Southwestern internship

Southwestern internship

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Chicago, IL

#1 Dec 11, 2010
I was wondering if anyone knew anything about the Southwestern sales internship. I just heard about it and am considering it for the summer. I have read a lot of good stuff and then some negative reviews as well. Specifically I was wondering if anyone knows whether the whole $1,000 quitting thing is ligit? I saw it on some blog. The recruiter let me read through everything i would have to sign and did not see it anywhere. I am kind of hoping for an answer soon. Does anyone know if it actually exists or if this is some Internet urban legend? I don't want to sound paranoid, but I don't want to get screwed.

Charleston, SC

#2 Dec 11, 2010
James, I recruit for the Southwestern Internship program, so hopefully I can help. The “quitting penalty” is definitely not real. It is good that you read through everything you sign. You will not find it anywhere. Some random person posted that in an attempt to smear Southwestern a few years ago and it eventually took on a life of its own. That is the unfortunate part of the internet; it doesn’t have to be true to write it!
A good place to start if looking for outside info would be the Better Business Bureau. They are unbiased watchdog agency created to protect consumers, and much better than looking at random blogs! Southwestern has an A+ rating.
You can check out the Southwestern company profile here -

For what it is worth, working with Southwestern was one of the best things I ever did in college, but I guess I am biased! ; )

Dallas, TX

#3 Dec 12, 2010
Thanks Aaron. I had actually heard back from an advisor at the career center later in the day after posting. She basically told me the same thing. I decided not to accept the position anyway. The recruiter was cool and it seemed like a good opportunity but I have a couple of weddings I have to go to this summer. Plus 80 hours a week is pretty intense! Thanks for getting back though.

Dallas, TX

#4 Dec 12, 2010
Quick thought, it might not be a bad idea for the Southwestern company website to have a section that debunks some of these incorrect things. I can't be the only one considering a Southwestern internship that has stumbled upon those blogs. Just a thought.

Charleston, SC

#5 Dec 13, 2010
Yeah, you are totally right. Most of the info is available through the Southwestern company website under the internship page, but it might be hard to track down all of the facts. Thanks. And yes, 80 hours is a lot, but I was glad I did it in the end. It is not for everyone though.
Dan _the second_

Princeton, NJ

#6 Dec 13, 2010
I worked in the Southwestern internship program for the past two summers and certainly can attest to the fact that the hours can be long.  Honestly though when you get into the groove it becomes a lot like days at school where you are on the go all day.  It does take a lot of discipline, but I felt like what I got out of it was worth it.  I definitely learned far more valuable skills than in my previous summer jobs doing office work.  The company provided awesome sales training and then you get a TON of practice.  Plus making $11,000 and $18,000 the last two summers didn’t hurt!
Also, I thought I would let you know that I had a friend who quit during my first summer and there was definitely no quitting penalty.  He just got paid the commissions on the sales he had already made and went on his way.  If you are still considering taking on a summer job with Southwestern I would say the best thing you could do is just weigh out the pros and cons and see where they come out.  If you do it though, you have to really be willing to dive in, because it take a ton of work!

New York, NY

#7 Dec 13, 2010
80 hours = slave labor

Charleston, SC

#8 Dec 13, 2010
LOL. I guess I can see that Heather, but I did make $13,000 my first summer and $28,000 my second summer. Not bad pay for slave labor!

San Diego, CA

#9 Dec 16, 2010
I thought about doing Southwestern’s Internship earlier this fall too. It seems too good to be true. I can’t imagine that the average student actually makes the $8,000 Southwestern promotes. Strikes me as one of those pyramid schemes. They always over promise and under deliver.

San Diego, CA

#10 Dec 16, 2010
First, as a disclaimer, I never worked for Southwestern or know much about their commission structure. However, having worked in sales for a lot of years there are a few main red flags you should look for when exploring sales positions. A pyramid scheme exists if:

1)There are upfront costs. These get funneled up to people above you. If there are upfront costs it may be a pyramid scheme.

2)There are weekly/monthly/yearly dues you pay. If these exist the same thing applies.

If these are not the case then it is not a pyramid scheme, it is just a sales position. I would say this also, when looking at sales positions two good factors to also consider are:

1)Do you have to pay for your own training, sample products etc. Obviously not having to pay for these is ideal. Hopefully the company takes care of these things.

2) Is the commission structure fixed or does it start low and eventually raise. IF it starts at a 10% commission and gradually raises to 30%(Or whatever the case may be) then they are just churning through sales reps. They just recruit a ton of people, most of them probably fail, but in the mean time their profit margins are far higher. However, if it is a straight commission rate then they have more incentive to help you succeed.

I hope that these are helpful.

