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I'm currently doing an internship at a company for a fixed-month period, which I'm now close to the end of. Recently they approached me and asked if I would like to stay longer, instead of going back to university once my period was over.

Originally I was planning on going right back to school, but I've since received an offer from another company that I can't refuse. The offer's great, but the company itself is somewhat of a better fit for me as well. (To be clear, it's just another internship, I'll be returning to my degree to finish it after that final internship.)

How do I politely decline the first company's offer? Do I mention the fact I'm leaving for another company? What should I say?

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I just want to pipe in about the "back to school" part. The money (or company) may seem like a good move, however, I would suggest that completion of a degree that you are close to anyway would FAR outweigh leaving earlier for a job. –  Chris Lively Mar 31 at 19:27
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Oh, I won't be leaving school, it's another internship opportunity for a brief period. Then I'd be finishing off the little remaining part of my degree. –  Doug Smith Mar 31 at 20:58

3 Answers 3

How do I politely decline the first company's offer? Do I mention the fact I'm leaving for another company? What should I say?

How about "I've really enjoyed working here, and I really appreciate the offer, but I've decided that I can best round out my background by interning elsewhere."

It's not very much different from politely declining any offer.

  • Thank the offering party
  • Make sure you explicitly decline
  • If you feel you must, indicate some reason for declining
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I wonder how many "how do I be polite/professional" questions on the site can be answered, "be gracious, be clear, be brief" :-) –  Steve Jessop Apr 1 at 10:40

"Thank you for your offer but I have decided to decline it."

You don't need to tell anyone about your other offer, that is your own personal business. however...

IMO, it wouldn't hurt to tell them about it, and that it better suits your interests. The reason I would do that is because it leaves room for them to make a counter-offer.

Maybe the counter-offer would be a full-time associate, rather than an intern... I prefer more options to be on the table when making a decision, but it is your choice whether to inform them of your personal life.

You must understand, in the corporate world, you mostly have to act in your own interests, or the interests of your family. Everyone understands (and should respect) that.

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Chris Lively made an excellent comment about going back to school. You may have issues that in the short term would be solved by entering the work-force, but the long-term benefits of your education should not be discounted.

So considering that, you absolutely should explain your other offer to your current firm, telling them that extending your "internship" is not possible, but perhaps they would work with you as an employee to allow you to complete your studies. And you should not limit your possibilities to just the ones currently before you, but also be open to others that would allow you to complete your schooling.

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@DougSmith Then you should edit your question to reflect that refined piece of information. Internships are a part of your education, after all, so your decision to move on is probably a very good one as it will give you a broader view of your industry. Good luck! –  Aaron Hall Mar 31 at 21:04

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