Internship Resources

Welcome to the College of Business’ Internship page. An internship is an experience in which the student learns by taking on a responsible role as a worker in an organization and by observing and reflecting on the various roles in a specific career.

Internships supplement your coursework by providing the opportunity to add practical, relevant experience and by developing your skills and abilities in your chosen field of study.

Internships provide abundant benefits to students, employers, and the community. When organizations are hiring, they seek out students who have participated in an internship because it shows that the student has an interest in their chosen field and will not require as much training as someone with no relevant experience.

If you would like to learn more about how an internship can enhance your educational experience and improve your marketability to employers or if you are an employer wishing to hire a student intern, please email Joelynn Stephen at joelynn.stephen@pnw.edu

Internship Course Application

Information About Internships:

One of the best ways to acquire a greater understanding about your chosen field is by gaining practical experience in a work setting. It not only supplements a your educational experience, but it also provides many additional benefits to those who participate in one.

  • Preview a career. It gives you the opportunity for career exploration before you chooses a particular career.
  • Gain employment experience. It enhances your education and helps to develop career-specific skills and abilities. Internship experience makes you more competitive and marketable when seeking employment because it demonstrates interest and experience in your chosen field.
  • Networking. Through an internship, you will have the opportunity to make valuable career contacts, network with other professionals in the field, develop a mentor relationship, and possibly receive a full-time job offer.
  • Apply your knowledge. An internship experience can add more meaning to academic study by giving you the chance to integrate theories learned in the classroom with “real life” situations.
  • Design your educational experience. An internship is a way for you to design your own curriculum. You decide what you want to learn, how to learn it, and how you will synthesize the experience with academic knowledge.
  • Financial Rewards. Although not all internships are paid, some organizations do compensate students for their internship experiences. In addition, some employers pay new hires more if they have some type of experiential learning, as opposed to those who do not have any.

Employer Benefits

Whether it is a large company that has been in business for many years or a small start-up venture that is only a few years old, students can gain valuable knowledge working under the supervision of someone in their chosen field. Small and large organizations can benefit from providing internship opportunities to students in a variety of ways.

  • Pre-screen Employees. An internship allows the employer to gain an accurate evaluation of the skill level and ability of an individual before making a full-time job offer.
  • Reduce hiring and training costs. Hiring and training costs can be drastically reduced if the intern shows potential to excel in the roles he or she is assigned on a full-time basis.
  • Maintain University Relationships. When the need arises for an intern in the future, an organization can easily contact someone from the University to quickly fill the vacancy.
  • Identify Students with Focused Interest. Students who pursue careers in the same field as their internship demonstrate their interest and dedication to continue building their skills and abilities in the chosen area of interest.
  • Gain an Outside Perspective. An intern can bring a fresh approach to situations and provide insightful solutions from an external point of view.
  • Community Outreach. By hiring an intern, the organization is demonstrating its commitment to community development and furthering the future economic development of the area.

Internship Process

Qualifications

Students must be at least a junior in standing or have approval by the department head to receive academic credit for their internship experience.

In order to earn academic credit, approval must be received prior to beginning your internship. Retroactive credit will not be awarded for internships started prior to receiving department approval.

Steps to Enroll in an Internship Course

  1. Speak with your Academic Advisor to see if you have room on your plan of study for an internship course.

2. Fill out Internship Course Application:

Fill Out Application

3. The Internship Advisory Committee will review your internship, assign you a Faculty Mentor, and enroll you in an internship course, either one or three credit hours. You will be responsible for paying for the course, just as you would for any course you take towards your degree.

For questions, contact Joelynn Stephen at joelynn.stephen@pnw.edu

Course Requirements

A syllabus will be provided to you at the start of your internship outlining the course objectives, policies, and assignments.

Performance Evaluation: You will receive an email with a performance evaluation towards the end of your internship. The performance evaluation is to be completed by your supervisor and then submitted by you to your Faculty Mentor.

Final Documents: You will write a reflection memorandum (1-2 pages) and research paper (3-5 pages) that will be submitted to your Faculty Mentor at the end of the academic term.

Your Faculty Mentor will assign you a grade for the course based on your Performance Evaluation and Final Documents.

Experiential Learning (ExL) Credit

Beginning in Fall 2008, all Purdue University Northwest students enrolling in classes will be expected to complete one (1) Experiential Learning course as a graduation requirement. Experiential Learning means gaining active, hands-on experience in the real world as part of a student’s academic program. Integrating the formal classroom instructional process with practical experience enhances learning.

Internships are one of the options available to students for completion of their Experiential Learning requirement. To fulfill this course with an internship, students must enroll in a one, two, or three credit hour class and be able to devote sufficient time to their work site to earn a passing grade.

Facts about Internships

Below are a few key facts regarding the reasons why an internship can be so beneficial to students near graduation.

  • Students’ internship experience has been shown to be the #1 factor influencing employer hiring decisions for recent grads.
  • A May 2012 study showed that students who completed an internship earned about 15% more on average than those who did not engage in an internship.
  • According to a NACE 2010 Internship and Co-op Survey, 44.6% of new hires (from the Class of 2009) came from employers’ internship programs.
  • An April 2012 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed an overall conversion rate for turning interns into full-time employers hit an all-time high of 58.6%.
  • One university study showed that on average, only 30% of graduating seniors have job offers prior to graduation, whereas this number almost doubles to 58% for students who have completed internships.

Internship Resources

There are a variety of ways that you can seek out internship opportunities. The most effective job seekers employ a sufficient variety of job search strategies and resources, without spreading themselves too thinly; ideally, you should plan on devoting ~80% of your time & energy to proactive methods, and ~20% to reactive methods.

Proactive

  • Proactive methods involve a significant amount of research and networking on your part. Keep in mind – somewhere between 70-80% of job openings are filled through referrals. YOU want to be the referred candidate!
  • Start by creating a target list of employers where you’d ideally like to work, if given the choice (8-10 is probably enough to begin).
  • Next, utilize various media (e.g. LinkedIn, word-of-mouth referrals from people in your existing network, Handshake employer database) to seek out individuals who work at companies on your target list. You’ll probably find that you have more warm networking leads than you realized…
  • Conduct informational interviews with people on your networking list, to learn as much as you can about the industry, their company, etc. If you make a strong connection, this may be someone who could refer you along to a hiring manager in their sphere of influence. Even if they aren’t able to do this, you can still reference your contact in a cover letter, showing that you’ve gone the “extra mile” to familiarize yourself with the organization before you apply.
  • FOLLOW UP. Make sure that you contact employers 7-10 days after you apply for a position, to restate your interest and inquire about scheduling an interview. *Note: if the job posting says “no phone calls” (or something similar), disregard this step.
  • Network, network, network!! Take advantage of on- and off-campus events that provide the opportunity to meet people in your field(s) of interest, such as Career Expos, regional young professional groups, professional associations in your field, conferences, etc.

Reactive

  • Reactive strategies rely on you to react when you see an opportunity posted that interests you.
  • For example, you know that you’re looking for a tax accounting internship, so you use online tools to seek out open positions in that area, and react by sending in your application.
  • The upside of reactive strategies is that they are easy – you can quickly submit your resume online for a dozen job postings in the span of half an hour.
  • The downside is that by the time that job was posted, the employer likely had a handful of candidates already in mind to reach out to in regards to the opening; in other words, you start at a disadvantage by trying to be the “needle” that actually gets pulled from the haystack.

Here are a few solid online job boards where you can find a high volume of openings in different industries:

  • Handshake (PNW’s internal job site)
  • ZipRecruiter (one of the most mobile-friendly mega online job boards)
  • Idealist.org (largest online database of internships & jobs in the non-profit sector)
  • Indeed (the largest online database of jobs you’ll find; sources postings from thousands of other site)
  • LinkedIn (world’s largest professional network; also has a robust job search database)
  • CollegeRecruiter (excellent site for internships and entry-level positions for recent grads)