The Robert P. Stiller School of Business (SSB) and the Office of International Education (OIE) are delighted to announce that the Freeman Foundation East Asia Internship Program has been renewed for the 2013-2014 Academic Year. The renewal of this $100,000 grant will provide more SSB students with another opportunity of a lifetime to live and work in China for 12 weeks. This one-year grant was renewed due to the incredible success of our 2012-2013 pilot Program, which was developed and implemented through extensive collaboration between the SSB and the OIE, the Registrar’s Office, the Office of Advancement, and the Marketing Department.
As a result of the 2012-2013 pilot program, we have seen fourteen SSB students’ knowledge about business, China, and themselves grow exponentially through their experiences. These students successfully completed intensive internships during this summer, with one student studying at the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics (SUIBE) prior to their internship. The students interned with high-tech LED manufacturing companies, educational-exchange programs, venture capital firms, manufacturing sub-contractors, movie production companies and outdoor gear manufacturers.
The Program partnered with the North American High Tech Center (NAHTC) for the identification of several internship placements and to arrange logistical and cultural support for our students while in China. Champlain’s Associate Provost for International Education and Senior International Officer James Cross and Study Abroad Director Noah Goldblatt worked closely with NAHTC, and Cross made trips to China to coordinate efforts with NAHTC, meet with proposed internship hosts and investigate potential housing venues for students. For all 14 of our students, NAHTC assisted with housing selection and were available for in-country support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while our students were in China.
The program also implemented a series of orientations to prepare students for their immersion into Chinese business and culture. SSB and OIE faculty and staff conducted a series of “pre-departure” workshops that provided students with important information about both what they could expect from their internship experiences and what their employers and co-workers would expect of them. Through collaboration with the CCM Division, students also participated in a Chinese cultural immersion and Mandarin language course at Champlain during the spring semester before departing for China.
To continue supporting the students throughout their experiences in China, SSB Assistant Dean Scott Baker designed and taught two customized online internship courses to offer students both for-credit and non-credit options. The courses provided an effective way for SSB faculty and our interns in Asia to interact on a regular basis in support of students’ ongoing experiences in China. The course also provided a mechanism to ensure that the quality of the internship activities were of the professional caliber required for our students, and to provide frequent feedback to the Freeman Foundation.
In addition, SSB Associate Professor of Business Tom Myers traveled to Shanghai in July to visit with the students and their employers. While there, he was able to visit each student at his or her internship site and to speak with each internship supervisor. These visits provided valuable firsthand insights into the unique nature of each of the internships and the overall effectiveness of the program. From supervisor course evaluations and direct feedback, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback on our interns’ performance, work ethic and levels of contribution to the various companies. In fact, a number of these companies stated our students were the best interns they’d ever had, and all requested to have future interns from Champlain. Several of the 2012-2013 Program students received invitations to return and/or standing job offers.
Based on observations and feedback from the 2012-2013 program students, the 2013-2014 program will strengthen students’ cultural and linguistic preparation for their experiences by providing them with the opportunity to take an intensive Mandarin language course at the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics (SUIBE), an official partner of Champlain, prior to beginning their internships. Students will also live in SUIBE campus housing throughout their time in Shanghai. NAHTC will continue to provide students with further acclimation opportunities, cultural opportunities and on-ground support. As with the 2012-2013 Program, OIE and SSB faculty and staff will travel to Shanghai both before students arrive and during their experiences to ensure the continued success of the program and its students, and students will also enroll in one of the program internship courses.