The GradTask concept was piloted in early 2014 with 4 graduate students from Duke University performing tasks for reputable environmental nonprofits.  Two of the four students subsequently received summer internships from their GradTask supervisors, and a third student had their GradTask supervisor write recommendations for her as she applied to other jobs.  The nonprofits, in the meantime, received four fantastic work products from intelligent and motivated volunteers at no cost, as well as confidence that these students would make productive, manageable interns.


"Not only did my GradTask lead to an internship, I continued to work with my GradTask supervisor after my internship for my master's thesis. At the moment, the paper my GradTask supervisor and I have co-authored is in review at the peer review journal Energy Policy.


~ Xinxing Zhang, MEM '15, Duke Nicholas School.



Build a targeted network.


Earn the ability to approach the company for which you performed work and ask, “Is your company or a similar company to yours hiring?  Can you put in a good word for me?"


Improve your resume.


Performing a GradTask earns you marketable experience.


Gain work experience during the school year.


A GradTask’s remote nature enables accumulating experience while in school.  Moreover, students might perform GradTasks during the summer in addition to an internship, and thereby gain quality experience from multiple employers.


Gain work experience in a time-efficient manner.


Students work remotely on GradTasks, enabling them to work when it is most convenient.


Better understand your career aspiration.


Many students are unsure about what career track to follow, and experience performing assignments could help them understand their preferences.


Possible compensation.


Some GradTasks may include pay. Entities control compensatory terms.


Possible course credit.


GradTasks could qualify as ‘independent study projects’ and/or ‘scholarly work’, thereby enabling students to network while fulfilling class credit.




Enhance productive capacity with minimal budget impact.


Projects are outsourced inexpensively to intelligent, motivated third parties.




Exposure of the company’s brand to graduate students interested in working in the Entity’s industry.


Experience working with potential employees before hiring.


Beyond an applicant’s resume and interview skills, many factors play into whether (s)he fits well with the Entity.  How does this applicant communicate on a daily basis, get along with the current personnel, and function as part of a team? Delegate this applicant a GradTask and find out.


GradTasks are not internships. 


Students that sign up for GradTasks knowingly and willingly volunteer to perform work for which they will not receive monetary compensation, unless otherwise specified.  Thus, Entities need not worry about hairy legal issues associated with unpaid internships.


Train future managers.


Enabling researchers/analysts/employees who do not manage others within the organization to delegate GradTasks and manage graduate students prepares them for future management roles.


Good will from young people leads to future money. 


Students who have fulfilling experiences performing GradTasks for an Entity will likely harbor good will.  In the future, such good will might manifest as donations (for non-profits) and/or investments (for private companies).