The Craig School of Business Internship Program was named 2009 Program of the Year by the National Society of Experiential Education and will be presented with the award later this month in Dallas, Texas.
The national award gives the program validity, said Debbie Young, director of internships and applied experiences for the Craig School of Business. â€œWeâ€™re doing things the right way. Weâ€™re connecting with our students and weâ€™re connecting with our local community. It shows weâ€™re an engaged program in the university.â€
The program, which serves about 260 students each year, finds internships for graduate and undergraduate business students within the local community, state and country.
Students have interned in Colorado, Texas, Washington, D.C. and New York. Last year, the program started placing students internationally with summer internships in Germany and Cyprus. Internships in Germany and Hong Kong are already lined up for next summer, Young said.
â€œIt gives students the chance to try out various industries, and careers,â€ Young said. â€œI think a lot of students use it for networking purposes and it looks great on their resume.â€
The program was chosen for the award based on the number of students placed in internships, its assessment and evaluation process, its international component and a peer review.
â€œWe received recognition for a program which we are really proud of, and that we have felt all along, is of great value to our students and the university,â€ said dean of the Craig School of Business Dr. Robert Harper.
The internships are custom fit as much as possible, Young said. While Young recruits employers for the program, Micheala Ford, student experience and internship coordinator, works directly with the students to find a perfect employer match.
â€œIâ€™m very proud of what theyâ€™re doing and all the experiences that theyâ€™re providing to students,â€ Harper said of Young and Ford.
In her nine years as director, Young has seen many students come away from successful internships, having garnered real world experience in areas suited to their field of study.
â€œEmployers today value relevant work experience,â€ Young said. â€œ[Employers] love that you have the foundation of college and you have your bachelorâ€™s degree. But they love even more if youâ€™ve already been in their industry or understand their business.â€
Jordan Fowler, a senior business administration major, completed a local internship this summer at Pelco. Fowler had the task of creating a Chinese Cultural Orientation Program for Pelco employees traveling to China or working with Chinese people.
â€œI was able to network and make contacts with many people that are working at Pelco,â€ Fowler said in an e-mail interview. â€œI was also able to get a taste of how it is to work in a corporation and what various jobs are available for an international business major.â€
Fowler said her experience with the internship program was invaluable.
Young recalled a previous semester when an entrepreneurship student came into the internship program with dreams of opening a wine bar. Although Young didnâ€™t have an employer in that exact profession, she placed the student with Craig School of Business alum who owned Engelmann Cellars in Fresno.
Young said the student was able to spend the entire fall semester learning the winemaking process from start to finish and gleaned a wealth of information useful for his potential career path.
With a passion to provide students with successful internship placements and real world experience, Young hopes to expand the program even more.
â€œMy goal would be that every single student in the Craig School, before they graduate, would do an internship,â€ Young said. â€œThat would be my dream.â€