Faculty Guest Blog: Getting the Edge Outside of the Classroom

Undergraduate college education offers a multitude of options for students to be successful. Beyond making a great school choice, how students spend their time is key to additional career or academic achievements. Internships offer students many advantages to obtain excellent jobs or candidacy in competitive graduate programs. They offer practical work experience; first-hand knowledge and skills; and network connections.

It’s also a win for the employers who can evaluate future possible prospects.  In fact, recruiters from Fortune 500 companies tell me repeatedly that student internship experience is one of the top indicators of a good job candidate. Whether paid or for credit, the exposure to a particular field, enhancement of a student’s resume, and professional connections are invaluable. 

Internships aren’t the only avenue to meaningful management experiences.  Students also benefit from executive student boards or committees, clubs or sports leadership, or entrepreneurial activities.  This type of campus involvement enhances academic learning, and demonstrates a student’s leadership traits, skills, and knowledge outside of a classroom setting.  That’s the edge.

Peggy McDermott is a lecturer and director of undergraduate programs at the Rensselaer Lally School of Management.