WMU News

Students and employers linked through Virtual Internship Fair

March 3, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Instead of pounding the proverbial pavement, hundreds of Western Michigan University business students will be zooming down the information superhighway later this month to locate a summer internship.

The Haworth College of Business launches its first ever Virtual Summer Internship Fair Monday, March 13, linking students with interested companies around the Midwest. More than 50 employers and as many as 800 students are expected to participate in the online exchange through March 24.

Beginning March 6, business students can log on to the internship fair page through the Bronco Jobs homepage to view information on participating companies and link to their Web sites. Organizers hope this sneak peek will encourage students to research the potential employers before the positions are posted March 13. After that date, students can learn about the more than 300 available internships and communicate via e-mail, fax or telephone with the employer at their convenience during the two-week timeframe.

"Like our business stakeholders, our world is being transformed by the e-commerce revolution," says Dr. James W. Schmotter, dean of the Haworth College of Business. "The Virtual Internship Fair is just the latest example of how we are incorporating information technology into everything we do."

According to Geralyn Heystek, coordinator of internship services for the Haworth College of Business, early feedback from companies and students has been excellent. "Employers are telling us that communicating with students online is smart in terms of time management, and the students are certainly comfortable in this high-tech arena," she says.

Organizers aimed to keep this first venture relatively simple, according to Heystek, but future plans include online interviewing and perhaps a chatroom where students and employers can exchange information in real time.

"We recently implemented a requirement that business students complete an internship, study abroad or undertake a business field research project," Heystek says. "Eighty percent of them are choosing to do an internship and that means many more undergraduates are out there looking for summer positions. The online option is a way to assist students and employers without demanding too much time from the companies, many of which already participate in our other career fairs."

The diverse list of employers already registered to participate in the Virtual Summer Internship Fair includes National City Bank, Stryker Corporation, the Kalamazoo Arts Council, Pharmacia & Upjohn, Target and Southwest Michigan Golf News.

For more information, contact Geralyn Heystek in the Haworth College of Business at (616) 387-5089.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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