Title

Student and Company Reactions to a University Internship Program: Content Analysis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Abstract

This research delves into analyzing the response of businesses and students to Abilene Christian University’s internship program in Texas. This research is not only timely but critical in contemporary academia due to the spike in internship integration between colleges and business. Academic internships build relationships and create mutual benefits between the host company, academic institution and the student. For the sake of context, it’s clear that the aim of internships is to build a bridge between the classroom and the business environment. Research studies continue to advocate that a strong connection between classroom studies and internships with businesses can add to the education and advancement of students and prospective employees. Because real-time, real world issues are not always readily available in the classroom, and also difficult to manufacture in college assignments, internships play a pivotal role in providing that missing link in the educational chain of development.

Data Results

The data shows both advantages and disadvantages to internships but let’s start with advantages. The greatest advantage of the program at Abilene was the ability to take theory from the classroom and directly apply at various businesses, as well as the ability to conduct relevant and worthwhile tasks. Results also indicate that an internship aids the student in acquiring employment post-internship as opposed to students without internship experience. Another advantages that deserves referencing is the ability to network and build professional connections and build ones’ resume. This naturally parlays into higher starting salaries and a greater number of job offers. From the perspective of the host company it allows them to meet their professional needs, get an outside perspective, bring in new talent, and creates a talented pool of potential new hires. Conversely, the disadvantages stated were in reference to an omission of clearly dictated parameters, guidelines and goals of the internship. A strategy to mitigate these inevitable issues would be to draw up an internship program contract which lays out a blueprint of clearly defined assumptions, expectations, goals, and business needs BEFORE the internship begins. To add, there are more applications than positions, it’s a very competitive landscape in terms of availability which causes some internships to be unpaid. The internship landscape continues to be a viable vehicle for the professional development of students, host companies, and higher education. Nevertheless, many improvement can be made among all parties involved to make the experience more beneficial and productive for all parties involved.

Thanks to Steve Silva, Graduate Assistant, Boise State University for writing this original abstract/summary of the paper.

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