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What is an internship?

What is the purpose of an internship?

In what areas do students study and seek internships?

What are the benefits to the student?

What are the benefits to the business?

What are the benefits to the Harrison College of Business?

What is expected of a sponsor?

Whom should you contact about sponsoring a business intern?


The Harrison College of Business is committed to preparing students for successful careers in business. By developing internship opportunities with businesses and other organizations throughout Missouri, in other states and internationally, the Harrison College of Business connects the classroom experience with the practical knowledge of work. This ensures that business students are ready for their first professional position and better prepared to move into responsible leadership roles when opportunities for advancement arise. Given the increasingly global dimension of business, the college welcomes internships with an international perspective.

Each of the departments and majors in the Harrison College of Business provides opportunities for students to participate in internship assignments or major practica that bring the students into contact with the practice of business or economics. The experiences gained through an internship or practicum in large part explain student successes in finding placement with national and international firms. For example, recent internships placed students at such well-known companies as Anheuser Busch Companies, Lee Rowan, Rotterdam Topsport (Holland), The Boeing Company, Maritz Performance Group, Walt Disney World and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. Students have also interned at not-for-profit organizations such as the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission, the United Way and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Harrison business students also gain practical experience through live-cases that integrate actual business questions into the classroom. A live-case is equivalent to a consulting project completed by an individual student or a team of students. Teams of Harrison business students have completed projects for regional businesses involving the measurement of  customer and employee satisfaction, the development of integrated marketing communication plans, the analysis of radio listening habits, the development of inventory management systems, the improvement of teller balancing and accuracy in bank operations, and the implementation of usage score cards in pizza stores. Economics students have completed studies measuring the economic impact of the University, the costs of school non-completion, the economic impact of recreational development, the effects of tourism on local government spending, and the determinants of retail trade in Missouri. Economics students have also published research on the determinants of NFL postseason success, the potential causes of increases in income inequality, the seasonality in international trade flows, and the factors influencing the use of different energy resources.

Sponsors of these internships and practica evaluate students highly on their communication, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving skills, their foundation knowledge in the various areas of business and in their overall preparation for being productive members of a growing organization. Over 95 percent of our internship sponsors indicate they would consider hiring an individual from the Harrison College of Business.

What is an Internship?

The term “internship” refers to a work experience in which the student learns by taking on a responsible role as a worker in an organization and reflecting on what happens while in that role. Planning, doing, reflecting and relating are key words describing an internship. Internships require students to assume the responsibilities of regular workers and observe and experience the work environment. Interns are expected to interpret both the external environment and the internal environment of the organization and relate these analyses to ideas, concepts and theories discussed in the classroom. Usually, the student is supervised and mentored by an individual with significant organizational responsibilities. This supervisor/mentor plays a key role in the educational process by helping the intern understand events and situations, placing these in the context of an operation with specified goals and objectives.

What is the Purpose of an Internship?

Internships serve two fundamental purposes. First, internships provide students with practical, firsthand work experience and practical knowledge to complement concepts, theories and examples discussed in the classroom. Second, internships provide businesses with knowledgeable, energetic individuals who are prepared to learn and contribute to the goals and objectives of the sponsoring business.

In What Areas Do Students Study and Seek Internships?

Students seeking internships are majoring or doing specialized studies in one of the following area of business: Accounting, Economics, Entreprenurship, Finance, International Business, Management, Marketing or Organizational Administration.

Benefits to the Student

Interns obtain work experience, apply concepts and theoretical knowledge to actual business situations, gain insights into career opportunities and become potential candidates for full-time employment upon graduation. Additionally, when a student is involved with a paid internship, the earnings help defray the cost of the student’s education, and the academic credit received moves the student closer to graduation.

Benefits to the Business

Intern sponsors obtain lower cost, part-time employees with demonstrated skills and knowledge, reduced personnel search and training costs, and time and opportunity to assess skills and potential in creating a pool of work-tested candidates for full-time employment. Sponsors develop a mutually beneficial business/University relationship. Through internships, business helps create tomorrow’s business success stories.

Benefits to the Harrison College of Business

Internships allow the Harrison College of Business to develop beneficial relationships with a major stakeholder—the business community. Internships provide the college with the opportunity to demonstrate the high quality of our student product. Additionally, internship experiences can enrich and enliven the classroom by providing the college with a window to contemporary business practices and issues.

Sponsoring organizations/individuals are expected to:

  • Provide appropriate employment
  • Ensure the intern is properly supervised, consistent with normal organizational policies and procedures.
  • Provide adequate time for discussions with the intern in regard to observations and experiences, and how these relate to the intern’s academic studies.
  • Provide periodic and final evaluations of the intern’s preparation and performance.
  • Where appropriate, compensate the intern for the value s/he adds to the organization.

Whom to Contact About Sponsoring a Business Intern?

Each of the three departments in the Harrison College of Business encourage students to participate in an internship assignment. The chairpersons of each department can provide you with more detailed information about sponsoring an internship and assist you in designing the most beneficial internship experience for you and for the student intern. If you do not know which department or area is most appropriate for meeting your needs and wishes, please communicate with the associate dean for the Harrison College of Business, Dr. Gary Johnson, email – business@semo.edu, phone (573) 651-2112.

Internship opportunities exist within each department in the Harrison College of Business. Typically, there are hour and grade point average requirements to qualify for an internship. Questions regarding internship opportunities should be referred to the specific department.

Department of Accounting

Dempster Hall 260, (573) 651-2121

Department of Economics and Finance

Dempster Hall 205, (573) 651-2181

Department of Management and Marketing

Dempster Hall 225, (573) 651-2924

International Business

Dempster Hall 201 (573) 651-5116

Graduate Studies in Business - MBA Program

Dempster Hall 201, (573) 651-5116

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