Education Career Services

September 1, 2009

Mandatory Internship…Yes or No?

Question and AnswerOffering support to as many people as possible via multiple mediums, I am an advocate of social networking.  As such, I am on LinkedIn and often respond to questions posted on that site.  I’m easy to find and welcome you to take the first step and invite me to join your network.  After all, we all need a helping hand now and then!

Below is one question (and my response) recently submitted on LinkedIn.  I bring this to you as the question may be pertinent to just about everyone, including students and directors at all levels…

Should we have mandatory 6 mo internship as a part of an undergraduate degree requirement?

I am a strong believer in practical experience as well as theoretical knowledge. While a college instructor I hired many students to work for my company, career services international, just so they could get a taste of what a real job is all about. Currently I have interns come in twice a year for the same reason.

The main problem I found with hiring undergraduate (and graduates) students is their lack of what professional behavior means. Students would come to work late, take many breaks, perform in a complacent manner, and expect to be in control of their environment. For those, an internship may be their first meeting with reality.

While a college instructor, I had a large percentage of students own a sense of entitlement going well beyond anything I experienced as a student (okay, maybe it was 25 years ago). This sense of entitlement transferred from the classroom to the business room…not a good thing.

To be direct, students should be required to work in their field to grasp an understanding of what is expected of them if they plan on succeeding out of the gate. True enough, after several jobs and disappointments, they will get it right.

I believe it is the college’s responsibility to prepare students, not just in theory but in practice. Internships, externships and/or a form of apprenticeship should be a mandatory part of an undergraduate degree.

I will continue sharing information from various sources for everyone’s benefit.  In the meantime, if you have any questions and prefer not to post it on our blog, get into LinkedIn, look me up, and let’s connect!

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
Education Career Services:
Career Services International:

1 Comment »

  1. hello,
    Thank you for the great quality of your website, each time i come here, i’m amazed.
    John McCormick

    Comment by discodaug — September 22, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

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