an architecture firm, there is a crucial middle step to consider – an internship. What you learn in school is important – theory, history, different disciplines, etc. – but it is all fantasy. There is no client. No budget. You may have time constraints and pressure from professors, but this is vastly different from the “real world.”
Your internship is an extension of your school work providing you with real-world experience. From completing competition entries to building models, meeting with clients and working with budgets, an internship can prepare you to confidently step in to your first professional position at an architecture firm.
Building Your Career While Building Models
Interning at an architecture firm is a rite of passage from student to professional. School is not enough to catapult you into your career. An internship can provide you with:
- Real world experience learning the day-to-day with clients, for example, listening in on calls and how you would speak differently with a consultant vs. an owner.
- A more forgiving environment to learn how to get things done quickly and correctly.
- Learning what you truly enjoy or not, for example, commercial vs. residential work.
- The opportunity to demonstrate your budding expertise to a potential employer.
- A chance to grow your professional network.
Steven Vujeva and Mandil Inc. intern, Brian Duncan
Keeping Current and Giving Back
Students aren’t the only ones to benefit from an internship. The employer has much to gain, including:
- An in-house guide to teach your team the latest computer programs they are learning about in school, keeping your firm current in the digital age.
- Help with junior level tasks such as running prints and deliveries.
- Support in maintaining office standards for drawings.
- The opportunity to give back by furthering the student’s education through redlines and explaining why changes should be made.
- Your next hire, already familiar with your processes and style.
At Mandil Inc., we have a paid intern program that typically runs through the school year and into the summer. In some cases, it may be shorter or some longer. Our current intern, Brian Duncan, a student at the University of Colorado Denver College of Architecture and Planning, has worked at Mandil for a year and a half. His contributions have been invaluable, and we know an intern can bring your firm many benefits too.
Steven Vujeva, RA, NCARB