Global business leadership students learn about the importance of internships

By Mike Killeen

The mileage between the College of Saint Benedict and Target headquarters in downtown Minneapolis is 69 miles. It’s 84 miles between Saint John’s University and Best Buy headquarters in Richfield, Minnesota.

Obviously, CSB and SJU aren’t located next door to corporations based in the Twin Cities.

But at an event for sophomore global business leadership (GBUS) students Feb. 9 at SJU, current students found that the distance is no obstacle for finding great internships.

Seven graduates of CSB and SJU spoke to the GBUS students about the importance of internships and how to stand out when applying for them. In addition, two current CSB seniors – Isabella McKeown and Morgan Merritt – spoke on how their summer internships became a stepping stone for a full-time job following graduation.

Global business leadership majors are required to complete four credits of experiential learning via internship (the most popular method), or by running an on-campus business through the global business leadership practicum course.

“We have about 70 summer interns that are earning academic credit each summer,” said Steve Schwarz, visiting assistant professor of global business leadership at CSB and SJU. “Faculty supervise these internships, and try to visit each site during the summer to create a personal relationship with these organizations.”

Six of the graduates who spoke to the sophomores – Chase Luebker (3M), John Burns (Veritiv), Ben Martynec (Target), Christie Lipari (Target) and Arianna Stotz (Best Buy) – began their careers at the companies they interned with. Seven of the eight graduates who spoke work for Fortune 500 companies.

Schwarz said the most popular internship tasks are marketing, sales and logistics. Of late, there has been an increase in digital marketing internships. About 75 percent of those internships take place in the Twin Cities, he added.

Those opportunities come at a variety of businesses – large companies like 3M, Target, Best Buy, CH Robinson, Optum, Northwestern Mutual and State Farm; mid-sized businesses like Geronimo Energy, WCCO, KSTP, Rapala, the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and Youthworks; and advertising agencies like Fallon, Periscope, Rocket 55 and Mackey Creative.

There are also internship opportunities in the St. Cloud area with companies like Blattner Energy, Granite Logistics, Dayta Marketing, the Central Minnesota Credit Union and Anderson Trucking Services.

Schwarz told the sophomores that “now is the time” to start thinking about a summer internship in 2019.

“Instead of lifeguarding for the fifth summer in a row, maybe you should consider pursuing an opportunity that relates to your degree,” Schwarz said.   

Schwarz mentioned that GBUS majors have other professional development opportunities, including:

  • A career prep session where graduates return to campus to share advice on networking and career fairs;
  • The Career Expo, which is offered each fall through the Experience and Professional Development Office at CSB and SJU, an event that is required for all GBUS sophomores;
  • The Minnesota Private Colleges’ Job and Internship Fair, which is recommended for all GBUS sophomores;
  • And, GBUS offers several sessions throughout the year to prep students for internships.

Building connections was a key point of what the graduates told the sophomores.

“Internships overall are a good opportunity to figure what you like and don’t like,” said Hannah Lynch ’17, a GBUS major who is now working at Optum after participating in several internships throughout her collegiate career. “Lean into the networking. There are so many people out there who are willing to help you, or just hold informative interviews with you.”