David Wilmes, the new executive director of Marymount University’s Center for Career Services, is excited at the prospect of leveraging two of MU’s competitive advantages to benefit students: the required internship for academic credit and the University’s location next door to Washington, DC.
Mr. Wilmes, who started his job in December 2011, says, “You see an internship requirement in some programs at some universities, but it’s rare to have it as an across-the-board graduation requirement as it is here at MU.”
Internships have many benefits. Mr. Wilmes explains, “An internship can be an eye-opening experience. Besides being able to apply classroom theory to workplace assignments, interns have a chance to observe professional behavior and to model their own behavior accordingly. And when students finish their internships, they return to class more enthusiastic and involved in their own learning.” Add to that Marymount’s emphasis on weaving the rich resources of the national capital region into each student’s educational experience, and you’ve got a winning combination.
Mr. Wilmes notes, “Students expect to find DC internships in federal agencies, northern Virginia’s technology companies, and the defense industry. But few people realize that the capital region also has a large number of think tanks, associations, cultural institutions, and service organizations. These employers also provide great internship opportunities.”
The Center for Career Services offers events throughout the year where Marymount students can acquire and practice skills like communicating in a formal setting and dressing appropriately for business. Mr. Wilmes says that his office will increase the number of such events. He adds, “The importance of these skills can’t be overstated. Teaching students about appropriate business behavior is key to helping them get ready for the real world.”