The Value of Internships

September 3rd, 2013 by Rob Berman Leave a reply »

'internship' photo (c) 2011, Sean MacEntee - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ Interns offer a method of meeting workload needs without permanently hiring staff.

The value to both parties is illustrated through a Marketing Department’s internship experience over a two and one half year period.  In some cases, the value inures more to one side than the other while it is sometimes evenly divided.

Method to Add Staff

I was asked to build a Marketing Department for our $200 million Division.  Current staff was two Marketing Professionals including me.  We faced the typical paradox of no additional staff until we produced yet, we needed staff to meet our objectives.

A partial solution came in the form of an intern.  We hired a rising Junior Marketing Major for the summer.

Continuity

Our mutual intent was to make the position year-round.  Our intern was able to move up the learning curve quickly with the professional staff teaching and supplying direction.  It was a good fit and we moved to a year-round position.  Therefore, longer-term projects could be assigned and learning carried forward. For example, the intern remained editor for our internal and external newsletters during her entire two years with us.

Recruitment Pool

The intern was a resource to us when we sought a second intern to work with our initial intern.  She provided training and advised me on candidates from local schools.   Our second intern was also a success.

We were fortunate to add two additional professional staff over the two-year period.  We had in-house a trained, experienced candidate – our intern.  When it came time to increase our staff, of course, we hired her.  In 10 years she became a Vice President.

Once again, we were fortunate to increase staff.  A tight labor market is a difficult time to hire.  However, the two interns made a recommendation for the new position.  In the end, we hired that candidate.

We then started the cycle again by hiring a rising junior as our year-round intern.

The Takeaway

Interns, when properly managed, add tremendous value at little or no cost.  Use interns to fill staffing needs while providing a launching pad for students into their careers.

Those are my thoughts.  Over to you.  Please comment below.

  1. How have you deployed interns in your organization?
  2. Did you ever have an internship in your career?
  3. How have your interns succeeded in their careers?

If you would like to contact me, you may do so by visiting my LinkedIn page, following me on Twitter,  or e-mailing me at rcberman2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

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