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College of Business extern program

March 31, 2010, Amanda Weaver

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Randy Lane

The Externship Program at Southern Illinois University was formed for all majors in 1984 by the SIU Alumni Association. Approximately three years ago, Matt Purdy, Associate Director of Career Services, began overseeing the College of Business participation in the program. 

The extern program is a way for students to obtain real business experience during their spring break. In order to be considered for the extern program, students are required to be of junior or senior status and have a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative grade point average as well as turn in an application, transcript, resume, and two letters of recommendation before they leave for Thanksgiving break. This information helps place each student with a company that will expose them to a career that is of interest to them.

Purdy says, “The greatest benefit students can get from the externship is they can finally see how everything they’ve been studying in the textbook plays out in the real world. Not only that, but with a little effort, they will have several networking opportunities available to them, allowing them more options when they graduate than they would have had otherwise.”

Externs share their experiences

Randy Lane, a junior from Alton, Illinois studying finance, had an astonishing experience during his externship. Over his spring break, he worked in Boston, MA for Experience, an internet based company that was started in 1996 to help young adults learn from the experiences of others. Experience helps people understand their interests and how they can apply them once they reach the workforce. Schools and organizations from across the country have partnered with Experience to deliver career services to students and alumni. Lane did such a great job during his externship that Experience wrote an article about him that was sent out to every college, alumni, and organization that uses the program. He said one thing that really hit him while working at Experience was the soft skills he was able to observe and pick up throughout the week. He also thought it was interesting to talk to the executive level about their positions and their success at their job.

Robyn Phelan, a marketing senior from Bridgeview, Illinois also had a great experience during her externship with the Chicago Blackhawks. She said she loved every second of it and felt a part of the team. The people were very welcoming and extremely down to earth. When she graduates she wants to work in the sports industry and hopes that her externship will lead to a real job with the company.

Kelsey Wallace, a marketing junior from Murphysboro, Illinois did her externship with Black Diamond Harley-Davidson in Marion, Illinois. While at Black Diamond, she worked closely with Marketing Director, Jeremy Pinkston. By the end of the week, she gained more knowledge than she knew what to do with, loved all of the employees, and gained a greater understanding as to how Black Diamond achieved and maintained their success. Overall, Wallace said, “I did not want the week to end. In fact, I went back on the Saturday following the end of my externship. I know my extern experience was unlike anyone else’s because there is no company like Black Diamond. In a world where I feel so many people dislike their jobs, it was refreshing to work with so many people who love theirs. The staff at Black Diamond was very knowledgeable and friendly which makes it more of an enjoyable experience for their customers and privileged students like me.”

For more information on the extern program, contact Matt Purdy at 618-453-2710 or at mpurdy@business.siuc.edu