Q Are all business students required to do an internship? What is the best way to recruit and manage them?
NATIONAL MAIL ORDER ASSOCIATION
A Most business students are not required to find an internship as part of their educational program, but those students who are focused on their career often seek them out. Many schools have internship programs that are usually run through their career advising office. A good place to start your search for interns is to contact those offices in nearby schools to see if such programs exist.
Ideally, you should have some projects in mind for the interns to do or to help others accomplish. This helps you find the student with an interest in your project and one who has had good academic preparation to add value over and above an extra pair of hands. Also, think about whether you can pay the students something. Many students need to work to pay the cost of college so being able to offer some pay (either a stipend or regular salary) can help you attract more students.
Internships can be a win-win proposition for a company, but remember that the student is there to learn about the business world and how companies work, rather than just to do the assigned tasks. Be prepared to answer questions and explain the larger context of what is happening. How you manage them will depend on the student and the company, but a meeting every week would be a minimum amount of contact for managers to build into their schedules. Checking in more regularly helps ensure a smooth integration of the intern's work with the rest of the company.
SALLY J. POWER, CHAIRWOMAN,
UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS
OPUS COLLEGE OF BUSINESS