Career Management

Internship Program

Willamette MBA students bring the motivation, curiosity and knowledge necessary to help your organization achieve its goals and objectives. Internships provide a unique opportunity for the student and the employer to engage in a mutually beneficial relationship. Employers gain added talent and support while students add valuable experience to their resumeé. Each year, we typically have over 90 students seeking full-time paid summer internships. Through our 3-2-1 program, students are able to stay at the same employer for a full-year if both the student and the employer wish to continue. In addition, students seek resume building experiences during fall and spring terms.  Our online Student Resume Books, provided by MBA Focus allow recruiters to identify students with specific backgrounds, focus areas and /or professional profiles.  You may also contact our Career Office with questions at 503.370.6167.   Please access our database of qualified interns at MBA Focus.

What makes a great internship?

MBA internships are typically project based. You might think of interns as consultants that can bring an outside perspective to your organization. Sample projects might include a feasibility study of entering a new market, the preparation of a financial forecast or budget, the analysis of an organization's or a building's carbon footprint or a recommendation on ways to reduce and save an organization money. Our students want to make an impact and provide value to your organization. 

Basic requirements for approval for the first semester of an internship:

  • A minimum of 135 hours of work over a period of at least 6 weeks
  • An opportunity to build upon or extend the student's first year learning and student career goals. Core coursework and areas of interest include marketing, finance, data analysis, human resources, operations, project management, supply-chain management, consulting, business analyst or systems analysis, sustainability, not-for-profit management, accounting and public finance. Details on coursework can be found here. 
  • A project that gives the student an opportunity for the student to solve an organizational or departmental problem and add 2-3 accomplishments to the students resume. 
  • The ability to interface with upper management. Often internships include brown bag lunches with management or the opportunity to present the findings from their internships at a staff meeting. 
  • The ability to interact with other staff on a regular basis. NOTE: We do not approve remote work situations for the first semester of internships. 
  • An organization (public, private or not-for-profit) that is established. NOTE: We do not approve business plan creation for start-up organizations. 
  • Remuneration - Graduate students seek paid internship opportunities, although the amount of salary isn't as important as the opportunity to add value. In summer 2014, the range was up to $35/hr with an average of $18/hr. We do have a not-for-profit scholarship program specifically designed for not-for-profits that need an intern, but do not have the funding, consider applying for our Not-for-Profit Internship Scholarship Program.  Question: Can Internships be unpaid? Answer: There is a very strict six point test for assessing whether an organization can offer an unpaid internship. NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) addresses this question here. 

Internship Program Responsibilities:

The internship program includes some coursework the student does in conjunction with the internship work they do.  This coursework basically sets up a framework for a student to set out and monitor achievement of their objectives, goals, strategies, and tactics.  It also enables a student to reflect upon their learning during the internship.  A faculty internship coordinator (FIC) is assigned to each student/employer.  The FIC communicates during the term with the employer, makes a site visit midway through the term, and acts as a mentor/advisor for the student.  

In addition to a site visit during the semester, we also require that the employer provides a face-to-face performance evaluation of the student at the end of the internship. This should provide the student with both positive feedback as well as actionable suggestions for areas of improvement. We also require employers to complete an online assessment of the student. This assessment is also completed by the student. The data from this assessment provides key information to improve our curriculum each year.  Link to the online assessment

Length of Internships:

Although the minimum length of an internship is 6 weeks, the majority of students do a 10-12 week internship over the course of a semester. In addition, we have a 3-2-1 program which enables a student to continue in the same internship over the course of an entire year earning 3 credits the first semester, 2 the second and 1 the third. The two credit internship requires only 90 hours of work and the 1 credit internship requires only 45 hours of work. All internships must last a minimum of six weeks. This program allows our students to use up to 6 credits from internships toward their graduation requirements.  

Connecting Internships with Students

To attract the largest pool of candidates for a summer internship, we suggest that you provide a description of your internship project(s) by the end of the fall semester or early in January. We encourage you to get involved with our career programming to get to know the potential applicant pool and for students to better understand your organization. On-campus recruiting is available for internships. Link to our Career Programming or contact Career Management Staff at 503.370.6167. 

Internship Schedule:

  • Summer Term: Mid-May through late August
  • Fall Semester: Late August through mid-December
  • Spring Semester: Mid-January through mid-May

Class Projects:

A number of faculty teach experiential classes, where they encourage students to seek real world projects. If you are open to small groups of students working on projects or using your organization/industry in a case study, please contact the Director of Career Management, Beth Ursin to connect with a faculty member.

Developing an Internship Program:

Career Management Director, Beth Ursin who is in charge of the Internship Program at Willamette's MBA program would be happy to schedule a meeting with you to help you develop an internship program from scratch or to expand an internship program utilizing best practices. Please contact Beth via email or phone at 503.370.6167. 

2012 Internship Report

Students seeking an internship for the summers of 2012 did very well, with more than 95% of students accepting an internship offer.Several students who participated in the internship program in the summer of 2012 have received offers of professional employment from their internship employer and have plans to work full-time after completion of their MBA.Internship projects involved a variety of functions including business development, supply chain management, human resources, project management, investments, ecommerce, accounting, strategic finance, marketing, data analysis, information technology, etc.Eighty-five percent of internships were paid. Salaries averaged $684 per week or $17/hr.

A Sample of Recent Internship Employers
Ajinomoto Frozen Food
Boys and Girls Club
Bonneville Power Administration
Cambria Health Solutions
Charles M Russell Museum
City of Salem, OR
Clear Memorial
Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde
Dept of Energy
Evergreen Aviation
Family Building Blocks
Glory Bee Foods
Graybeal Distributing
Great West Graphics
Hive Consulting
Hewlett Packard
Mercy Corps
Marine Corps Family Foundation
Mentor Graphics
Mid-Valley Women's Crisis Service
Multnomah County, OR
NW Mutual
NW News Network
OR Community Health
OR State: Parks & Rec, State Fair, Travel Experience
OEN Network
Papa Murphy's
Phu My Hung Corp, Vietnam
Providence Benedictine Nursing Center
Salem Keizer: Education Foundation, School District
Salem Keizer Volcanoes
Saudi Investment Bank, Saudi Arabia

Schwabe, Williamson and Wyatt

Sherwin Williams Paint
Smith Freed & Eberhard
The Standard
Thomson Reuters
WA Farm Labor Assoc
Wandering Aengus Ciderworks

Willamette Humane Society

A Sample of Recent Internship Titles
IT Strategic Planner
Investigative Reporter
Operations Assistant
Supply Chain Analyst
Financial Planning and Control
Marketing Consultant
Sustainability Fellow
Human Resources Coordinator
Public Utilities Specialist
Business Development Intern
Infrastructure Developer
Financial Analyst Intern
Operational Intern