Skip to Main Content
by Vault Careers | October 27, 2020


Today, we’re excited to release our 2021 Internship Rankings. This year, our Internship Rankings highlight the top programs in 29 categories, including the Most Prestigious Internships, Best Overall Internships, Best Internships by Industry, Best Internships for Diversity, Best Internships by Employment Factor, and, new this year, Best Internships by Role, including computer science, data analytics, engineering, IT, sales and marketing, software development, and software engineering.

This past summer, Vault surveyed more than 11,000 current and former interns from more than 100 internship programs. In addition to asking interns to rate and review their own internship experiences, we asked interns to rate the prestige of other employers to determine which internships are the most desirable. Interns were presented with a list of top companies and asked to rate each company on how prestigious its internship is on a scale of 1 to 10—with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. Vault averaged the ratings for each employer, then ranked the companies in order, starting with the highest score as No. 1.

Our Top 20 Most Prestigious Internship Programs for 2021 are:

  1. Google
  2. NASA
  3. Apple
  4. Microsoft
  5. Tesla
  6. SpaceX
  7. Goldman Sachs
  8. Amazon
  9. J.P. Morgan
  10. Facebook
  11. Morgan Stanley
  12. The Walt Disney Company
  13. Nike
  14. NBA
  15. Deloitte
  16. IBM
  17. NFL
  18. Berkshire Hathaway
  19. Twitter
  20. Spotify


Google ranks No. 1 in prestige for the sixth year in a row. Survey respondents see Google as their “dream company.” They say the firm offers “an awesome work culture,” “great perks,” and “high pay.” They add that Google is “synonymous with innovation” and its employees are “the best of the best.” In addition, survey respondents say that Google “looks fantastic on a resume” and is “regarded as the best tech company to work for in the world.” However, since “everyone wants to work there,” it’s “difficult to get an internship” with this “industry leader.”

NASA takes one giant leap in the rankings this year to No. 2. Survey respondents tell us that NASA, which ranked No. 3 last year, is “associated with the smartest minds in the world,” and that its work is “historical,” “groundbreaking,” and “life-changing.” Respondents add that NASA has an “amazing reputation” and is a “very unique place to work”—“it would help separate you from other applicants” when looking for full-time positions. The internship program offers “tons of learning opportunities,” “super interesting work,” and “very useful analytical skills”—it’s a “career launcher.” However, getting an internship with NASA is “extremely competitive.”

Apple falls—but not too far—to No. 3 this year. Survey respondents tell us that Apple, which ranked No. 2 last year, is an “American icon and innovator,” has an “amazing culture,” and is a “trend-setting leading tech company.” Respondents also say that Apple offers “high pay,” “great perks,” and “meaningful projects.” While some respondents say that Apple is “beyond compare,” “the best company ever,” and “probably the top internship you could have,” others say that the prestige of your internship “depends on which career path you take.” “It’s a dream for UX,” says one respondent.

Microsoft holds steady at No. 4 this year. According to survey respondents, this “tech leader” and “innovative and creative brand” offers “good benefits,” “great pay,” and “a cool culture.” It has “awesome products”—“its software is widely used around the world.” Although some respondents say that maybe Microsoft is “not as cool as Apple,” many survey respondents agree that it’s a “top tech firm with great career prospects” and that an internship with this “very well established firm” “would look impressive on a resume.”

Tesla soars three places to No. 5 this year. Tesla, which ranked No. 8 last year, is an “innovative,” “up-and-coming,” “cutting-edge,” “elite,” “impressive” “disrupter” that’s “changing the future.” Survey respondents also say that this “cool company” and “top engineering and tech firm” would be a “huge resume builder.” Tesla offers “great growth” and is “pushing frontiers.” Maybe the only drawback is it’s “hard to get a job there.”

Other notable movers in the top 20 this year include the “groundbreaking” and “trendsetting” SpaceX, which skyrocketed four spots to No. 6 in the rankings this year; and the “cool,” “fun,” “impressive,” and “booming” Spotify, which rose three spots to No. 20. Meanwhile, the “e-commerce powerhouse” but “all-work-no-break” Amazon slipped three places to No. 8; and the “dominant,” “innovative,” “leading social media platform” Facebook, which is getting some “bad rep due to privacy issues,” also fell three spots, taking the No. 10 ranking.

Past and Present Interns Rate the 100 Best Internship Programs

In addition to asking interns which companies they’d most like to intern for, Vault asked more than 11,000 interns, past and present, about their actual internship experiences. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, respondents were asked to rate their internship experiences in six core areas: Quality of Life, Compensation and Benefits, Interview Process, Career Development, Full-Time Employment Prospects, and Diversity.

To determine an overall score for each program, the ratings were assigned relative weights based on what interns told us they value most in an internship. The overall scores are based on the following weighted formula: 30 percent career development, 20 percent employment prospects, 20 percent quality of life, 20 percent compensation, 5 percent diversity, and 5 percent interview process. Vault then compiled rankings of the top internship programs in more than 25 different areas.

This year’s winners include:

No. 1 Best Overall Internship: Infosys InStep Internship

Says one former Infosys intern, “The internship was great in pretty much every aspect. I really enjoyed my projects and found it rewarding to see how they connected to Infosys’ broader work. I learned a lot from the speaker series, which occurred multiple times a week. I had the opportunity to hear from people from different backgrounds and learn about how they found success. I also loved participating in the social and community building activities—especially the hackathon. It was an amazing experience to be able to connect with people from all over the world.” Another former Infosys intern, who went through a virtual internship with the firm, tells us, “I absolutely loved all the leadership and career webinars that Infosys offered, as well as the internal learning site, trainings, and all the networking opportunities with executive leadership. I had multiple sessions of these a week, which were incredibly engaging. I loved them!”

No. 2 Best Overall Internship: WilkinGuttenplan Winter or Summer Internship

According to a former WilkinGuttenplan intern, “The best aspects of the internship were the training and real-work engagements. The team truly invested its time and energy into helping the interns succeed on the work we were given. Even after training, if I ever had a question or concern, I could always message my in-charge and she’d make time to help me. Another great aspect of the internship was the virtual shadowing. Rather than eliminate that element of the internship (since we weren’t in-person), the administration worked around this obstacle by implementing video calls so that interns can see what they do on a day-to-day basis. And in one of those shadowing experiences, I was able to ‘sit-in’ on a few meetings, which was really cool.”

Other notable names among the 100 Best Internships this year include the Abbott Internship Program, which jumped two places to rank No. 12 overall, while also ranking No. 1 in Health Care and No. 1 in both Data Analytics and Engineering; the DreamWorks Internship Program, which ranks No. 23 overall and No. 2 in Media & Telecom; and the Futureforce Internship, which ranks No. 26 overall, while also ranking No. 6 in Tech & Engineering, No. 2 in Computer Science, and No. 5 in both Software Development and Software Engineering.

Below are the rest of our Internship Rankings, along with the programs that rank No. 1 in each ranking.

Best Internships by Industry

Best Accounting Internship: WilkinGuttenplan Winter or Summer Internship

Best Consulting Internship: CapTech Summer Internship Program

Best Financial Services Internship: Frazier Deeter Internship Program

Best Health Care Internship: Abbott Internship Program

Best Investment Banking Internship: Evercore Advisory Summer Analyst and Summer Associate Program

Best Media & Telecommunications Internship: Nickelodeon NICKternship Program

Best Retail & Consumer Products Internship: The Home Depot Internship Program

Best Tech & Engineering Internship: Infosys InStep Internship


Best Internships by Employment Factor

Best Internship for Compensation & Benefits: Infosys InStep Internship

Best Internship for Employment Prospects: Infosys InStep Internship

Best Internship for Networking Opportunities: CapTech Summer Internship Program

Best Internship for Overall Career Development: CapTech Summer Internship Program

Best Internship for Quality of Assignments: Infosys InStep Internship

Best Internship for Quality of Life: Infosys InStep Internship

Best Internship for Real-Life Experience: WilkinGuttenplan Winter or Summer Internship

Best Internship for Training & Mentoring: CapTech Summer Internship Program


Best Internships for Diversity

Best Internship for Overall Diversity: Infosys InStep Internship

Best Internship for Diversity with Respect to Women (tie): Infosys InStep Internship & WilkinGuttenplan Winter or Summer Internship

Best Internship for Racial & Ethnic Diversity: Infosys InStep Internship

Best Internship for LGBTQ+ Diversity: Infosys InStep Internship


Best Internships by Role

Best Internship for Computer Science: Infosys InStep Internship

Best Internship for Data Analytics: Abbott Internship Program

Best Internship for Engineering: Abbott Internship Program

Best Internship for Information Technology: MetLife Internship

Best Internship for Sales & Marketing: NetApp Internship Program

Best Internship for Software Development: Infosys InStep Internship

Best Internship for Software Engineering: Infosys InStep Internship


Trends from Vault’s Internship Survey

In addition to ranking the companies with the best internship programs, Vault discovered some interesting facts about students, internships, and the internship search: 

  • 76.5% of internships were virtual this year, 10.9% were partially virtual, and 12.6% were entirely on site.
  • 38.4% of internships lasted less than 6 weeks, 24.2% lasted between 10 and 12 weeks, 12.0% lasted between 6 and 7 weeks, and 11.1% lasted between 8 and 9 weeks.
  • 68.3% percent of interns say the virtual aspects of their internships “exceeded their expectations,” 29.4% say the virtual aspects “met their expectations,” and just 2.3% say the virtual aspects “fell below their expectations.”
  • Approximately 56 percent of internships resulted in full-time job offers.
  • “Career advancement in chosen industry” was the No. 1 deciding factor when choosing an internship. “Corporate culture” was the No. 2 deciding factor, followed by “Opportunity for a full-time job offer” at No. 3, and “Pay” at No. 4.
  • 42.6% of respondents found their internships through campus recruiting, 13.9% through a company’s website, 8.6% through professional networking, 8.4% through referrals/friends and family, and 8.3% through career fairs.
  • When researching internships, most interns relied on their laptops or smartphones: 91.5% of respondents frequently used laptops, 37.0% frequently used smartphones, 16.1% frequently used desktop computers, and 8.0% frequently used tablets.

View the complete Vault Internship Rankings