Marian University has been a longtime proponent of various forms of experiential learning. Hundreds of students have participated in hands-on research, mission trips, study abroad opportunities, clinicals, student teaching, and internships. In recent years, the last of these—internships—have become more widely advocated not only by the university, but by the marketplace in general.
“Internships have always been important, but in today's economy, they are essential,” says Jenny Morris, Marian University's director of internships. “Employers are no longer impressed by simply showcasing a high GPA. They would prefer to hire a student with an average GPA, relevant experience, and demonstrated skills over a student with a 4.00 any day.”
Marian University strongly encourages all of its students to engage in some type of experiential learning, regardless of their major. However, in the fall of 2011, a policy was established within the Clark H. Byrum School of Business that began requiring students to complete a formal, for-credit internship prior to graduation.
As a result of this requirement, nearly 200 students completed internships last year, and the stories of their successes continue to surface. In fact, three Marian University students—Ashley Brundage, Jared Duncan, and Tanner Smith—were all selected by their host employers as nominees for the Indiana INTERNnet's prestigious 'Intern of the Year' award. Duncan, who graduated from Marian University in December 2012, was offered full-time employment at Sponsel CPA Group as a direct result of his internship experience. He now works in the firm’s tax services department.
“My expectations [for my internship] were very high, and I wanted to learn and retain as much information as I could,” said Duncan. “My internship at Sponsel was great because I was able to get some audit experience as well as tax experience. By doing this I had a lot of different work thrown at me, but I think it helped me become more well-rounded.”
That is precisely the point states Morris. “Employers are looking for a leader, a problem-solver, a strong communicator, a thinker, and a hard worker. Internships allow students to develop these skills while gaining experience and meeting professionals to add to a student's network.” Company leaders see tremendous value in internships, essentially regarding them as long-term interviews. Internships are a critical part of the recruitment process.
With the importance of internships being increasingly stressed, Marian University students should feel well supported. “I had a lot of help from Jenny [Morris] in forming my resume and making it stand out,” said Duncan. “Marian University also provided me with a lot of opportunities in the form of interviews. Professor [Kevin] Huston did an amazing job at helping to schedule interviews for us and making sure we were ready for them. They also made it easy for the employers and interns to provide feedback about the internship experience.”
Whether a student looking for an internship, or an employer seeking an intern, Morris recommends the following web sites:
For further information about career exploration and preparation, Morris may also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.955.6185.