Guest Blogger: This piece was contributed by Teresa Walker, Director of Student Professional Development at the Cameron School of Business (this post originally appeared on WilmingtonBiz.com on December 1, 2020). (This photo was taken before COVID).
Wilmington is one of the fortunate cities to be home to several post-secondary educational institutions made up of young professionals seeking knowledge and experience. The experience comes in the form of an internship that can be in-person, virtual, or a combination of both. Each year we meet with hundreds of students interested in part-time internship experiences while attending school. How can we meet this demand? With help from local employers! Here’s the why and how of successful internships for both the employer and student:
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
- Economical resources to accomplish long or short term goals and projects
- Allow mentorship and leadership to become an integral part of a company’s culture
- Increase technological knowledge and resources
- A supply of educated and motived hires for a brief period with no commitment
In terms of both today's workload capacity and tomorrow's need for adaptability, starting an internship program is an excellent way to facilitate success within your business.
There are no mysteries to having a successful internship program, even if that program is comprised of one student. Small and large businesses alike can reap the benefits of an internship program. The successful programs start with commitment, followed by structure and direction. The feedback we receive from employers validates the success of internships. Knowledgeable, self-starters, bright, reliable, strong work ethic, and creative approach are just a few of the comments employers use to describe their experiences with UNCW CSB students.
There are a few tried and true approaches to having a successful internship program. 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 or your business. Consider the following strategies:
- 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.
- Structure: Develop a plan based on the student’s potential degree and interests, in combination with those business’s needs. Schedule regular meetings to discuss business needs, to include brainstorming. This will ensure all have an understanding of the goals and outcomes.
- Direction: Consider a mentor – 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.
The time and effort spent educating students professionally is a win-win for employers, students, and the 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 Student Professional Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 90 full-time faculty members and 30 administrative and staff members. The AACSB-accredited business school currently enrolls approximately 2,600 undergraduate students in three degree programs and 750 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@example.com.