What is the purpose of an internship?
As educators, we cannot teach a student in the classroom everything he or she needs to know in order to be successful in the professional world. Application of knowledge and skills such as solid work habits, workplace etiquette, social instincts, adaptability, and creativity are learned through experience in a professional environment. Internships are a valuable pedagogy because they combine the professional environment with the classroom structure and support. Students are guided by faculty to accomplish specific learning objectives through thought-provoking assignments that encourage further growth and development while they gain valuable experience in the professional field. Internships truly function as a link between academic learning and real-life experience.
In the Mike Cottrell College of Business, students are challenged to think critically, analyze data, evaluate business cases, and communicate effectively, all to prepare them to compete in today’s business world. Experiential learning through internship opportunities is emphasized, where our students apply and expand their academic learning in a real-world work experience. Through the College’s Center for the Future of North Georgia, students are connected with regional and international organizations for internships in various capacities. The internship program enables students to enter the business marketplace with real-world experience, ready to add immediate value to an organization.
What IS an internship?
An internship is typically a one-semester work experience highly related to the student’s major. Internships connect academic coursework to careers, allow students to gain valuable work experience in a field they may want to pursue, and help make them much more marketable to employers after graduation. It has a definite beginning and end, includes real-world work experience, and involves direct supervision by an employer. Academic credit may be rewarded for completing an internship, and internships can be paid or unpaid.
What does an internship typically look like?
- Internships span an academic semester (Spring, Summer, or Fall).
- Interns work an average of 10-20 hours per week.
- Interns work with a specific company supervisor and allocated resources.
- Internships target a specific function that matches the company’s needs and the student’s academic focus.
- Many internships work well when structured as a project with specified objectives.
Who is involved with an internship?
Student—must have completed 60 credit hours and have at least a 2.5 GPA
Internship provider—provides a real world, professional learning environment and the opportunity for student intern to use their academic skills.
Faculty mentor—maintains contact with student during the semester and acts as support
Internship coordinator—point of contact for all parties, coordinates administrative processes