The College of Business has long promoted internships informally among students, but it took a key step toward formalizing its endorsement when it hired Pam Knowles as the Executive Director of Industry Relations. Knowles will raise the visibility of the college and its students and establish and sustain relationships with potential employers and partners to strengthen employment and internship opportunities. A career and internship coordinator will be working with Knowles in another newly created position.“The investment in these positions paves the way for the college’s vision of launching a fully realized Student Success Center,” said Dean Ilene Kleinsorge.
Internships are not a graduation requirement for business students, but that does not diminish their value. Besides giving students work experience that builds solid resumes, internships can enhance students’ educational experiences and aid their decisions about career direction.
“It is essential that students, graduate and undergraduate, have the experience that an internship provides,” said Knowles. “Working on projects with colleagues, understanding a certain work environment, learning business etiquette or helping to define their career path—there are so many reasons why an internship is valuable.”
Organizations working with interns also benefit. Interns can infuse an organization with fresh ideas and perspectives, offer insights about the latest technologies and complete strategic projects without straining in-house resources. Sometimes the match is mutually beneficial enough that it begins a long-term relationship.
The Career Success Center is creating robust systems and tools to assist students in their quest to provide resources for internships for students and jobs for graduates. Externally, the industry relations initiatives are essential to creating the opportunities for profession-ready students and graduates.
Through these efforts, businesses will be able to find support for defining and establishing internships, and businesses and interns alike can get help to manage the relationship once the intern is engaged. Students will benefit from a suite of services that will help them successfully transition from academia to the business world.
Carly Stiles, a marketing major, did the leg work herself and found beneficial internships, including a summer internship at Fox News in New York City.
Stiles said her peers often wonder how she was able to find such great opportunities. “I’ve had other students ask me, ‘How are you getting these internships?’” she said. “A lot of students don’t even know where to begin. People don’t know when to look; they don’t know where to look.” She believes that future students will have a much greater chance of finding equally exciting opportunities now that the college is developing the Career Success Center to help with locating and landing internships.
During her summer internship at Fox News, Stiles was able to gain valuable professional experience, build her network, live and work in one of most active and impactful commerce-centric cities in the world and advance her goal of one day working and living in the city.
Internships are not just beneficial to students. The businesses also find significant value in hiring OSU students. “We’re here to support the students in being successful while making sure that the business is getting the benefit as well,” said Knowles.  “Initially there can be a time commitment to having an intern, but the time investment is worth the return. Any business we work with will be impressed with a profession-ready intern who is there with the objective of learning and contributing to the business, as well as taking a significant step in their own career. It really is a win-win for everyone.”
Encouraging Internships...
Students are wise to consider an internship as part of their academic experience. Employers and graduate schools look for students with one or more career-related experiences. According to the 2010 Student Survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, students who have an internship experience are offered a starting salary that is, on average, 17 percent higher than students without experience.
Student Benefits of an Internship
Personal:»» Boost maturity and self-confidence»» Enjoy greater clarity about career decisions»» Improve human relations skills»» Prepare for life after graduationAcademic:»» Integrate classroom theory with real-life experiences»» Understand the relevance of course work»» Increase motivation to learn»» Use resources that are not available on campusProfessional:»» Explore a potential career field»» Develop career-related skills and abilities»» Observe professional people and behavior»» Build a network of professional contacts, potentially developing mentoring relationships»» Gain a competitive edge for employment or graduate school admissionFinancial:»» Approximately 50 percent of all interns receive some form of compensation»» Subsidize tuition costs or use for transportation expenses