Ask An Intern: Strictly Business

Author: Mario Ojadi

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1. Is it possible to change majors? Is there a reason why you couldn't?

It is always possible to change your major. However, there are preferable times to do so and there is one major caveat (pun intended).  Most people at ND have changed their major or minor at some point. Personally, I changed my major twice (Biochemistry to Economics to Psychology). Freshman and sophomore years are the best years to switch majors simply because you are able to change around pretty easily in those years. It is also possible during junior and senior year but it is more difficult because most majors have certain requirements making it harder to complete all of them within two years or less left in undergraduate study. For all majors, you are required to take 30 credits minimum (about 10 classes) to complete the major. However certain majors have longer credit requirements. For example, the neuroscience major has upwards of 45 credits. It would be really difficult to switch into a major in the junior or senior year if you are not going to have enough time left in college to complete it. Of course if one was certain they wanted to do that major they could extend their undergraduate career but that would affect aspects like financial aid, room and board e.t.c. The caveat to switching majors would be switching into a Mendoza major like accounting or finance. Switching into the business school requires a special application and is very competitive so it is usually a coin-flip chance of getting in. 


2. How can I know which major/minor is best for me?

I think the best way to know what major or minor is best for you is to explore! I cannot emphasize this enough. This is pertinent especially if you do not like the classes of the major you are in now. Most majors have an introductory class and some basic level classes. If you do not like the basic level classes of your current major, it is usually a sign that you won't like the more difficult or involved classes. I think the best way to explore is to think about the topics you like talking about or hearing about. Think about the conversations you have had with friends and try and figure out what type of class would cover topics similar to or if you’re luck exactly like the ones you have in mind. Advisors are also a key resource. You can talk to them about the topics you like and they may be able to suggest some introductory level classes for you to take that cover those topics.  Finally, I would say think about what you want as a future career and keep in mind that as much as it would be awesome to explore every subject, time is limited. So really hone in on future aspirations and consider majors that would be put you on a path to completing the goal.


3. What resources does ND offer for students over semester breaks to get experience?

There are many programs Notre Dame offers students to take part in for breaks. For summertime, there are many on-campus and study abroad programs. There are also summer service learning programs, which are faith-based opportunities to enable you to immerse yourself in a community by working for 8 weeks at a non-profit organization, locally or internationally. Certain departments also have undergraduate research and offer jobs for the summer months. For example, you could work as a Research Assistant in the summer. For fall and spring breaks, there are pilgrimages and 1 credit courses which are at sites around the country where you involve yourself in a particular community while learning about their culture, identity, and/or faith. I will actually be going on a pilgrimage to Mexico City this fall. 

One awesome resource to use is the career center because even if you don’t find anything you’re looking for, the Center for Career Development can help you find internships and connect you to ND alumni using tools such as handshake and IrishCompass which may have opportunities for those breaks, especially for the longer Winter and Summer breaks.


4. Are there any special events/days at Notre Dame where potential companies for internships come and answer your questions/hand out applications?

Yes, there are several events of the such. Notre Dame has two major career fairs one in the fall and one in the spring. The fall career fair is usually larger. In the career fair, over one hundred companies from every field of work are represented, and a recruiter is present to give information on the company. Usually, a Notre Dame alum who works for that company is there to bridge the gap between the company and the students. Each company typically offers internship opportunities as well as recruits people for full-time jobs. For the internships, most will offer resources (cards, links to websites, pamphlets, etc.) that walk students through the application process for their internships. 

The same process happens during the spring career fair. Prior to the fair, major and department heads tend to send emails that detail when companies, who are known for hiring students from that major, are coming to give talks or presentations. Students then can get information from the speakers on how to apply to internships for those companies. However, some fields are less represented than others. For example, the healthcare industry has few opportunities for clinical internships; however, the technology side of healthcare is well represented. Consulting, Computer Science, Business and Engineering are always well represented.


5. Are there ways for students to intern with Notre Dame?

Assuming that you mean current undergraduate students and not high school students then yes, there are ways to intern with Notre Dame. In terms of academic internships, the majority of them are departmental specific which means there isn’t one single procedure to acquire those. The best way to proceed would be to approach the head of the department either via email or set up a meeting to talk about what opportunities the department has. Science departments and some others, such as economics, usually have research in the summer. I will say the caveat to the academic internships is that they are usually major-specific, so a finance major is unlikely to land a role interning for the biology department. 

Aside from academics, there are also other opportunities but these tend to vary year to year depending on need. Contacting your advisor to learn about any available ones would be the best move. The Office of Residential Life also offers positions similar to an R.A. (Resident Assistant) for a dorm in the summer. This position is open to any matriculated undergraduate. This position could oversee athletes, conferences, sports programs, and summer academic students who stay in the dorms over the break.


6. How do students get jobs on campus? Are there any restrictions?

There is a job application board on the insideND website which lists job opportunities that are available on and off-campus throughout the year. The jobs available range from childcare to office assistants. Students can visit the site and click on a link that lists one or two words explaining what category the job falls under. These jobs tend to be for current undergraduate students and some for graduate students at Notre Dame.

Once a potential job has been found, the student can click on the link to it and read the job description, pay rate, hours, etc. There is also usually an application process at the bottom of the job description. It can range from just sending a resume to having an essay detailing why you’re right for the job and an interview. For most jobs, there aren’t many restrictions but if there are, they will be detailed on the website. Students can also inquire via advisors or heads of the department if there are any departmental specific jobs available.