Virtual Internships Provide Real Experiences
KENNESAW, Ga. (Jul 28, 2020) — Kennesaw State University senior Maverick Jones saw an opportunity rather than an obstacle when his summer internship shifted from in-person to remote during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jones, an information systems major and Coles College Scholar, was slated to spend the summer in Dallas, Texas for his internship with IBM. However, conducting it virtually instead has not hindered his opportunities to learn and gain work experience as a technical sales intern.
“This has been the most valuable professional experience of my life, remote or otherwise,” Jones said. “It would be easy to look at this situation from an outside perspective and see glaring realities that could be construed as purely negative, but this internship has been everything I hoped for and more.”
As a technical solution specialist, Jones is interning in sales related to Cloud computing and cognitive technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Even working remotely, Jones said he is able to access “almost limitless resources” at IBM to learn about business and technology.
“I have worked on so many projects with different products and solution offerings, used many different sales tools, and even participated in real client calls,” he said. “IBM genuinely wants their interns to experience as much as possible. You can reach out to anyone within this global organization, no matter how high up or how far away they may be, and everyone is so willing to share their knowledge and experience or answer any questions.”
Other KSU students are having similar experiences through virtual internships with companies such as UPS, Pandora, Chick-fil-A, Ecolab and NCR.
Kamari Davis, a senior majoring in finance and minoring in marketing, is a claims intern with UPS Capital, the insurance/financial subsidiary of UPS. In that role, he is helping to optimize the process for claim adjusters to pay shipment claims as well as develop efficient training for incoming claim adjusters.
“I am grateful that UPS has the capabilities to go remote and continue their internship program,” Davis said. “Being an intern in the virtual working environment has taught me the importance of adaptability. In business, you have to be prepared for the unexpected. If you can adapt to new situations, you will set yourself up for greater success in the future.”
Approximately 215 Kennesaw State students from a range of majors are participating in a remote internship or co-op this summer, according to the Department of Career Planning and Development.
“It’s becoming increasingly important to employers how students are spending their ‘down time’ during this period or how they’re pivoting from a rescinded offer,” said Ana Baida, executive director of transition support and career development. “We know that students who participate in hands-on, experiential learning are more competitive in the job market. Gratefully, employers are pivoting to remote internships and even providing opportunities for virtual job shadowing.”
– Paul Floeckher