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Building successful internships: lessons from the research for interns, schools, and employers

Carl P. Maertz Jr (John Cook School of Business, St Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, USA)
Philipp A. Stoeberl (John Cook School of Business, St Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, USA)
Jill Marks (John Cook School of Business, St Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, USA)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 4 February 2014

16787

Abstract

Purpose

“What kinds of internships are possible?” “How should we decide whether to utilize internships, and if so, how can we ensure they will pay off?” The purpose of this paper is to help answer these key questions facing talent management professionals, educators, and interns.

Design/methodology/approach

This is achieved by reviewing the scattered literature to distill the lessons regarding internships for each of these stakeholders. First, the paper better defines internships through enumerating 11 key dimensions, helping give all internship stakeholders a common language to clarify communication. Second, the paper synthesizes and lists the potential benefits and costs/pitfalls of internships for interns, schools, and employers to provide a fuller view of internships from all stakeholder perspectives. Third, the paper summarizes recommendations to help stakeholders maximize the actual benefits obtained from internships while minimizing the costs and avoiding common pitfalls.

Findings

Many benefits for interns have been identified in the literature. These can be categorized as job-related benefits, career-related benefits, and networking/job market benefits. For most interns, the costs of the internship are minimal. Nevertheless, potential pitfalls stem from the fact that employers and interns often do not have consistent or shared expectations regarding the internship. The benefits of internships for schools can be significant. These include filling an important modern need for experiential and vocational learning. For employers, hiring an intern for a full-time position after the assignment can lead to savings in the areas of recruitment and selection.

Originality/value

The paper provides stakeholders with “one-stop shopping” for the best general advice about creating and growing successful internships.

Keywords

Citation

P. Maertz Jr, C., A. Stoeberl, P. and Marks, J. (2014), "Building successful internships: lessons from the research for interns, schools, and employers", Career Development International, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 123-142. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-03-2013-0025

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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