The number of college students pursuing internships is on the rise, but more often than not, students hesitate to seek them. Palm Beach Atlantic University Director of Career Services Dr. Kimberly Ladd says that students often question their job readiness. They ask her if they know enough or have the right skills to do an internship. Her response? “You just have to do it!”
Why is Ladd so high on internships? According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 93 percent of employers are more likely to hire students who have completed internships and 67 percent of internships turn into full-time job offers. However, only 15 percent of students actually pursue them.
PBA senior Eva Bracciale has completed three internships, one at a video marketing agency, one in franchise marketing and one in franchise finance and accounting. Reflecting on these internships, she said, “All three of my internships gave me a perspective of myself and my ideal work environment based on experience, rather than assumption and expectation. To me, that is invaluable.”
This is what Ladd says is most important about internships. They give students the opportunity to visualize themselves in specific work environments and decide if their career interests are in alignment.
David L. Williams, II, a 2016 graduate of PBA, completed two internships, one as a writer for an online magazine and the other as an assistant to the CEO of an events agency. He says that while his internships helped him realize that he didn’t want to be an editorial journalist or an event planner, he doesn’t regret doing them because they “bolstered my resume, giving me a competitive edge right out of college.” He landed his current job in public relations and marketing at a premier golf and country club community shortly after graduation.
During his time at PBA, Kyle Anderson ’18 carried out two internships. The first was as a financial accounting intern in PBA’s Student Accounts Office and the second was as a marketing intern at a travel agency in Santiago, Chile. He found his experience in both roles very helpful to his current position as a marketing assistant in a nutrition-based company. He said almost daily he uses the data management skills he learned from his first internship and the international experience he gained from the second one. In addition, he said, “my internships taught me to be extremely flexible, which is a skill that I can apply anywhere.”
Ladd advises every student to begin thinking about internships as soon as they enter college. In career counseling sessions, she says, “the minute you feel that you are ready to pursue an internship, do it that minute. If that’s today, then start today.”
Note: While at PBA, Bracciale, Williams and Anderson received scholarships through the Johnson Scholarship Foundation.
Vicki Pugh has more than 30 years of experience advancing the non-profit sector through, executive management, fundraising, marketing, public relations and volunteerism. As Vice President for Development at Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA), she leads a multi-million dollar fundraising effort and oversees university relations and marketing.