Internships serve as bridge to employment
Ruth Tadesse knows all too well the value of work experience while still in school. Tadesse has conquered two internships while completing her business degree and sales minor. She interned in supply chain management with Air Liquide and in sales with Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company.
“Coursework only teaches so much. It is important to experience things firsthand,” Tadesse said, stressing that a classroom does not always provide the most accurate depiction of life in any given field of work.
But the 22-year-old supply chain senior also learned about her personal career goals through these experiences. Prior to her internships in the summers of her sophomore and junior years, Tadesse believed she would prefer a career in sales. After ten weeks of experience in both fields, she discovered she was more suited for supply chain management.
“If I didn’t do the internship, I wouldn’t know,” she said.
Tadessesaid she would encourage fellow students to use discretion when selecting an internship. According to her, students will sometimes take the first offer they get without it being related to what they want to do.
But she said she’s even more concerned about the student population that isn’t interning at all until it might be too late.
“Most people aren’t getting internships until their last two years (of college), if they get them at all,” Tadesse said. “The earlier, the better.”
There is a myth surrounding interns — that they are glorified coffee makers or office “gofers.” However, this is usually not the case. A survey done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that the rate of conversion from intern to employee rose 51.2 percent in 2014. Two hundred sixty-four companies representing more than 20 industries participated in this survey, which found that most employers seek new hires from their pool of interns.
Tadesse said employers view interns as an investment and want them to be as prepared for the jobs they will be taking as possible. In fact, she views internships as no different from an actual job.
“You go to the office. You have your own cubicle. You have your own files and paperwork you are responsible for and you have a superior that you are required to answer to,” Tadesse said. “It is real work.”