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The hope of gaining an advantage for future employment has increased both the number and quality of internship applications. Internships are viewed as opportunities to participate in a “real world” project and gain experience with real day to day research. They better able to make career choice among college students. A well designed internship program that is properly implemented reaps benefits for all parties involved. Students are given the opportunity to reinforce and practice the theoretical concepts taught in b school, thus bridging the gap between the classroom and “the real world”. In addition to having technical skills reinforced and practiced, internships offer the opportunity for students to improve their interviewing and time management skills. Internships also offer students the opportunity to develop a network of contacts in their industry, an invaluable asset to possess upon graduation. Students who intern typically land their first job faster than non-interning students and at higher starting salaries.
Many universities have come to use internship opportunities as a valuable recruitment tool. Internships provide an excellent tool for evaluating curricula and ensuring that the programs being offered are up to date and relevant to industry. Coco, M. (2000) summarized the role of internships in higher education as follows “Universities see internships as a means of validating and updating their programs and as a catalyst for placing students after graduation. Internships are a win-win situation for everyone and the synergistic effect of the relationship among student, Host Company, and university benefits all participating parties. All indicators from students, industry and universities point to an escalating importance and frequency of internships”. Internships strengthen the relationship between the bussines school and industry by providing increased access to guest speakers, potential field trips for students and increased fund raising alliances. To be effective, it is critical that internships are designed and implemented properly by both the b school and employer.
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