DiversityWorking ~ Career Channel News


Internships prepare students

by Kacia Strous

For some students summer will bring sandy beaches or fun on the Oval, but for those working at internships, it could mean hours in the office and another line on the resume.

Charles Crouch, a senior in political science, he worked with Radio Free Europe in Washington, D.C. this winter, through the John Glenn Institute.

"It looks good on a resume and I met a number of Glenn fellows who I can use as contacts," Crouch said.

Crouch said his duties ranged from researching Russia for his boss' appearance on a talk show to copy-editing a report sent to the White House.

The value of internships reaches almost every academic field.

Forhad Ahmed, a senior in computer science and electrical engineering, said because he is graduating this quarter he appreciates the value of his internship with AOL.

"Companies are looking for someone who knows how to do the actual work, not just school work," he said.

One such company is Deloitte & Touche, a Big Four accounting firm with an office in Columbus.

"Internships help us evaluate candidates and helps candidates evaluate us to see if that is what they want for their career," said Kaplan Mobray, the U.S. recruitment marketing and diversity recruiting leader for Deloitte.

Mobray said internships are critical to the organization and in some sections they actually hire 80 to 85 percent of its interns.

Olga Stavridis, Director of the Engineering Cooperative Education and Internship Program, said experience is the second most important thing employers look for in hiring new graduates next to their field of study.

And although Ohio State students intern throughout the country from companies such as Coca-Cola to their state senator's office, finding the right internship can be a daunting task.

Charles Smith, the internship coordinator and academic adviser with the Department of Political Science, said the best place to start is by talking to people you know.

"You might not personally know someone sitting at the top of an organization, but you probably know someone who knows someone who can be of benefit," he said.

Margie Bogenschutz, senior director of Undergraduate Career Management in the Fisher College of Business, said students should use the resources available in their school.

Bogenschutz said Fisher students must become a Qualified Undergraduate Interview Candidate to compete for on-campus internship interviews. The program helps students prepare a resume and they must pass a mock interview.

FisherConnect is another source available to Fisher students, where more than 400 companies post internships online, she said. Many other departments offer similar postings on their Web sites.

Ahmed said he found his internship with AOL by posting his resume on the Engineering Career Services Web site.

"The career services site really helped me out," he said. "If anyone asks me where to look for an internship that is the first place I tell them to go."

Similarly, Matt Anker, a junior in electrical engineering, said he received his internship from River Consulting by posting his information on the same Web site.

Stavridis said the Career Services Web site is offered to all engineering majors for a one-time $25 fee. They can send their resume to any of the companies listed on the site and access information about the business.

Smith advised students to "keep your mind open. There are a lot of internships that you might not think are beneficial but that does not mean that you are not going to learn something from them."

Students should think about their internship strategically and ask themselves "from the experience I have so far what are the skills I've developed; what are the qualities that I have as a person that I can really give to an employer?" Bogenschutz said. "It requires that you do some self-reflection and really think about what you have to offer."

Kacia Strous can be reached at strous.8@osu.edu.

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