Although my classes at the School of Business Administration taught me the skills I needed, it wasn’t until I began my first internship that I was able to truly put these skills to use. Interning provided me the first-hand perspective to see what life in the professional world would be like. Internships can be difficult and time-intensive, yes, but they also give you an important peek into your future career, as well as the ability to augment your education thus far.
I started my first internship last spring. I was well into my marketing classes and had taken my first advertising class. That first advertising class was amazing; listening to my professor, I could feel my skin prickle and my eyes open wider. And when my teacher mentioned FIR, the student-run advertising agency on campus, I jumped at the chance to apply. By interning at FIR, students have the opportunity to work for real-life clients and solve real-life problems. You’re able to finally connect all of the skills that you’ve learned in your advertising and marketing classes, and apply them in actual situations. But, because you are working for real businesses, the challenges can be difficult and the stakes higher. My first term interning at FIR was the most difficult; my team and I were completing a project that had been initiated by another team and it felt at times like nothing could go right! Deadlines had to be pushed and there were many last-minute alterations to plans. But by the time that finals week rolled around, my team and I were able to finish the project. Whew! And although my first term with FIR was challenging and, at times, stressful, I knew that I had learned so much and that I had gotten a little taste of what it would be like to work at a fast-paced advertising agency.
I began my second internship only this term. I had decided to quit my retail job and was searching CareerConnect for a job on campus when I stumbled upon a marketing internship post from the Business Outreach Program. PSU’s Business Outreach Program, or BOP, connects small business owners to resources that can help them grow their business while providing students opportunities to learn and practice their skills. Through my role as marketing intern, I am able to work with small business owners and be a marketing resource for them. I feel that many of the skills that I learned interning at FIR are skills that I utilize interning for the BOP, even though the two internships are different. Each internship has helped me to grow in different ways and to learn new skills.
I spoke with Nga Ho and Cori Batey to learn a little bit more about the internship opportunities on campus. Nga and Cori are both graduate students who are working to promote internships at PSU. We discussed internship opportunities on campus and why interning while you’re in school can help you get a job. Cori told me, “For those who are still figuring out what they want to do after graduation, interning can allow students to try out different roles and industries and look for the best fit. For those who already have a specific focus, interning is the best way to get real world experience and make real connections, both of which are instrumental in finding work after graduation.” Cori also told me about the School of Business Administration Pinterest account she runs. The SBA Pinterest account is full of information to help students find internships, such as how to prepare for an internship interview. Nga told me more about the importance of internships.
“I wish more students see the value of an internship, and I’d like to see more students take advantage of such opportunities. It shouldn’t be just something to checkmark off a list, or to do it just because someone says you should. As students we sometimes just focus on getting the A’s, but the experience you get from an internship is another piece that will help lead students to success.”
Between work, school, family, and all the other things that students have going on in their lives, it’s difficult to even think about fitting an internship in. But the experience that you gain and the skills that you learn are so unique and, honestly, are skills that can only be taught outside of the classroom. Internships are demanding and challenging, yes, but they help us to get one step closer to achieving our future career. To learn more about internship opportunities on campus or what do to once you’re ready to apply for an internship, click here. Good luck!
~Mckenzie Miller ’15, Fearless Business Student