Undergraduate Student Perception of International Business Internships

Open Access
Anolik, Molly Lynne
Area of Honors:
Elective Area of Honors - International Business
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Austin Jay Jaffe, Thesis Supervisor
  • Terrence Robert Guay, Honors Advisor
  • international business internships
  • student survey
ABSTRACT Influenced by the challenges of employment in an increasingly global market and heightened demand for employees with global competence, this study examines Penn State business undergraduate student perceptions about international internship programs. The study primarily focused on two different types of international internships: a traditional international business internship whereby the student would be carrying out his/her program in another country, and a business-oriented, international service learning internship whereby the student provides a meaningful service to the community by applying business skills learned on-site and skills previously acquired through their academic program . A survey format was utilized to assess student interest in international business internships that were either traditional or service integrated. A self-selected sample of 704 undergraduate students at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business participated in the assessment with 526 completing all questions. Students reported interest in both internship programs. Cost was a prevalent influencing factor in student decision to consider either program. An overwhelming majority of students did not perceive development of global awareness as a value which is contrary to the importance employers place on global awareness. Service learning internships that offer academic credit may provide an additional option to meet student needs. The author hopes these findings will be incorporated into aiding the development and success of Smeal Global Impact Internships that is currently in development and anticipated to be available for enrollment, November 2010.