Role Of Internships In Education

An internship provides the work experience that helps students put their education into practice, develop their leadership skills and gives them a competitive advantage as they pursue any job opportunity.

Authors: Dr Renu Misra, Dr Harvinder Singh

Every year, lakhs of aspirants compete to get into India's top business schools for an MBA program. The objective of an MBA program is to impart business knowledge, help develop vital life skills and prepare students to achieve their career goals. This objective is partly achieved through lectures and discussions in the class. Industry experience is shared with the students through experience-sharing sessions by industry experts or the entire courses delivered by industry professionals. Professors also bring the element of reality in the class with the help of case study discussions and field projects. However, world-over, the institutions are emphasizing the role of experiential learning in achieving these objectives. The internship is a vital experiential intervention in management education. It is important for all the students, though students without prior work experience benefit more because it is their first exposure to the corporate world.

Through the internship, students can develop and apply the skills, theories, and concepts learned in the classroom in a professional environment. During the internship period, the students develop and hone their personal and professional skills. The internship allows the students to work with industry professionals and gain industry-specific knowledge and technical skills related to their area of specialization. Pro-active students use this duration to network, develop personal networks, find life-long mentors and well-wishers, learn new skills, and build one's profile. 

The student also gets an opportunity to understand the organization, role expectations, and alignment to their career goal. It is a great way to get a feel of the actual professional experience in a particular field before committing fully to it. It is like an opportunity to 'test drive' a career. 

MBA fresher is at a disadvantage compared to a student with work experience, as the former does not have anything significant to talk about during a job interview. An internship provides the work experience that helps students put their education into practice, develop their leadership skills and gives them a competitive advantage as they pursue any job opportunity.

Achievement of the abovementioned benefits requires efforts at the level of the business schools and the students. Good business schools are connected to companies that have a structured internship program. Such companies identify the business problems in advance, allocate the industry mentors carefully, select interns from a pre-determined list of business schools, monitor the intern's performance meticulously and reward the top performers during the internship. The student-driven placement processes at the top business schools keep exploring new industries and companies to offer increasingly relevant internship opportunities to students. The success of an internship also depends on the efforts put in by the students during their internship. 

The hiring team in an organization always takes risks determining whether a candidate will be the best fit. An internship helps an organization evaluate how a candidate would perform in the actual workplace. Over the year, the campus recruitment process has undergone a drastic change. Companies are increasingly hiring thorough Pre Placement Offers (PPOs) / Pre Placement Interviews (PPIs). They prefer to assess students over a more extended period of time through an internship instead of a 30-45 minutes' interview during a campus placement week. This helps the organization to see a cultural fit as well as fitment. This process is also advantageous to the students. They get the whole internship period to perform and prove their worth and fitment in this organization compared to the 1- 1.5 hours' evaluation process during the placement week.

Organizations are becoming more creative and experimental in the way they select summer interns. Many companies hire interns through engagement activities like B-School competitions and case study contests. Students performing well in these events are offered internship positions at very lucrative terms. They find interns willing to take on work and pick up the tasks other employees didn't necessarily want to do, and some of the best findings may come out of such internship projects.

The summer internship is an integral part of our curriculum at IMT Ghaziabad. All our students take up a corporate internship in varied sectors across specialization. All students of IMT Ghaziabad get to do their summer internships in some of the best organizations in India and abroad. Summer Internship Program at IMT is a robust learning process and is monitored closely through faculty mentorship throughout the internship period until graduation. Our corporate partners engage with the institute and students through various competitions and internship projects. Competitions are used as methods to do employer branding and, at the same time, to evaluate students' quality and develop an interest in the respective organizations. In the last academic year alone, our students emerged as runner-ups or winners in as many as 30 competitions. A sizable number of our students got PPOs and PPIs post their internship. 

The pandemic affected the internship in the last two years, with all our students doing virtual projects. But that proved a different learning experience for the students, as they learnt to work under adversity and still do an excellent job. Like every year, IT / ITES was the dominant sector, followed by Manufacturing, FMCG & FMCD to offer an internship to IMT students. Every student needs to do a meaningful internship while doing an MBA, and IMT Ghaziabad has successfully ensured this for its students even during the pandemic.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

Around The World

Our Publications