College of Business fully implements internship requirement

The school's Professional Development Program has three phases to prepare students.
Students take a break between classes Monday at Cornell Hall. The College of Business has required students to take part in an internship before graduating since fall 2008.

With freshmen, sophomores and juniors in the Trulaske College of Business’ Professional Development Program, the school's push to require students to take part in an internship has reached full implementation, coordinator Rebecca Wolfe said.

PDP is a program within the college designed to better equip students with the strengths they need to thrive in real-world business environments. It was initiated with the fall 2008 semester’s freshmen class, and every business student must participate.

The program is divided into three phases, with professional development occurring in each of a student’s years at MU.

Beginning freshman year, all students attend professional development activities, such as resume writing and interview skills workshops. For each event attended, the student earns a certain number of “PDP points.” Along with coursework, these points are the requirement to move onto the upper level of the college and to graduate.

Once admitted to the upper level, students are enrolled in Management 3500, a class Wolfe calls atypical because of its expanse subject range, dealing with real-world competency development and job search strategies.

After passing this course, students enter the final stage of PDP: BA 4500. For this class, students are required to work an internship. Wolfe suggests students pursue any internship possibilities that might arise.

The college does not plan the internships, but rather, the student is expected to find one on his or her own.

“It’s ultimately the student’s responsibility to secure the spot,” Wolfe said. “We’re not placing students, because we want them to have the opportunity to choose what they want to do and give the employer the freedom to choose who works for them.”

Still, the college does provide an outlet for students to search for possible internships. Wolfe said it is developing partnerships with companies in Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., Chicago and Dallas, among others.

PDP is the fusion of ideas from the college’s Recent Alumni Advisory Board, made up of alumni who graduated less than five years ago, and alum Bill Caldwell.

“Coming from rural Slater, Mo., I was ill-prepared to tackle my first job in the bustling city of Chicago in 1958, even with a marketing degree from Mizzou,” Caldwell said in a news release. “With the need for better and more advanced education today, I believe this Professional Development Program will give Mizzou students a firm foothold in the business world.”

Students enrolled in PDP have talked about its benefits.

“PDP makes me feel more confident about finding a job after college, because it teaches me how to be a great prospective hire,” freshman Reagan Payne said. “With a degree from the Trulaske School of Business and the knowledge and skills gained from the PDP, I feel more confident entering the business world after Mizzou.”

In the end, Wolfe said she hopes this program will help students find jobs when they graduate and become better prepared for the “real world.”

“It’s hard to say right now, because we don’t have all of the data yet, but I think this program will really help with that,” Wolfe said. “Right now, with all of our students coming through and doing internships, they’re already developing all of those relationships with existing companies. In a perfect world, the internship would result in a full-time job offer in the end.”

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