Student internships increasingly leading to jobs

A growing number of students are seeking internships as a way to gain real world experience and stay afloat in a competitive job market, research shows.

A recent graduate study found that approximately 60 percent of University of Miami students had some form of experiential education during college years and that number is growing, said Jenna Stewart, assistant director of internships at the Toppel Career Center.

Stewart said internships give students a glimpse of what the professional world is like. “Internships are the most important thing in finding a job or finding out what you want to do,” Stewart said. “There is only so much learning you can have in a classroom.”

David Wander, a senior, applied for an internship with Universal Music Company his sophomore year.

“I sent in my resume, and by luck I was called back,” Wander said. He also noted that he had always wanted a job in the music industry and an internship seemed to him like the first step. “It puts you out in the field, makes you do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do and gets your hands dirty a little,” he said.

After Wander’s summer internship was successfully completed, he was asked to continue as an employee of Fontana Distribution, a branch of Universal.

The 2006 Experimental Education Survey conducted by the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that 86.6 percent of interns nationally continue as full-time employees. Also, companies are increasing the number of interns hired.

Internships are increasingly becoming the entry points to recruitment, creating more competition for entry-level jobs, Stewart said.

“It is important to discover whether you truly love a profession while you are a student rather than [during] your first job,” she said.

Internship experience for senior Nicholas Warnick, helped him realize just that. Warnick landed an internship with First Investors, a company that sells mutual funds.

“I realized I didn’t want to have a job in business,” he said.

Warnick’s overall experience however, was a positive one.

“It teaches you not only good job experience but good life experience as well,” he said.

Toppel holds a number of programs to assist students seeking internships such as Internships 101 and the fall and spring career expos.The 2008 Toppel Career Expo is Wednesday, Feb 13, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Wellness Center.

Karunya Krishnan may be contacted at