By Elizabeth Christian, LC News
PINEVILLE, LA. (LBM) — One need only do a quick Google search to see how important completing an internship is to today’s college student. A growing number of employers seek graduates who have had a real-world experience prior to hiring them.
Louisiana College has been partnering with local organizations to ensure its students are equipped for today’s modern work force.
Isaiah Romero and Adam Hair, both LC business majors, did internships this fall at the Louisiana Baptist Foundation, which placed them in a host of different business and marketing settings.
“LC’s Experiential Learning Initiative provides our students with additional learning opportunities beyond the classroom,” said President Rick Brewer. “The opportunity for our students to select two initiatives from four offerings—research, study abroad, internships and service Learning —reinforces the Louisiana College’s Mission and Vision while providing our students a competitive edge for the marketplace and post-graduate education.”
Brewer believes so much in the value of internships that he has included it in the Vision 2025 Plan—along with research, service learning and study abroad. Students will be required to complete at least two prior to graduation.
“We are grateful for the learning and leadership development opportunity Jeff Steed, executive director of the LBF, extended to Adam and Isaiah,” Brewer said. “Indeed, our students benefited from their internship with the LBF—experience they will be able to leverage for future employment.”
Steed said he is glad to participate.
“The internship program with Louisiana College has been and continues to be a great experience for the Louisiana Baptist Foundation,” Steed said. “It is a win-win-win scenario for all involved. The intern students’ participation at the Foundation has enriched our ministry efforts. Also, the program gives students a real-life, ‘behind the scenes’ and practical view of ministry life.”
An accounting major, Hair’s internship was under the supervision of Chuck Murray, LBF controller. Hair learned first-hand Murray’s methods and was thankful for the insight Murray, a CPA, provided in accounting—even when the constructive criticism was hard to take in the beginning.
“The world of accounting has an extremely steep learning curve,” Hair said. “Early on, I reviewed financial reports to get an understanding of them and how they related to the Foundation’s method of accounting. I also reviewed daily transactions to determine if errors had occurred in their reporting and learned from these assessments. Finally, the last month of the internship, I had the privilege of building a new model of reconciling accounts to make the Foundation’s reconciliation process much more efficient.”
Hair said asking the why and how behind each activity helped the most.
“If you understand not only the process, but the reasoning behind the process it allows you to be more valuable to your company. How so? If you as an employee can identify relevant inefficiencies and understand the root of the problem, you may be able to provide methods to improve the process and save the company making yourself much more valuable,” Hair said.
Hair said he thinks all accounting students need an internship before graduation—if for no other reason than the hands-on experience with the software needed.
“Excel, Excel, and more Excel,” Hair said. “Working with Excel and other software products is essential in accounting and this is one reason every accounting major needs to have at least one and two, if possible, authentic internships before graduation. I want to add that a lot of what you learn on an internship depends on your attitude. You need to come ready to learn and be willing to mess up—a lot. But realize that each failure is moving you closer to succeeding.”
Romero, under the direction of Steed, has continued his internship this spring as a social media marketing intern with the LBF.
“Being under his guidance and having him as a resource to turn to when I have questions or concerns has been helpful because I have been able to comment and ask questions freely,” Romero said.
During his internship, Romero has created communication plans, established templates for marketing material and scheduled and designed content for social media sites for the foundation.
“I also edited and recorded a video series that helps people understand the role of the foundation in helping ministries and individuals advance the kingdom,” Romero said. “I was given the reins on projects and allowed to work on them, research and compare results from the projects and tasks given.”
Adena LeJeune, chair of the division of business, said that type of opportunity during college is invaluable.
“Internships are a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain valuable experience by applying what they have learned in the classroom in a real-world setting,” she said. “As I interact with the students and read their weekly internship reports, I can see how they are developing their identities as professionals. Students who participate in internships will be well prepared to enter the business world full-time after graduation.”