How Adobe creates a meaningful virtual internship program

May 20, 2021

Punith SuvarnaSenior Director, Talent Acquisition, Adobe
2oth May 2021

Last year, amidst the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adobe made the decision to host our first ever virtual internship program. While many companies cancelled or scaled back their 2020 university programs, we welcomed more than 700 interns virtually. It was a great undertaking—equal parts challenging and exciting—and we were proud to end our 2020 internship season with an NPS score of more than 88 percent.

Our university season is a time where students get to experience all the innovation that Adobe has to offer. Students get to work across our business—creating impact on a variety of our products and teams, such as for Adobe XD, Adobe Express, Adobe Research, Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Acrobat, and more. So, as we approach the start of our intern season again, we did something we never imagined we would be doing last year—we are welcoming our largest university cohort ever to Adobe and continuing to keep our internship completely virtual for 2021. This year, we are welcoming more than 1,000 interns globally!

Here’s what we learned last year, and how we are continuing to create a meaningful virtual internship.

Welcome students from all over the world

One of our biggest takeaways from hosting a virtual internship is that it allowed us to cast a wider net when we began our recruiting season. We quickly learned that top students come from all over the world, with each of them bringing their unique perspectives and ideas. This year we’re seeing students join us from more than 300 different universities globally. Aligned to our #AdobeForAll vision, our philosophy is to hire ‘top students’ based on their skills and capabilities, rather than focusing on ‘top schools.’ We understand that to be more creative, innovative, and successful, you need people from all walks of life on your team.

Let them make their mark

One of the principles at Adobe: “Good ideas can come from anywhere in the company,” and that includes our interns. We hire some of the best interns in the industry and we give them space to learn and contribute. At Adobe, interns contribute to over 30 percent of our U.S. patent filings each year. And last year, more than half of the technology patents the Adobe Research team filed included an intern as an inventor—which isn’t surprising because our Adobe Research interns get the unique opportunity to decide exactly what projects they want to work on. No idea is too big! From the first day an intern starts at Adobe, we let them know that we support them and encourage them to be creative— making the most of their time learning from the best and applying their skills. In fact, some even return for a second internship because they are eager to continue their #AdobeLife.

Invest in interns as future leaders

Our interns aren’t just students joining us for a few months. Here at Adobe, we truly view them as the future leaders of our company, which is why we prepare them as such. For our incoming cohort, they can look forward to getting career advice and connecting with our inspiring leaders, including CEO, Shantanu Narayen; CHRO, Gloria Chen; chief product officer, Scott Belsky; and more. Our virtual Intern Summit, which will see all our interns coming together online, will provide a variety of breakout sessions that will help grow their skills. And our Talent Development team has a robust set of sessions ready for our interns, all aligned to our Adobe Capabilities.

Manifest community

What differentiates a great virtual internship program? Community. When we set out to begin our first virtual program, manifesting community and creating an exceptional experience was a priority for us—and that hasn’t changed. Even prior to their start date, we instituted a “keep in-touch” initiative, where interns got to learn about Adobe’s business ahead of time, join webinars, interact with the team, and more. Upon starting, interns can look forward to a mentor and buddy program, taking part in a variety of online socials, joining our Employee Network Groups, and opportunities to interact with other teams across multiple communication channels. Not only that, for our virtual Intern Project Expo, interns from all over the world will be uploading their projects into an online portal to showcase their work to all our employees. It’s a science-fair-like setting and always a big highlight of the year. Our online platform allows employees and interns to comment on different projects, leave feedback, and vote for their favorites.

Within the next few weeks, more than 90 percent of our interns will have joined us, putting our season in full swing. For many of them, this will be a pivotal moment in their career journey, and we are very excited that Adobe gets to be a part of that. The heart of our program is all about creating an exceptional experience for our interns, from the projects they work, to the people they connect with. And just like our company mission, we are confident that our internship program will have the power to inspire, transform, and move careers forward!