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Cover of Spring - Summer 2003 Issue

 

Taking Care of Business ... Gaining A World of Experience

Longwood interns for The Walt Disney Company
Longwood Interns for The Walt Disney Co.

Student interns from Longwood University's College of Business and Economics pose with Pinocchio in celebration of the Magic Kingdom® Park. Left to right: Deborah Gilbert, '03, a management major from Metz, France; Eric Marsteller, '04, a marketing major from Hampton; and Adoma Adae, '04, a marketing major from Alexandria. All three students are interning as hospitality hosts; Deborah at Disney's Old Key West Resort, Eric at Disney's All-Star Resort and Adoma in Downtown Disney Market Place. Photograph taken by Kent Phillips of The Walt Disney Co. at the Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Through my internship with Kraft Foods I was able to relate what I learned in classes to my work - and not just about accounting (Erin's major), but also marketing and business communication. It is neat to see how it all fits together," says Erin McLaughlin, '02, a Carlisle, Pennsylvania, native. As a result of her internship, she received a job offer from Kraft Foods that included a signing bonus. Erin now works for Kraft Foods as a financial assistant at their Richmond office, but sees traveling with the company on the horizon.

Internships are vital to the College of Business and Economics (CBE) at Longwood University. The CBE strives to be the college of choice for tomorrow's business leaders. Key to accomplishing this vision is the college's strategy of fostering mutually beneficial partnerships with members of the business community. The CBE's internship program helps form a powerful link between the school and its corporate stakeholders.

Founded in 1996, the internship program took on new life and determination two years ago when the CBE's faculty and staff saw the opportunity to better position its students for the "World of Work" through broadened experiences - the development of a leading internship program.

"In today's job market it simply is not enough to have an excellent business education, an effective resume and interviewing skills. With hundreds of applicants for a few good jobs, employers have the advantage in the selection process," states Wayne McWee, business professor and department chair for the CBE. "Experience adds considerable weight to a Longwood graduate's employment opportunities; it's what is needed to tip the employment scales in our students' favor."

CBE Dean Dr. Earl Gibbons agrees. "Internships open doors to career opportunities after graduation, and many CBE interns receive job offers from their internship employer," he says. That's not surprising, since CBE's internships are intended to provide the training most students need to enter the working world competitively in their chosen field. According to a recent national survey, nearly 50 percent of last year's new hires had completed career-related internships. Companies such as Intel and Union Carbide expect 70 percent of college new-hires to come from among their interns.

Jason Robinson, '02, from Poquoson, Virginia, interned last summer aboard the Navy's aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower for Northrop Grumman Newport News. Northrop Grumman builds and maintains some of the most sophisticated ships in the world - nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines.

"As an operations supervisor my purpose was to organize, coordinate, and manage production and related support activities associated with the assembly, installation, repair, and operation of ship structures and systems," says Jason. "Having this internship was an incredible opportunity, as Northrop Grumman provides this type of internship with the goal of having interns that will have an interest in returning to work with their company after graduation." Jason is now pursuing a full time position with Northrop Grumman Newport News.

Internship with Davenport and Company, LLC
Brad Watson, first vice-president for Davenport and Company and Longwood adjunct professor of finance, works with Regina Royster '02 during her internship with that company. Davenport and Company, LLC, is Virginia's first and largest privately owned investment firm.
Emphasizing real world experience, Longwood University is one of the first institutions in the state requiring an internship or some comparable experiential learning to graduate regardless of major. The College of Business and Economics considers internships to be an integral part of a student's education, and all students are required to complete an internship in their junior or senior year. Explains Dean Gibbons, "Internships give students the opportunity to put theory into practice, test career goals in the workplace, and grow personally as they face real problems and ethical choices."

While the current economic slowdown has caused difficulty for some schools in placing students in internships, the CBE keeps a full roster of interns at businesses such as NBC News in New York, Walt Disney World and the corporate headquarters of Allstate Insurance in Illinois. In the summer of 2002, 117 CBE students completed internships.

Gaining a World of Experience continued >>