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Internships supply students opportunity to gain first-hand experience, future jobs

Nov. 19, 1999

By Mike Blum


According to the Baylor office of career services, internships have become increasingly popular among students and organizations.

Dr. John Boyd, director of career services said all students, regardless of major, should seek internships if possible.

Internships have become a way for companies and interns to see if a future relationship would be beneficial.

Boyd said companies are able to decide from first-hand experience whether or not to extend an offer of employment through internships. The temporary relationship of an internship takes away the pressure of hiring or being hired without knowing all the facts, he said.

'It's very hard to fire somebody once you've hired them today,' Boyd said.

The current job market might be causing the increased interest in internships. Companies that had plenty of prospective employees to choose from in the past may now be finding that the competition for new employees has increased.

Dr. Boyd said internship experience sets students apart.

'It is one of the most important part of one's resume,' Boyd said. 'Companies are looking for students who have internship experience.'

Many students choose to complete an internship during their college years. Mary Harris, a first-year master's candidate from Longview, was one of those students.

Last spring, Harris was an assurance/tax intern for KPMG, an international accounting, tax and consulting firm.

Many firms are eager to accommodate interns and the goals that those interns are hoping to achieve while at the firm, Harris said.

She also said that in her experience at KPMG and through talking with her friends who held internships with other companies, interns are often allowed to gain experience in the fields they prefer.

'I worked half of the time dealing with federal tax and half of the time dealing with state and local tax,' Harris said. 'They [KPMG] were very flexible; they let you do what you want to do.'

Internships have become part of the expected curriculum for some students at Baylor, especially accounting and information systems majors.

Many curricula at Baylor award credit hours for the completion of internships. The Hankamer School of Business offers 3 credit hours for internships.

Dr. Michael Cassell, associate professor of accounting and director of accounting internships said accounting students are strongly encouraged to complete at least an eight-week internship.

'The majority of our [accounting] students intern,' Cassell said.

According to Cassell, firms seeking accounting interns came to campus last April.

Dr. Jonathan Trower, associate professor of information systems and director of internships for information systems, said students should select internships carefully.

'It needs to be something that's interesting, but they need to make sure it's really going to be a learning experience.'

Harris recommends all students interested in internships should look early in their college career. Most companies have only a limited number of positions available for interns.

The Career Services office recommends that students ask their professors about internship opportunities.

In many cases professors will have information on internships or contacts to help students find internships, Boyd said.

The Career Services office, located on the third floor of the Clifton Robinson Tower, has information on both internships and full-time jobs.

Career Services is sponsoring an Internships/Career Fair from 12 until 5 p.m. on Feb. 29, 2000 at the Ferrell Center.

In addition to the experience and possible credit hours that an internship could provide, most internships are now paid. In the past, many internships did not offer payment, but that has changed as the result of new laws, Boyd said.