You have to start somewhere in your path to career satisfaction. Fortunately, a well-chosen internship provides the perfect place to get underway. Here’s why an internship is more valuable than any week at the beach:

Internship? More like interview

Tons of people end up working at the places they intern. Amanda Brown, a recruiter at Big Four firm KPMG, affirms that “our internship program is our main pipeline for full time hires.” What does that mean to you? You’ll never get a better shot at joining the team for good.

Go in smart, come out smarter

In addition to learning the ropes, you’ll be improving your writing and presentation skills, seeing how teams collaborate in the “real world” and familiarizing yourself with the technology being used in the field. (You’ll be wise to take notes.)

Make friends in high places

An internship is a smorgasbord of chances to form new business relationships. Dig in – get business cards, book lunches with people who impress you, go to (or even help run) the corporate events – and make contacts and connections you can keep for a whole career.

Skate through school

Whether it’s a summer internship or one that lasts through a semester, you’ll likely come back to your classes energized, engaged and much readier to grasp the course material. Trust us – it just “clicks” once you’ve seen how this stuff gets applied in a business setting.

All this got you thinking about an internship of your own? Find out what companies are looking for.