Inside Holcomb: Internship program needs improvements

Part 2 of a series on the College of Business. Part 1 can be found here..

Alina Cappadora, a junior marketing and management information systems double major, already has an internship with Stringcan, a lead generation marketing firm in Indianapolis.

But since she began working for the company before completing COB 301, a passport program for the Career Development office, she will not receive college credit for the position.

This should not be the model for Butler’s College of Business going forward.

Students who are ahead of the pace should not have to wait on the College of Business to catch-up.

If students can manage internships before their junior year, they should be allowed to do so for college credit.

The current system is well-intentioned, but it does not suit those who want to get ahead and save time and money.

Business majors, such as myself, are required to complete two internships for credit before graduating from Butler.

With the help of a nationally recognized network of over 2,000 employers, Butler students have a better chance of finding and completing internships compared to other universities, which are less likely to emphasize experiential learning.

Mike Thomas, a career development consultant at Butler, described the relationship between the program and its students as a partnership.

“There’s an ongoing connection between students and companies,” said Thomas. “Students are coming out with real work experience upon graduation.”

As a result, the COB has set the example as a school that will provide career mentors, resume workshops and mock interviews to prepare business majors for potential competition.

If you choose to major in business at Butler, you will not be left to fend for yourself. There is a support system designed to coach you throughout the process.

With this said, the College of Business is still not perfect. There is still room for improvement.

If students are prepared to work faster than the passport program is paced, they should be allowed to do so.

Cappadora’s situation is shared by Gretchen Graber, a junior accounting major who interned for Defender Direct this past summer.

Graber does not regret the valuable experience she gained from the firm, but she said sophomores should be encouraged to pursue internships for credit before entering their junior year.

This would help students surpass the bar set by the College of Business, instead of simply staying on par with the standard.

In addition, there are other issues with scheduling and finances in relation to the internship requirements that business students face.

First, some students may have a more rigorous course load than others. Other students may be involved in a variety of campus organizations. Finally, some students may work and attend school at the same time.

For these individuals with varying circumstances, it is important that the COB modifies its programs to suit their needs.

Allowing more freedom in students’ scheduling can alleviate potential issues and smooth out the process of fulfilling the curriculum requirements.

Students like Cappadora and Graber would benefit from their efforts to stay ahead. If they received credit for the internships they have already done, it would help them focus on other matters, such as classes, coursework and extracurricular activities.

Furthermore, the time the internship is completed, be it fall, spring or summer, presents business students with two separate challenges concerning finances.

If an internship is completed during a fall or spring semester, some students will be forced to stretch their time across classes, the internship itself, other jobs and other commitments. But if the internship is completed in the summer for credit, students will have to pay for each credit hour of the summer class.

If the cost of each summer credit hour for undergraduate business courses amounts to $483, the end cost will exceed $1,400.

Students like myself cannot afford to take summer classes or an internship at Butler. Because this is the case, the College of Business must recognize its demanding program should ultimately be modified to fit the needs of each specific student while also maintaining the rigor of the program.

Photo by Marko Tomich
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