Internship program builds confidence, professionalism and leads to job offers
Internships are a must. Virtually all entry-level jobs for business students expect and require at least one internship.
But through the BUSX 460 Professional Experience course—unique to Towson University's College of Business & Economics (CBE)—business and accounting students bridge the gap from college to career with more than just an internship.
“I see BUSX 460 as one of, if not the, most important classes at Towson University,” said Steven Martin, an accounting major who interned at Columbia, Maryland-based, software company PROCAS. “Students are challenged to find internships where they can make the necessary connections, build their resumes and really determine if the field of study they're in is the right one for them.”
A requirement for all business administration, accounting, and business systems and processes majors, BUSX 460 consists of seven classroom sessions in addition to a 120-hour professional internship. In these sessions, students learn to think critically and self-reflect on every aspect of their interning experience, from tasks and paperwork to interpersonal encounters and conflict.
After starting BUSX 460, students develop an individual development plan with their employers. It helps track a student’s goals to get the most out of their internship experience. Students also read Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and journal their self-discovery process.
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People allowed me to reflect about my current and past experiences, which helped me become the best employee I possibly could,” said Bradley Cohen, an accounting major. “The class gave me a push in the right direction in finding a job and preparing myself for success after graduation.”
In the small class sections, students share and discuss experiences. They also ask questions and gain feedback from various guest speakers who provide another glimpse into the professional realm.
“The speakers talking about their experiences really gave an inside look into what we're about to go through,” says Shehryar Hussain, who interned at The World Trade Center Institute in Baltimore this past semester. “It was very helpful to hear from others about how they dealt with graduating from college and starting their careers.”
By the end of the course, students develop a portfolio to build a foundation for continued career development after graduation. Meredith LaBold, through her internship with CohnReznick, learned practical auditing knowledge and software–technical skills she added to her portfolio.
“BUSX 460 gave me the confidence to function in the professional world,” said LaBold, an accounting major. “Along with that, it provided a lot of useful tips for professional email writing and salary negotiation.”
CBE students complete 600–700 internships per year in BUSX 460. And for many, their experience at the company doesn't end with the internship. Martin received an offer for a full-time position at PROCAS. Another accounting senior, Bradly Cohen, received a full-time offer from his spring internship at Enterprise.
“The best part of my internship experience was the realization that the past four years of my life led to something,” said Cohen. “It is a great feeling to see my knowledge from Towson University being used in the real world, and that I am actually pretty good at the job."