Benefits of long internships

Posted by  on Mar 25, 2013

Author: Srilagna Saha, TimesJobs.com Bureau

A successful internship can result in a pre-placement offer even before the student leaves the campus. It can also give the recruiter the impression that the candidate has invested in learning through experience, and is not just a rote learner. It’s an important phase between a student’s in-class learning and real world challenges. More and more colleges and universities are facilitating summer training/internship programmes as part of their course curriculum.

Times have changed, and employers are no longer looking at just academic achievements, but also at the candidate’s prior work experience or equivalent training. In various TimesJobs.com Boardroom dialogues, industry experts from various verticals have said that ‘long internships’ are one of the ways that the talent challenge can be addressed. In spite of having top grades and showcasing leadership qualities while in college, some students repetitively fail to impress their potential employers. Reason being, they don’t have hands-on experience that an internship facilitates.

Internships come in different formats – some are paid, others are not. Some will allow the trainee to take up bigger projects from day 1; others will take time in assessing the work and accordingly pass on responsibilities. Most of industry internships last from a month to three months. However, academic institutions are responding to the industry’s need and some insist on longer training or internship periods.  Institutions now realise that students tend to learn more from field experience than from routine classroom exercises.

Benefits

  • Enables students to understand the industry at the ground level
  • Students get to know the organisation’s culture
  • Understanding their own job profile and the firm’s functioning
  • How their academic learning can be applied in the real job
  • Gives the organisation quality time to comprehend and better the comfort level in terms of working with other employees
  • Post internship when the candidate rejoins the firm, ample time and cost is saved in the internal training process

Hamsaz Vasunia, VP – HR, DCB Bank, says, “We encourage all departments to identify internship projects. Our internships are for as less as 1 month and as long as 6 months. We have instances where the intern was working in a particular project and was later hired to manage the project.” From the company’s point of view, this is an important practice. The more they get efficient interns, easier it becomes for them to make a choice and offer employment. Instead of bringing fresh candidates on board and spending huge amount of money in their training, companies can readily get trained employees from these internship programmes. Retaining an employee post internship is far easier than retaining someone with zero industry training.

Ashwin Ajila, Founder & MD, iNurture Education Solutions, says, “Most of the industry reports on employability gap states breach in three areas namely: inadequate soft-skills, irrelevant academic learning and candidate’s inability to apply academic learning to his job.” Experts also say that internships determine an employee’s retentiveness and it needs to be for a period of 6 months.

In many cases, students who are sent on shorter internship programmes end up gaining limited training and are unable to finish projects. In this case, by the time the organisation and the trainee gets the hang of the assigned work and about to get comfortable, it is time for the trainee to resume his college classes. Therefore, it is essential that colleges and organisations come together and start offering longer internships to the students. Vasunia opines, “Academia gives you largely a theoretical dimension. Thus, an extended internship goes a long way in giving it a practical sheen.” She also adds that a year’s experience prior to an MBA or working during your college summers can make a huge difference.

It’s important that interns don’t use this as a check-box activity to clear their MBA. They need to use this opportunity to learn much more than the assigned tasks. Excelling in classroom assignments will get you a good degree, but completion of summer internships will go a long way in preparing you for the industry and eventually fetching you a suitable job.

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