This piece was contributed by Teresa Walker, Director of Work Practice, Cameron School of Business
Consistently, we hear from students throughout the spring semester, “I would prefer a summer internship in Wilmington.”
However, the number of interested students outnumber the opportunities available. Therefore, many students end up going elsewhere to gain applied learning experience.
Is your business losing out on this valuable resource located within your community? Furthermore, from an economics viewpoint, could this be considered an opportunity cost?
Experiential learning through internships is a crucial element of the college education. In addition, internships provide solutions for employers by assisting with workflow in an effective manner in order to accomplish immediate goals and through finding new team members to help grow the business and accomplish long-term goals.
Many organizations recognize the benefit of having educated, professional and motivated students to fill their short-term hiring needs. Not only will interns provide a fresh perspective, employers also benefit from the following:
- Discovery of motivated stars for future hiring needs resulting in higher employee retention
- The use of economical resources to accomplish long- or short-term goals and projects
- Increase of technological knowledge and resources
- Greater supply of educated and motived hires for a brief period with no commitment
- Opportunity for mentoring to become an integral part of a company’s culture
In terms of today's workload capacity, tomorrow's changing technology and the need for adaptability, starting an internship program is an excellent way to facilitate success within your business.
There are a few tried and true approaches to having a successful internship program, whether it involves one intern or several. While the tasks may involve some of the routine office responsibilities, you should utilize the intern so that you aren’t short-changing the student and your business.
Consider the following strategies:
- The Interview: Select an intern with the same approach used to select an employee. Discuss both the business needs and intern goals. This process creates ownership and commitment for all parties.
- The Structure: Develop a plan based on the student’s potential degree and learning objectives, in combination with the business’s needs. Schedule regular meetings to discuss business needs and include brainstorming. This will ensure all have an understanding of the goals and needed outcomes.
- The Direction: Consider being or assigning a mentor. This is someone committed to onboarding the intern to facilitate a productive environment. Also, include the intern in all business activities, both during and after hours. Always follow up with a scheduled performance and goal review. This will aid in assessing abilities and cultural fit if you are considering an upcoming hire.
Many students are currently looking for summer internship opportunities, so please don’t hesitate and miss out on valuable local resources! The students have no choice but to accept offers outside of our community. As we work together to increase the number of internships, we are actually preparing the next round of educated professionals and contributing citizens.
For additional information on how to obtain an intern, contact Teresa Walker, Director of Work Practice at [email protected]
or (910) 962-2466.
Robert T. Burrus, Jr., Ph.D., is the dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, named in June 2015. Burrus joined the UNCW faculty in 1998. Prior to his current position, Burrus was interim dean, associate dean of undergraduate studies and the chair of the department of economics and finance. Burrus earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in mathematical economics from Wake Forest University. The Cameron School of Business has approximately 60 full-time faculty members and 20 administrative and staff members. The AACSB-accredited business school currently enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate students in three degree programs and 200 graduate students in four degree programs. The school also houses the prestigious Cameron Executive Network, a group of more than 200 retired and practicing executives that provide one-on-one mentoring for Cameron students. To learn more about the Cameron School of Business, please visit http://csb.uncw.edu/. Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected].