Internships

Build hands-on experience: take on a role in an organization and develop your skills in your chosen field of study.

How to Enroll

  1. Speak with your Academic Adviser to see if you have room on your plan of study for an internship course.
  2. Fill out Internship Course 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.
  • Students must be at least a junior in standing or have approval by the department head to receive academic credit for their internship experience.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

For questions, contact Joelynn Stephen, Associate Director of Career Management, at joelynn.stephen@pnw.edu

 

Students sitting around desk
HTM students working in kitchen

Experiential Learning (ExL) Credit

experiential learningAll Purdue University Northwest students are expected to fulfill one course of Experiential Learning as a graduation requirement. Experiential learning means gaining active, hands-on experience in the real world as part of a student’s academic program.

Internships are one option for completing your Experiential Learning requirements. 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.

My internship at Clear Channel Radio enabled me to use what I have learned in my marketing and advertising classes at Purdue University Northwest and apply them to the promotions department for WLIT and WNUA.

Sara, Clear Channel WLIT/WNUA intern

Internship Information

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 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. Students with internship experience are more competitive and marketable when seeking employment because it demonstrates interest and experience in the 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.

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.

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 rises to 58% for students who have completed internships.

There are a variety of ways that students 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)

From managing a single portfolio for a client to 401K plans for small businesses, my internship provided me with an insight into financial markets, management and effective planning.

Sheryar, AXA Advisors intern

Past Companies

Below is a list of companies who have participated in Purdue University Northwest’s Internship Program. These companies have provided high caliber experiences to our students and helped foster our students’ professional development. Students engaged in a structured, credit bearing field experience in which they applied their knowledge and skills, while working in a responsible role within these companies.

  • AARP*
  • Accelerated Growth Advisors
  • AccessAbilities, Inc.
  • Alverno Clinical Laboratories
  • America’s Best Companies
  • ArcelorMittal*
  • Aurelio’s
  • Balmoral Park Racetrack*
  • Banter Floors and More*
  • Barna Group
  • Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
  • BKD
  • The Blue Room Café
  • Bohemian Society
  • Calumet Carton Company
  • Carrier Enterprise
  • CATO Institute
  • Centier Bank
  • CG Solutions
  • Chicco
  • Chicago Chamber of Commerce
  • City of Hammond
  • CJ Frank & Son*
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • Community Hospital*
  • Crowe Horwath LLP
  • Crown Point Community Foundation
  • Cummins, Inc.
  • Curriers Hydro Service LLC
  • DataMine Internet Marketing Services
  • Dickey’s Barbeque
  • Disney World Wide Service, Inc.*
  • DLF Brands
  • Edward Jones
  • Edward M. Piscione, CPA, PC*
  • Express
  • Family Christian Center
  • Fedele and Associate
  • Federal Signal
  • Five Star Cuisine
  • Flexi Strand
  • Ford
  • Freeman Company
  • Friedman & Huey Associates*
  • Gary Community School Corporation
  • Genco/Alberto Culver
  • Girl Scouts of America
  • Greater Chicago Finance Company
  • Goose’s Scuba
  • Hammond Clinic
  • Hammond Housing Authority
  • Hanover Place of Tinley Park
  • Harley Davidson
  • Harvest Financial Planning
  • Hertz Corporation
  • Horizon Computer Services
  • Horseshoe Casino*
  • Houston Companies Inc.
  • Hu-Friedy
  • Humane Society Calumet Area
  • International Fellowship of Christians and Jews
  • Majestic Star Casino*
  • MAK Trucking
  • Marico Transportation
  • Matthew Baker, Inc*
  • Mega 95.5
  • Meeker Real Estate
  • MEI Realty
  • Mellon Capital
  • Menards
  • Minas Sabau Group
  • Motorola
  • Naked Juice
  • National Industrial Maintenance
  • National Material Company
  • National Processing Company
  • A New Look Spa
  • Niagra LaSalle Corporation
  • Oak Partners Tax & Accounting
  • Office Max
  • Omni Fitness Center
  • Paulsen Pipe LLC
  • Peoples Bank
  • Piscione & Associates
  • Prudential Rubloff
  • Purdue Northwest Business Services*
  • Purdue Northwest Human Resources*
  • Purdue NorthwestUniversity Relations*
  • Radio One Communications
  • Regional Development Company
  • Rockit Ranch Productions
  • Sanitary District of Hammond
  • Saqui Research
  • Schneider National Carriers*
  • Service Central, Inc.
  • ShapeMix Music
  • Sheehy Well & Pump
  • Sirrom Investments
  • SK Patil & Associates
  • South End Savings
  • Southland Chamber of Commerce*
  • St. Catherine Hospital
  • St. Margaret Hospital
  • St. Mary Medical Center*
  • Standard Bank & Trust
  • State Farm Insurance*
  • Strack & Van Til*
  • Swartz, Retson & Co.
  • The Warranty Group
  • Theater Building Chicago
  • Thermal Processing Systems
  • Town of Munster
  • Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Union Recycling & Waste
  • Unites States EPA
  • UPS
  • Unites States Marshal Service
  • University of Chicago
  • US Attorney’s Office
  • US Steel
  • Vanis Day Spa
  • Vendor Development Group
  • VLS, LLC
  • Waddell & Reed
  • Weil Mc-Lain
  • Wells Fargo
  • What’s Ad Stake*
  • White Lodging*
  • Winfield Family Medicine
  • Z Promotion LLC
  • Zig-E’s Funland
  • Zizzo Enterprises/Zizzo Racing