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How to Structure an Internship that is Great for the Intern and the Manager?

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.678.1 - 24.678.7



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Paper Authors

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Sudarsan Rangan Texas A&M University


Malini Natarajarathinam Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Malini Natarajarathinam is an associate professor with the department of engineering technology and industrial distribution in the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. Dr. Natarajarathinam’s teaching activities surround classes in purchasing, distribution networks, and strategic relationships. She strives to make learning fun, relevant, and perpetual to her students. The students of the industrial distribution program presented her the Award of Distinction in 2010. Dr. Natarajarathinam’s research interests include coordinated decision making in stochastic supply chains, handling supply chains during times of crisis, and optimizing global supply chains. Her research articles have won best paper awards at the Association of Collegiate Marketing Educators conference and the Society of Marketing Advances conference. She currently serves on the editorial advisory board for the International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management. Dr. Natarajarathinam has worked on several research projects funded by government agencies and industry. She has a strong passion for student development and is the founding faculty member of the Society of Women in Industrial Distribution (SWID).

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How to structure an internship that is great for the intern and the manager?Internships often provide the first foray for a student into the real world. Gone arethe days when being an intern meant running errands and getting coffee. Well-structured, effective internships are the key to maximize the potential of thesebright young minds, and guide them to be contributors. An effective internship experience is mutually beneficial to both the intern andthe business. The student is exposed to best practices, effective management andan understanding of the skill sets required to successfully transition into aproductive contributor. The business benefits by providing structure andguidelines to the student which helps them understand the opportunities withinthe organization and the industry, and these businesses often end as the firstchoice for these trained contributors.Often times, there is a disconnect between the expectations of the intern and themanager and this disconnect results in bad experiences for all. In this paper wediscuss student expectations from an internship experience, and theresponsibilities of the business in terms of meeting these student expectations.We will also discuss ways to structure and plan the internship so that the businesscan better assess the potential and the capabilities of the intern and in effect, helpbusinesses avail the internship experience as an extended job interview to hiregood candidates – candidates with organization specific training that fit in withthe organizational structure and culture.The authors have collected this information from students majoring in Businessand Engineering and from companies that regularly recruit them. The real lifeexperiences from the students and the managers along with their insights haveprovided the authors with insights on how to develop and structure effectiveinternship programs. The authors also share some examples of best practices forstructuring good internship programs.

Rangan, S., & Natarajarathinam, M. (2014, June), How to Structure an Internship that is Great for the Intern and the Manager? Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20569

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