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UMM Home > Career Services > Internships > Business Internships

Business Internships

Before you begin searching for a business internship, there are a couple of things you should know:
  • Internships in business and industry are difficult to come by--not many companies advertise specific internship opportunities.
  • Paid internships in business are particularly rare, and if these exist they are usually very competitive. Your chances of getting such an internship are better if you have a high GPA (i.e. 3.7+), extensive leadership experience (such as student activities involvement), or personal connections to individuals in business organizations.
  • Relatively few companies have structured, official internship "programs."

Basically, there are two ways to search for an internship in business/industry organizations:

1) Pick an internship from opportunities listed in The Career Center internship binders. These include listings of sites in Morris, and a variety of internships with not-for-profit organizations. Business internship programs are occasionally listed--read through these binders (particularly the Administrative binder) to see if anything interests you, and follow the instructions for application. THIS IS THE 'EASY WAY' TO LOCATE A "BUSINESS" INTERNSHIP. THESE INTERNSHIPS WILL GIVE YOU GOOD WORK EXPERIENCE, BUT MAY NOT BE PAID OR IN A FIELD OR GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION THAT DIRECTLY RELATES TO YOUR CAREER INTERESTS.

2) Go out and find/create an internship opportunity that matches your career interests. This involves time and perhaps money spent by you identifying your career interests, researching possible organizations/companies, and contacting these companies (see process described below). THIS IS THE 'HARD WAY' BUT MAY RESULT IN AN OPPORTUNITY CLOSER TO YOUR CAREER INTERESTS, AND WILL HELP PREPARE YOU FOR THE JOB SEARCH ONCE YOU GRADUATE.


  • Volunteer part-time with a human services organization or government agency using business-related skills (accounting, budgeting, human resources, writing, etc.). This will build experience that will strengthen your application for a paid internship program later in your college years, and will certainly strengthen your application for professional jobs after you receive your degree by demonstrating work-related skills. "Of course you would like to be paid. But if it's not absolutely essential, you have a broader range of rewarding opportunities to consider...The future employer who reads your resume won't know or care whether you were paid as long as you have the experience...On the bright side, you have more control over the internship if you are a volunteer." (Alice Thornsberry)
  • Build experience through responsible involvement in student organizations on-campus, and use this background to increase your chances of obtaining an internship. If you are interested in a finance internship, for example, serve as financial officer for a student group, get involved in AFRC, etc. Skills acquired through involvement in campus activities are transferable to other work settings.
  • You may be able to volunteer with a business or company if they currently do not have the funding for an internship but are willing to take on an intern. If you absolutely need to make money during the summer, perhaps you could do a half-time volunteer internship and work half-time at a paid job.
  • Do a part-time internship during the school year on a volunteer basis. Opportunities in Morris are listed on the attached sheet.

OTHER CAREER CENTER RESOURCES (Check out from Career Center secretary)
1991 Internships Internships, Vol. 1 Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations & Sales
Internships, Vol. 2 Newspaper, Magazine , and Book Publishing
Internships, Vol. 3 Accounting, Banking, Brokerage, Finance & Insurance
Internships, Vol. 4 The Travel Industry
Internships, Cooperative Education Undergraduate Program Directory. 4th Edition. 1990-1991.
Internships, Professional Sports Internships. 1995.
Internships, The Access Guide to International Affairs Internships: Washington D.C. 1996.
Internships, The National Directory of Internships. 1989.
Internships, America's Top Internships. 1997 Edition.
Internships, Internships 1995. 14th Edition.
Internships, Internships in Foreign and Defense Policy: Women in International Security. 1990.
Internships, Directory of International Internships: A World of Opportunities.
Internships, Directory of Undergraduate Internships. 1980.

1) Many students are tempted to write to every available company to inquire about internships. This most often is a fruitless paper chase. You are better off limiting your search by focusing your career interests. Identify your business interests (see handout "Opportunities in Business Occupations), and specific occupations/jobs within that area. (If you are like most undergraduates who are not sure how one is going to "use " one's major, you may need to conduct some career research.) Resources for career research are shown on the handouts "Career Planning Activities Recommended for Freshmen/Sophomores, Juniors/Seniors." Other resources include the Strong Interest Inventory, Occupational Outlook Handbook, VGM's Handbook of Business Careers, etc. Check in The Career Center for their availability.

2) Once you have established a focus for your internship, you will need to identify business/industry settings. Resources found in The Career Center include:

Planning Your Career - Job Choices for Admin/Business--see section in back on "co-ops" and "summer employment"
Peterson's Job Opportunities for Business and Liberal Arts Students
Yellow pages - phone books
Minnesota Business Directory
Minnesota Directory of Manufacturers
Corporate Report Minnesota
United Way's Directories of Community Services
Finding a Job in the Non-Profit Sector
Company files/binders
See The Career Center Director for special assistance in using company resources.

3) Put together a resume and cover letter geared towards this specific internship. (Guidelines for resume and cover letters are available from handouts available in The Career Center.) Your letter should be addressed to the manager of the department you are interested rather than the personnel/Human Resources office. This may require that you call the company first to ask which department is responsible for the internship activities you're interested and for the name of the department/hiring manager.

4) Follow up your letter and resume with a phone call within a couple of weeks. Introduce yourself briefly, and tell them why you're calling. Be prepared to answer general questions about why you're interested in an internship. Ask if they are willing to meet with you to discuss the possibility of setting up an internship. Note: you are better off not talking about money at this point--leave it open as to whether you would do the internship on a volunteer basis or for pay. It is likely that once you get in the door, they will pay you if funds are available. If they are not, you can still get a lot of valuable work experience if you are able to find an internship related to your future career field. (See handout on phone calls.)

3M (Mpls): March 31st deadline
Advertising Federation of Minnesota: 10-week summer program with ad agency or corporate ad dept. - 15 offered - March deadline
Business Incentives (Mpls): corporate travel management (unpaid)
Cargill (various locations nationally) - commodity merchandising
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis -
International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (Chicago area): two-summer commitment, must apply during sophomore year
Magazine Internship Program (New York City) - Magazine Publishers of America
Minnesota Insurance Internship Program - non-sales internship, exposure to various functions of insurance company
National Sports Center (Blaine) - marketing, facility management
Northwestern National Life Insurance (Mpls) - actuarial internship
South Dakota State Government Executive Intern Program - variety of paid internships for S.D. residents
Sears Consumer Financial Corporation (Chicago) -marketing (prefer
Chicago resident) St. Paul Companies (St. Paul) - actuarial internships
State Farm Insurance Co. (St. Paul) - minority internships
The Burns Group (Mpls) - advertising
United Farm Real Estate - sales
Yellowstone National Park - accounting, hospitality

Community First Bank - general banking
City of Morris (City Manager) - budgeting, project planning
First Agency - insurance marketing
GROW (a county economic development agency in Benson)
American Financial Security, Inc. - Morris
KWCM-TV - market in-house video and broadcast training programs
Morris Coop Assn./Cenex, Inc. - assist general manager
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Morris Area Chamber of Commerce - public relations
Stevens Community Medical Center - human resources/medical administration/accounting First American Agency - insurance
First American Bank - general banking, tax accounting
Pamida - retail management
Pomme de Terre Food Co-op
Stevens County Economic Improvement Commission
Swine Health Center - accounting software
UMM Alumni Relations - Homecoming Coordinator (pd)
UMM Outdoor Recreation Center - accounting/finance
UMM Student Activities - grant writing
First Federal Savings Bank