iRelaunch Research Publications

iRelaunch Research Report: "Returning Professional 'Internships' - A New Strategy for Employers to Access High Caliber Talent and for Professionals to Reenter the Workforce" (October 2012)

See our article in Harvard Business Review, "The 40-Year-Old Intern" based on this research report. Please click on the report cover image (at left) to read the report Abstract and Table of Contents. Note the report was published October 2012 before five new big-employer return to work internship programs were launched in 2013-2014.  See our February 2014 Harvard Business Review blog post "The '40-Year-Old Intern' Goes to Wall Street" about the recent proliferation of return to work internship programs.

Excerpt from report Abstract:

Returning professional internships come in various forms including consulting projects, special projects, contract assignments, research fellowships, externships, returnships*, temp work, executive in residence programs, strategic volunteering projects, or field studies, and have proven successful in all different fields and work configurations. These internships have become the basis for formal career reentry programs and in special situations for promising individuals.

Although still under the radar, the consistent success of the "returning professional internship model" in a range of fields from financial services, to medical research, to consumer marketing to technology, and even in the elusive realm of tenured academia, makes it worthy of a broader understanding. To that end, this study examines returning professional internship programs in large and small companies, foundations, government agencies, non-profits, and academic institutions. It looks at arrangements that function as internship equivalents and at creative "one off" or customized, single opportunities that have been crafted for specific individuals. It identifies best practices from those programs with strong track records, while examining the reasons why other programs failed. Finally, it offers employers a concrete roadmap for getting ahead of the internship curve and becoming leaders in this growing trend.

*Note "Returnship" is trademarked by Goldman Sachs as the name of their returning professional internship program.