Students in the Hoff School of Business are not only benefitting from the expertise of the faculty, but also professional internships.
Summers are an ideal time for many of these students to intern at companies with local and international reach. In July and August, Corban senior Justin White interned with Industrial Finishes, (IF), based in Eugene, Ore. The company provides high-quality paint finishes to automotive shops and manufacturers worldwide.
White, a business administration major with a focus on marketing, spent six weeks helping Industrial Finishes identify potential new markets within the United States and Canada. During that time he worked with fellow intern Heather Simpson, ’13, and made 618 cold phone calls to businesses that might use IF products. Of those, 161 calls were answered and 98 businesses answered a phone survey.
“This is a 15 percent success rate,” White said. “In terms of business language, that is considered a strong return on investment.” However, the biggest lesson he learned during the internship wasn’t about making money, but building relationships.
“Everything you do, if it’s done with the right moral conviction and genuine care for your customer from the top down, it will work well,” White said. “These are the ethical principles they teach at Corban and were instilled by my business professors. If the only lesson I learned from this internship was how these principles are applied in the real world through a company like Industrial Finishes, than it was more than worth it.”
Senior Katelyn Larson is a business management and English major who wanted an internship combining the two disciplines. She found the opportunity through Nehemiah Project International Ministries, a Hoff School of Business partner.
Her internship included editing a weekly devotional emailed to Nehemiah Project supporters, editing a book and newspaper articles and conducting research about the ministry for its “Wikipedia” web page. She also made a formal presentation about social media marketing that she developed during one of her marketing classes in spring 2013.
“The internship compiled a lot of what I learned at Corban,” Larson said. “I had this biblical perspective in everything I was doing and it made a big difference for me.” Assistant Professor of Business Shawn Hussey, Ph.D., said there isn’t a classroom equivalent for what you can learn during an internship.
“Internships are an important aspect to a complete education because they provide students with an opportunity to see where theories fit in the real world of application,” he said. “While we do our best to provide students with an accurate picture of what the world looks like in practice, the fact remains that there is always an element of separation.
“It typically isn't until that first professional work experience or internship that students fully integrate all of the information and it 'clicks',” he added. “I am a firm believer that students who have an internship experience 'get it' and take their educational experience much more serious.”