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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. 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

Employer Information

How do internships benefit employers?


  • Create the opportunity to evaluate prospective employees and to recruit future employees.
  • Garner quality, motivated candidates for temporary or seasonal positions and short-term projects.
  • Function as flexible, cost-effective work force without long-term commitments.
  • Free up professional staff to pursue more creative projects.
  • Bring new and innovative ideas to an employer.
  • Strengthen the bond with the university, and the visibility of your organization is increased on campus.
  • Allow the employer the opportunity to have an impact on molding the lives of students.

Why Mike Cottrell College of Business Students?

  • Junior and senior business majors must complete 60 hours of coursework to be eligible for an internship placement. Our students major in Accounting, Computer Science Information Systems, Finance, Management, and Marketing, with specializations within their major fields of study.
  • Students are known individually by our faculty, who have a genuine interest in their success. Students are prepared for their internships both academically, and by strategic programming opportunities designed to help them develop professionally.
  • The Mike Cottrell College of Business is AACSB accredited. (AACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education and has been earned by less than five percent of the world’s business programs.)
  • During their internship, student interns receive ongoing mentoring in professionalism and career-readiness by their faculty mentor and internship coordinator.

What Does Hosting an Intern from the Mike Cottrell College of Business 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.

What is the Commitment?

Experiences should have material relevancy to the academic discipline. Students should be expected to use a variety of skills and have an assigned on-site mentor. They should be given qual­ity experiences involving increasing responsibilities and learning opportunities to develop their skills as independent thinkers and to actively prepare for post-graduate opportunities.

What is the Process?

For more information on how to recruit internships or develop an internship program for your organization, please contact Elaine Fitzpatrick, internship coordinator within the Mike Cottrell College of Business.

Student Information

Congratulations!  You're taking the first step towards building your career by considering an internship as part of your academic experience.  

Why do an internship?

  • Evaluate specific companies or specific careers prior to committing to full-time employment—a "try before you buy" type experience with exposure to different job opportunities.
  • Have résumé-building experiences while applying academic concepts and principles.
  • Have hands-on opportunities to work with equipment and technology that may not be available on campus, and cultivate adaptability and creativity in a dynamic world.
  • Ease transition from being a student to entering the workforce, and increase self-confidence in the workplace while developing an expanded network of associates and professionals.
  • Increase marketability to employers. On average, only 30% of graduating seniors have job offers before graduation; however, after completing an internship, that figure rises to 58%.
  • Facilitate a higher starting salary than non-interns. In a recent study interns received, on average, $2,240 more than non-interns for starting salary.
  • Increase opportunities within a company for faster advancement and growth.
  • Up to 3 credit hours

What is the process?

Students considering an internship should visit the MCCB Student Information Hub for details on how to obtain both course and PROs credit for their internship.

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