Applied education, such as is offered at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, presents numerous opportunities for students to interact with society and industry with a goal to apply their knowledge and skills in the real world. At International Business (IB), one such opportunity granted to our students is our international internship program. Here below an insight into this opportunity and its coordination as discussed with IB’s internship coordinators Mr. Celso Meiller and Ms. Laura Raumane.
Our two experts both teach People and Organization specialization at IB. Like many of their colleagues they each present an impressive CV from their time in industry. Celso came to IB with over 20 years of experience in process improvement and as an HR consultant in concerns including IBM and PwC. Laura, following her graduation from IB in 2013, and having specialized in HRM, went on to work in recruiting before progressing to six years in learning and development at Ernst & Young. She is now back at her Alma Mater, sharing her knowledge and experience with new generations of international business professionals. It is easy to see why together, they oversee our internship program.
We asked them a few questions pertinent to our internship seeking student, industry partners, and potential new industry network.
Who benefits from the internship?
Quite a few stakeholders.
The student benefits by being able to apply their knowledge and skills in the real world. As an intern, students can experience the independence and responsibility the professional world requires of them, while receiving guidance and supervision in their status as students.
As an internship program, we can help in building the talent pipelines of companies. Most of our students go on to become valuable employees between 0-3 years of graduating. This is testament to the well-known fact that internships are the best job interview mechanisms for young talents.
By sponsoring interns, companies have a say in our curriculum. At IB we constantly request feedback from companies. This feedback, as well as the active participation of many of these concerns in our business advisory council ensures that our curriculum continues to be future proof.
Why is this a meaningful role for you?
Internships offer our students the best scenarios to see how well they can apply their learnings in the real world, it is wonderful to be able to facilitate this opportunity for them. It is also important to connect the academic world with the business world to both ensure that we are helping students acquire a relevant set of skills and competencies, and for industry to help us do so. Procuring companies to make internships available to our students is an essential part of the process and requires you to think parallel to the needs of both the curriculum and industry. It keeps you on your toes.
How do IB students stand out?
By the time IB students are ready to start their internships, they have been part of a truly international student community of over 60 nationalities. They have practiced international teamwork, communication and crisis management in 6 different semester-long simulation exercises, each collaborating with industry sponsor.
The IB curriculum offers students four specializations to choose from: Marketing, Finance, Operations and Supply Chain and People and Organization (HRM). However, and before they specialize, our students acquire a broad foundation in each of the disciplines. This allows them to perform as linchpins between two or more business functions in any internship sponsor company.
In short, our students stand out because they are capable global citizens with a comprehensive knowledge base and problem-solving abilities.
How does Internship at IB work?
With almost 30 years of applied education under our belt, we have built up a comprehensive network of industry partners who sponsor internships to our students. This network regularly adapts to socio-economic and technology changes, aiming to offer students an internship experience attuned to the times, Over the last 5 years, a little over 200 IB students completed a semester long internship all over the world in various sectors.
Throughout the duration of their internship students are in regular contact with an IB internship supervisor, who in turn also has periodic contact with the company supervisor, thus ensuring a useful internship experience for all parties involved.
How has COVID-19 impacted the IB internship program?
The labour market took a hard hit worldwide as a result of the pandemic. At the time when lockdowns and social distancing measures started to be implemented here in Europe, many of our students were already settled into internship rounds that began in February 2020. For most of this cohort this meant that they had to get online and work remotely. Thanks to excellent hand holding from many of the internship sponsors, as well as the flexibility and adaptability of our students, this was accomplished well.
For some students however, the COVID-19 pandemic meant they could not continue with their internships and had to find alternative postings. We are happy to report that this batch have successfully completed their internship semester. Having seen the impact this pandemic was having on the labor market, and especially our internship program, we strategically expanded our internship portfolio for our next batch of students. We proactively sought sponsorship in pandemic resilient sectors of the economy, such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, agriculture, and IT. Our programme is happy to note that the reception for these internships have been warm and welcoming for all stakeholders.
Every crisis is a learning opportunity and, looking back, we are so very proud of the talent pool we recognize in our students. Together with our industry partners and many new internship sponsors we are discovering new ways to engage our students and offer new internship opportunities.
IB internships will continue to expand its portfolio to include more sponsor companies in most sectors of the economy. We have adapted our internship program to make blended and remote/virtual internships an important component of our internship program, thus tracking the new ways of working that the economy is adapting to.
NOTE: If you are interested in sponsoring students on internships in your company, or would like more information on the IB internship program at THUAS, please mail C.A.MeillerSalinas@hhs.nl.