Frequently Asked Questions: Management Intern Program (MI)

Application Process FAQs

Question:Question:Do I need a degree to qualify for the MI program?

No, a degree is NOT required.

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Question:Am I eligible for the program if I'm a GS-12? Answer:

Yes. However, you will be required to take a change to a lower grade (i.e., GS-11) to enter the program. A change to lower grade does not mean that your present salary will be reduced. You will come into the program at the GS-11 level with pay retention. Please note that all GS-11s and GS-12s will remain at a GS-11 level for the entire two years with the eligibility of converting out of the program at a GS-12 at the end of those two years.

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Question:I understand that GS-8, 10, and 12 grade levels must take a change to lower grade to enter the program. Is that true? Answer:

Yes. A GS-8 will enter the program at the GS-7, GS-10 will enter the program at the GS-9, and GS-12 will enter the program at the GS-11. It is important to remember that, while you may be required to accept a change to lower grade, you will retain your current salary.

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Question:Why must I take a change to lower grade? Answer:

There are two reasons why many of you will be required to take a change to a lower grade. The first reason is that, typically, GS-8 and GS-10 are not considered professional grades. The professional-grade range for the MI program is GS-7, 9, and 11.

MIs at the GS-7 and GS-9 levels are eligible for performance-based promotions within the first year of the program. GS-11 is the highest grade obtained while in the program and at which you qualify for the professional field you are entering, i.e., GS-301.

The second reason is that the program is only open at the GS-7 through 11 grades. Therefore, applicants at the GS-12 level must take a change to a lower grade to qualify for the program. Even though you may have to take a change to lower grade, you will retain your current salary throughout the program. At program completion, MIs converted into a professional position with a career ladder to the GS-12 full-performance level.

A new Career Ladder is not the only incentive; the program also allows many individuals to change into career fields projected as future administrative areas sought by NIH.

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Question:Question:Must I give up my current position if I'm accepted for the program?

Yes, you will be reassigned from your organization to OD/OHR/WSDD/NIHTC as an FTE intern during the two years you are in the program.

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Question:Can I bring along any notes or other items that I have prepared beforehand in preparation for the Management Intern Writing Exercise? Answer:

The writing exercise topic is not made available to the quarterfinalists before the actual date of the exercise. In addition, the topic is general, thereby not geared toward a particular field for which you’d need to study or prepare. The main goal of the writing exercise is to assess your writing skills rather than to test your knowledge in a technical area.

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Question:When will I start the program? Answer:

Selectees will enter on duty beginning in Mid-August 2023 and finish the program two years, or 104 weeks later.

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Program FAQs

Question:I understand that in addition to having a supervisor, I get to select a mentor. What's the role of the mentor and how do I identify this person? Answer:

Yes, you do get to select a mentor. Your mentor will provide you with guidance regarding training recommendations and selections, rotational opportunities, career plans/target position, issues that are unique to you and your concerns, etc. Prior to selecting your mentor, you will have an opportunity to interview and speak with several senior managers, including Executive Officers, Grants Management Officers, Budget Officers, Contract Officers, and others regarding their thoughts on mentoring.

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Question:I understand that I can rotate in a variety of different fields, is that correct? Answer:

Yes, you are encouraged to “try out” a variety of different occupations. The typical intern works in six to eight different fields during the program, with the ultimate goal at program-end to qualify for and convert into either budget and finance, contract/procurement administration, general administration, grants management, human resources, or management/program analysts. You may also plan on rotations that last for only a few weeks; this is called a “mini” rotation. Rotations may also be for a few days; this is called a “shadow” rotation.

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Question:What is my title during the two years I'm in the program? Answer:

Management Intern, GS-301.

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Question:Who is my supervisor during the time I’m in the program? Answer:

The designated NIH Management Intern Program Manager from within the NIH Training Center will be your supervisor of record. They will be responsible for your administrative needs, including timecard and leave approval, PMAP review, processing training and travel requests, answering administrative questions, and any program specific questions.

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Question:What will my job be upon completing the program? Answer:

You are charged with finding your own position. The program has never had an intern that did not find a position. Many interns find positions through their past rotational assignments.

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Question:Do interns get any money for training? Answer:

The budget number for this program year has yet to be determined, however it is anticipated that it will be at or near this year’s number of $2,500.

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Question:Are there opportunities to do rotations or work assignments outside of the NIH? Answer:

Yes, with sufficient advance time and proper approval. Interns can rotate to offices with HHS as well as to agencies outside of HHS. Historically, outside rotations have been approved when requesting paperwork demonstrated the outside rotation’s uniqueness, relevance to the MI’s career goals, and benefit to the NIH.

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Contact Information

Receive important recruitment announcements for the Management Intern Program via our listserv. When currently recruiting, these announcements and notices will keep you abreast.

Join the Management Intern Recruitment Information listserv.

For additional information, please contact us by e-mail or phone: