The importance of an internship in college

As I’m planning my final semester of graduate school (where did the time go?!), I am faced with the task of finding an internship. As a full-time MBA student, it is highly suggested that I complete a 3-credit internship during my last semester. Because I had a couple of internship experiences during my undergraduate career, I’ve known I wanted to do another internship since I started my MBA program last fall.

Getting my business cards ready!

So, what’s the importance of an internship? If you’re a freshmen or sophomore undergraduate student, you may be wondering what’s so great about an internship anyway. As an internship veteran, I cannot stress how important an internship is during your college career.

Let me take you back to February 2010. I knew I would be graduating next spring, and summer was only a few months away. As a communications major, I had been told by classmates and professors that an internship is good way to add work experience to your resume and network in the industry. I had already planned to do an internship in Spring 2011, but that was a year away. Then, I had an idea: what if I did an internship in the summer? I knew I wouldn’t receive college credit, but I could gain some work experience. I began my internship search soon after, determined to find a communications-related internship opportunity in the Albany area.

My determination paid off as I secured an internship opportunity as an Outreach Intern for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. My primary job duty was to encourage registration in the Association’s new Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). I worked about 20 hours a week throughout the summer and learned more about marketing and worked on my cold call skills.

As I began my final year of my undergraduate career in Fall 2010, I worked with my professors to search for an internship opportunity for college credit during Spring 2011. Because of my internship during the summer, I already had internship experience, which was very desirable to employers. I was able to secure a great internship opportunity at the Public Relations Department at Albany Medical Center. I worked there during Spring 2011 and was hired as a part-time consultant last summer.

Because I’ve experienced great success with internships during my undergraduate career, I’m a big supporter of college students participating in internship opportunities. You not only gain work experience and network with professionals in the industry, but an internship can also give you a competitive edge in the job market. If an employer is looking at two recent college graduates and only one completed an internship in their final semester, the employer may be more likely to hire the graduate that did the internship.

Have you done an internship? If not, are you planning on doing an internship? Share your thoughts below!

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