By Collegian Staff
Internships are becoming increasingly relevant and important for college and future jobs. Many employers are not interested in hiring an individual who has no experience outside the classroom, and such experience can be gained through internships.
Unfortunately, Butler University’s colleges contain a mixed bag of internship programs. They also contain students with varying levels of knowledge and concern about internships.
Internship programs in Butler’s colleges need to be clear in helping their students understand what they need to do with the internships while at Butler.
Those leading the programs also need to be proactive when helping students find opportunities in the form of internships.
At the same time, Butler students need to take responsibility for graduating and preparing for a career by doing more research on internship requirements and internships in general.
“The perfect marriage has been when the student takes advantage (of the opportunities provided by the internship program),” said Kim Goad, director of Career Development, a team that oversees the Butler College of Business internship program.
Internship programs at all of Butler’s colleges are complained about at one time or another.
Even the internship program in Butler’s COB—which was ranked the 12th-best in the nation by Bloomberg BusinessWeek—may have flaws, which students spoke about in The Collegian’s “Students express concern with internship program” (Sept. 24).
Internship programs across Butler’s colleges are staffed differently, according to the needs of the college and what it can afford, staff-wise.
However, there should be a system in place at each internship program that internship coordinators can use to help students understand why internships are necessary and how they should go about applying for them.
The first step in this system should be an introduction between the internship coordinator and the students. This way, students know they have an internship coordinator to assist them in searches.
Part of this system could include a requirement for coordinators to email a colleges’ students at the start of the semester, explaining the requirements the college’s majors have for internships.
Another part could include an explanation about what an internship requires for counting as credit.
If a coordinator does not explain the requirements for fulfilling an internship, a student might make assumptions about what he or she needs to do—and they could be wrong.
Some students are unclear about what their major requires as far as internship experience needed to graduate. Even as freshmen—when students likely won’t be participating in internships—students should have a clear understanding of how internships fit into their majors.
This requires effort on the part of students as well. Expecting an internship coordinator to drop an interview into a student’s lap is just unreasonable.
Utilizing B.L.U.E.—Butler Links U to Employers—should be a key step for students when trying to obtain an internship.
“A lot of students use it in order to locate internships,” Gary Beaulieu, Internship and Career Services director said. “A lot of it varies by college and how much the internship coordinator knows about B.L.U.E. as well.”
B.L.U.E is meant to help students search for employment opportunities, obtain employer information and get in touch with Butler alumni, according to Butler’s website.
However, not all students know about B.L.U.E.
Coordinators can lighten the load of having to work with so many students utilizing by B.L.U.E., so it behooves them to display it to students.
Then, when students know of B.L.U.E., they should take initiative and use it to work toward an internship.
Beaulieu said students should use the Internship and Career Services program regardless of success or struggles with their college’s internship coordinator.
“I think utilizing our office (is helpful),” Beaulieu said. “We work with coordinators to get information to them about what’s going on in the internship world, and they refer students back and forth with any questions they may have about internships.”
An internship coordinator should be able to do things a website cannot. If a coordinator is just reiterating things students can find on butler.edu, what is the point of the position?
“We have a unique situation here in that we have a small student body in a major metropolitan city,” Goad said. “So there are a lot of really quality opportunities where students can get that internship experience during the semester.”
Internship coordinators at all of Butler’s schools need to work in line with this idea when assisting students. Consistency and clear communication will go a long way to helping students get the experience they need to graduate and advance into the real world.