By Rick Tetzeli

(FORTUNE Magazine) – The job landscape facing the class of '93 is bleak, even for engineering majors, who command average starting salaries of up to $39,793 a year, the highest for new grads. But those engineers at top universities who wisely have summer internships on their resumes are finding it easier to find employment. Maury Hanigan, who advises companies like General Electric, Unilever, and Xerox on campus recruiting, says 76% of those engineering majors with job offers in hand held summer internships in previous years, vs. only 32% of those without offers. Says she: ''Internships are becoming more and more important. That's where students learn the soft skills of working in a corporate environment.'' One group benefiting from internships: blacks and Hispanics, who are receiving increased attention from employers like Mobil Oil that are eager to diversify their work force. Such students now represent 7.2% of engineering graduates, up from 4.4% ten years ago. But giving a student a summer internship doesn't mean you've won him for life. MIT senior Arik Brown, 20, interned at General Motors and GE Aerospace (now part of Martin Marietta). ''When I came to MIT, I had no sense of the job market,'' he says. ''Now I've worked in the real world.'' He is weighing a $35,000 offer from Motorola against a full scholarship at the University of Michigan graduate school of engineering.