By Ryan Griffith | Reporter
As students reach the second half of their college education, they start to hear about the importance of having an internship on their resume. But how much value does an internship actually have?
Before he came to Baylor, Jeff Stubbs was the chief operating officer at a major multinational company, where he interviewed and hired many of employees. Now, as the director of undergraduate career management at Hankamer School of Business, he helps students plan their futures.
Stubbs says an internship is an immensely beneficial experience for students.
“First of all, It allows the student to try on a possible career option before they would actually take it on as a job role,” Stubbs said.
Often, students’ expectations about working in a particular field are different than the reality. Taking a summer to figure out whether the job is a good fit can save students from committing to a field they don’t truly enjoy.
“Even if the individual chose that they didn’t want to move forward with the company or the company chose to not go forward with them, that individual has had the opportunity to explore that career avenue and determine whether or not that is something they’re interested in,” Stubbs said.
Michael Estepp, director of graduate career management at Hankamer, also believes that internships are highly beneficial for students.
“Those students who do internships are able to have a more thorough resume, have more portable skills, and the recruiters can see that, not only from a social standpoint — hard and soft skills — but from a job perspective, that this person can do the job and add value quickly,” he said.
Estepp said an internship can give students an edge over other applicants when applying for jobs.
“If you’re interviewing against 10 students, and eight of them have internships and you don’t, you’re against the grain already,” he said. “If you don’t have that experience, it’s much harder to convince a recruiter to go with you.”
In recent years, unpaid internships have created controversy among both students and employers. Opponents of unpaid internships say that they put economically disadvantaged students in a tough position, forcing them to take out even more loans to remain competitive with their wealthier peers. Stubbs is not a fan of unpaid internships.
“We think it’s extremely important to get paid,” said Stubbs. “In fact, we encourage that in most every internship. There are outlier exceptions to that, but for the most part, we would encourage students to get paid for their internship.” Unless students are interning for nonprofit non-governmental organizations or certain ultra-competitive investment banks, Stubbs said, they should try their hardest to find a paying position. “If it’s important enough for [students] to do, it’s important enough for them to get paid,” he said.
Stubbs recommends that students looking for an internship attend the numerous career and job fairs that Baylor sponsors.
“Most all departments encourage employers to come here,” he said. “There are a great many opportunities for students to find those internship possibilities.”
The next job fair will be held from 3 p.m until 7 p.m. Wednesday on the fifth floor of Cashion.