Real Life experience for International Students – The Importance of Internships

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The article comes to you from Kristy Stewart, Career & Intern Advisor, Brandeberry Career Development Center, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Wright State University
Kristy shares the internship experience of Anoop Chunchu, current graduate student in the College of Engineering & Computer Science at Wright State University, and provides some insight into the importance of internships.
chunchuOriginally from India, Anoop Chunchu joined Wright State University as a graduate student in 2013 where he is currently pursuing double master’s degrees in Industrial & Human Factors Engineering with a concentration in Supply Chain Logistics, and an MBA with a concentration in Project Management.
After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in India, Chunchu worked for Mitsubishi Motors and Massey Furguson as a plant engineer solving problems on the plant floor.  His experiences led him to become interested in a graduate degree in industrial engineering.  He decided to attend WSU after much research on the Industrial Engineering program and through the helpful advice and assistance from his advisor Dr. Pratik Parikh.
Once Chunchu arrived, he became involved with the International Center for International Education, where he received firsthand exposure to administrative procedures and processes, which sparked his interest in additionally pursuing an MBA.
In 2015, Chunchu attended the Wright State University Career Fair, and as a result, was selected for an interview with AES, parent company of Dayton Power & Light.  DP&L supplies power to over 515,000 customers in 24 counties throughout west central Ohio, employs over 1,200 employees, and has built the first advanced energy storage facility in the state (http://www.dplinc.com).  Chunchu shares that his previous experiences applying and interviewing for several internship opportunities, engineering work experience, and business knowledge helped him feel confident and comfortable during the interview process, which ultimately led to an offer.
Chunchu believes his internship experience with DP&L has given him the ability to view a company from a business perspective. His job responsibilities include data analysis, daily profit & loss analysis/reporting, performance analysis, forecasting, and business operations.  Having the chance to improve his business and data analysis skills has helped him to improve and enhance his overall engineering capabilities.  Chunchu’s supervisor agrees, reporting that Chunchu’s application of his high-level technical skills along with his MBA pursuit has contributed to good work.
Often viewed as a role model by other international students for how to successfully obtain an internship, Chunchu is frequently asked for his advice.  He encourages students to never lose hope, never stop learning, and keep improving their skills.  He recommends that students utilize all available resources at Wright State University, such as the Brandeberry Career Development Center in the College of Engineering & Computer Science along with online job portals such as Monster and LinkedIn.
Chunchu states, “Having an internship before you graduate will definitely help students who intend to pursue full time employment after they graduate.  I believe with hard work, perseverance, and good networking, it is definitely possible to land an internship.”
Chunchu is right: internships are essential for landing a full-time job in engineering and computer science after graduation.  In fact, according to the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE), 91% of employers expect students to have previous work experience on their resumes (“Employers Prefer Candidates with Work Experience,” 2017). Some employers have reported to the Brandeberry Career Development Center that when hiring for entry-level positions, applicants with no internship experience are not even considered.
Further, internships serve as the key component for transitioning into one’s career and bypassing the job search, as 90% of companies offer their interns a full-time job upon graduation (“Intern to Full-Time Hire Conversion,” 2015).
The bottom line: an internship secures your future career.  If you want a job after graduation – do an internship!
If you are interested in starting your internship search, please visit your university’s career center for more information and resources.  And don’t worry if you are an international student – you are absolutely allowed to participate in an internship experience as well.  You can do this through the Curricular Practical Training program; your university’s international student office will be able to explain more about this process to you.

Author:
Kristy Stewart, Career & Intern Advisor
Brandeberry Career Development Center, College of Engineering & Computer Science
Wright State University

Sources:
1. Employers Prefer Candidates with Work Experience . (2017, April 05). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from
http://www.naceweb.org/talent-acquisition/candidate-selection/employers-prefer-candidates-with-work-experience/
2. Intern to Full-Time Hire Conversion: “Returning” vs “Nonreturning” Interns. (2015, July 21). Retrieved April 19,
2017, from http://www.naceweb.org/talent-acquisition/internships/intern-to-full-time-hire-conversion-returning-vs-nonreturning-interns/