Q+A: Andy Dillow of The Intern Group
The Intern Group is an award-winning, social enterprise that takes top applicants and significantly improves their skills and employability via an international internship programs. We sat down with Andy Dillow, Director of the Intern New York division, to discuss this rapidly growing business.
How did you become involved in Intern New York?
My interests in career promotion started when I was volunteering at WIBO (Workshop In Business Opportunities), which helps people become successful entrepreneurs. This opportunity convinced me to leave my successful banking position and work for The Intern Group.
Can you give some background into the history of the company?
The Intern Group started in 2011 in Medellin, Colombia as a pilot program to place interns to work at the U-20 World Cup. FIFA agreed to place 10 volunteers and the company used the experience to get accepted into Startup Chile, which was covered by CNN. This exposure helped extend The Intern Group's global reach. Now there are locations in NYC, London, Hong Kong, Madrid, Melbourne, and Medellin. The current DUMBO location opened in January.
What is the goal of the program?
To create a more diverse workforce, initiate cultural exchanges, and provide work opportunities that would otherwise not be available.
How do you select participants into the internship program?
We do a thorough interviewing process to make sure all candidates are highly qualified and meet the visa requirements for the area they wish to find work. We select interns from all over the world to satisfy our ambitions to create a more diverse workforce. Educational backgrounds are also diverse so companies have more selection options.
Can you explain the Intern New York applicant process?
We seek out qualified applicants who are usually Seniors in college or recent graduates who want a unique international experience. Candidates pay us for the program and we provide the visa, housing, travel costs, and job placement. We also set up cultural programs such as walking tours through the city and museum visits. The Intern Group also provides skills training such as interview and resume workshops. Most interns stay between 2 and 6 months. Right now we have about 120 interns with another 100 expected to join before the end of the summer.
What are the expansion plans for The Intern Group?
Intern New York is looking to solidify it's reputation within NYC and grow it's intern numbers each year. The company as a whole is looking to expand towards the west coast and also open up new locations in China, Germany, and Ireland.
Do you know why DUMBO was chosen as a location?
The office building is newly renovated and is filled with other exciting startups and businesses that can potentially benefit from our program. The area is highly attractive because it's close to the subway and the tight community vibe encourages entrepreneurship.
What is your favorite spot/s in DUMBO?
Atrium for a glass of wine on a Friday night and Almondine Bakery for a croissant on a Sunday morning. My favorite business in Dumbo is Respire Medical for the amazing work they do creating sleep apnoea devices