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Merrick School of Business

An Internship Program Opens A Student's Career Possibilities

Dec. 13, 2012

An internship is similar to test driving a car. It offers you a chance to see if a particular career path is for you or if a specific company is the right fit for you. It also gives the company a chance to evaluate new personnel with meaningful assignments—something they can’t do with just an interview and resume.

Sandyn Wright, a senior entrepreneurship major was all too familiar with the expectations of landing an internship. He knew it was a necessary step in landing his dream job. As a former Marine he was well acquainted with the way government agencies operated and he wanted to gain access to one of the agencies and their internship program. It took six months of intensive interviewing for Wright to land a position and he is currently working at FDA’s White Oak, Md campus.

Wright pursued his internship and used the resources that were available to him. One of those resources came to be by an Executive Order signed by President Obama in 2010 titled “Recruiting and Hiring Students and Recent Graduates.” This Executive Order established two new programs and modified another. The internship program is one of the programs that together form the Pathways Programs.  

“My time in the Marines gave me a glimpse into the way a government agency operates,” said Wright. “I am quite comfortable in that environment. But what I liked most about this opportunity is I might be considered for a career position if they are pleased by my job performance. If I work hard, I may just earn a full time position at the agency—an agency I respect—with responsibilities that I am prepared to do.”

Wright was selected from a pool of approximately 300 applicants many of whom were graduate students. He believes that his answers during an interview where he had to analyze a case study and share his thoughts gave him the edge.

“I think I articulated the answer they wanted but I went on to spark a dialog among the interviewers. I posed questions to them and brought forth a thoughtful dialog. It is something people do on teams all the time, I think they appreciated it.”

In his internship he has the chance to shadow some of the agency’s administrators and incorporate classroom material into the position.

“We were analyzing a problem using MS Excel and the next day I was in Professor Bardossy’s stat class there it was—the formula we used to figure out the problem at the FDA. It is great to see the real-world in the classroom. ”

Dean Darlene Smith agrees that internships provide opportunities for students to grow and discover their managerial talents.

“The reality is internships are the fast-track to full time employment,” said Darlene Smith, dean of the Merrick School of Business. Students who participate in an internship are gaining relevant work experience. Even if it is not a full time job they are seeking it helps them build their resume. It tells future employers that this person is employable. Of course one of the questions that we always pose to employers when we meet with them —‘Are you hiring interns?’ I’m so pleased that we’ve put in place the tools to help students with internships; it is up to them to seize the opportunities in front of them.”

As for Wright, he is looking forward to graduating in the spring and starting his career thanks to his experiences as a UB student and his internship.