March 2017 Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Guest Blogger: Dean Robert Burrus (This post originally appeared on WilmingtonBiz.com on July 15)
Experiential learning is a crucial element of a college education. As defined by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, “An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.” Therefore, internships provide solutions for employers by assisting with workflow in an effective manner to accomplish immediate goals and through finding new team members to help grow the business and accomplish long-term goals.
In the Cameron School of Business (CSB), approximately 65 percent of graduates report completing at least one internship. We highly encourage students to complete these internships, having witnessed the benefits for both the employer and student. Benefits for the employer include the ability to evaluate potential new hires, gain enhanced perspectives, give back to the community and support students, as well as increased productivity for the company or organization. These benefits are even more important for small businesses and startups. On the other hand, students gain experience, make connections, develop skills, explore career choices, and also give back to the community by forging relationships for future students.
In today’s competitive job market, internship experience is a necessity to gain the competitive advantage that graduates need to succeed. During the academic year (fall and spring) our students are always looking for such experiences within the Wilmington area. With approximately 2,000 students within the CSB, Wilmington and the surrounding communities have an endless supply of talent right here in our backyard. CSB has 12 concentrations, including finance, marketing, accounting, operations and information systems; these concentrations provide resources for every industry.
The feedback we receive from employers validates the success of internships. Knowledgeable, self-starting, high emotional intelligence, reliable, strong work ethic, and creative thinkers are just a few of the comments employers use to describe their experiences with UNCW CSB students.
Students describe their internship experience as transformative, an opportunity to develop professional networks, great practical experience and a confidence booster. Approximately 25 percent of recent CSB graduates reported receiving full-time offers through their internship experience. Based on the feedback and numbers we receive, this proves that the time and effort spent educating students, both academically and professionally, is a win-win for employers, students, educators and the community.
For additional information on how to obtain an intern, contact Teresa Walker, director of work practice, at [email protected] or (910) 962-2466.