Durham, NC

#11 Dec 22, 2010
“Hey Chirs, I did the southwestern internship for three summers and it is definitely not a pyramid scheme. You can look them up in Forbes or on the Better Business Bureau pretty easily. I would say though, that if you are doing the internship for just the money you are probably doing it for the wrong reasons. I made good money, but the experience I took away from it was way more valuable. I just graduated and got offered a job right out of college doing investment banking in New York. A lot of my college friends who had actually interned with I-Banks could not even get interviews for full time jobs in a lot of cases, but I was able to set myself apart by showing that I could step in day one and produce. I think that the skills you build and the resume you are able to build are a lot better reasons to take on a southwestern internship than the money.”

Bay City, MI

#12 Dec 23, 2010
Chris, having been in sales for a while I have found that looking at the average first year income for sales representatives is less helpful than looking at the entire spread. Every sales company in America has a list of their producers top to bottom. Just ask them for the list of sales reps that worked under the sales manager you would be working with. They might not have it on the spot to give you, but could certainly get it to you quickly enough. This lets you see what percent of people participating in Southwestern’s sales internship were above certain thresholds. The average may be $8,000, but knowing what percent make above $4,000, $6,000, $8,000, and $10,000 will be much more helpful for you.

Clarksville, TN

#13 Dec 26, 2010
heather wrote:
80 hours = slave labor
Slave labor is form of forced labor in which people are considered to be the property of others; and no one has been forced to accept the internship position or were deprived of wages or held against their will. Nice try equating hard work and building a work ethic while having the opportunity to earn a ton of money to something as terrible as Slavery.

Charleston, SC

#14 Dec 27, 2010
In southwestern's internship:
1) There are no start up costs.
2) There are no fees.
3) The company pays for all samples and sales supplies along with all of training.
4) The commission rate is 40% for everybody whether on a first summer internship or for someone who has been a sales manager for 5 years.

Hopefully it gets your seal of approval! Lol.

United States

#15 Dec 27, 2010
I love the post from Dustin in San Diego.
Yeah, that was the advise I got before choosing to work with Southwestern. I participated in the SW internship for multiple summers. It was tough and hard and long, but it was the best think I ever did. I always relate it back to highschool and college sports. at first practices are really tough, but before you know it, things get fun even.
Where some ppl would say that this internship isnt for everyone, and that is why they only work with college students, and not highschool kids; i highly recommend this program to anyone who can work hard and wants big things for themselves. ALSO, being able to make decisions for yourself and seeing through OPINION posts helps the decision process. I know the first time my parents heard about this, they were none too happy.
Hope this helps all who read this.

Saint Louis, MO

#16 Dec 27, 2010
Chris: A few things I considered with the Southwestern Program when i was being interviewed were: did I have what it takes to be responsible for my own success or failure during the summer, did I want to leave St. Louis for a few months, and did I trust that a 150 year old company must be doing something right to train me to be successful. Now I think the important thing to realize is that interns are independent contractors, i.e. there are no guarantees, so I knew that the harder I worked the more i would make. There was no "clocking in" to make sure I worked 70+ hours, I did that because I wanted to get the most out of the summer. After that initial interview where I was skeptical like many others, I have since worked for 4 summers and am excited for my 5th, I recruit/train students as well hoping they get the amazing experience I did, which ultimately depends on how they approach this opportunity. And after interviewing with other companies in the medical/sales field the skills that are gained from prospecting, approaching, presenting to over 3000 families in a summer is invaluable. As one employer put it "there is an intangible that comes from that type of experience" all that aside I have made enough money to save for retirement, travel overseas for months at a time, buy things using cash instead of credit, and help my brother go to college. It might not be for everyone but it has been great for me and many of the thousands of students they work with each summer.

Belle Plaine, IA

#17 Dec 28, 2010
I've done the SW summer internship and let me tell you it is tough! Long hours, out of comfort zone, dealt with lots "thanks, but no thanks" situations. But these were all things I was told about in vivid detail before I started so I knew what to expect. Honestly, it was probably one of the best things I did while in college, but definitely a pain in the ass.

Franklin, TN

#18 Dec 28, 2010
100% commission jobs are such scams. The Southwestern Internship is no different. If you sell well great, if not then what do they have to lose?

Chicago, IL

#19 Dec 28, 2010
I cannot speak to Southwestern in particular, but in general this is a massive misconception surrounding commission based sales positions. If you receive any training on the front end it costs the company significant money. Most companies $2,000-$5,000. In fact most companies lose money on the majority of their first year sales reps. So suggesting that a company has no vested interest and nothing to lose if you fail, is just false. They have lots to lose. However if there is no training in the Southwestern Internship then I would agree.

Charleston, SC

#20 Jan 4, 2011
If any of you want to check out a site that may prove helpful, this has a ton of student stories about their southwestern internships. The site is I hope that it helps!

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