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University Sponsored Internships

Universities pay students for their internship experience.

Photo of Kai Huang
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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it reimagine the cost of college?

The target audiences are the school administrators and potential recruiters. This idea would help students with their costs and gain experience and knowledge through it.

I have read some interesting posts in the inspiration phase. Some say that people don't really know what to major in after admission to college; others say the cost of undergraduate program is simply too high; a lot of others say colleges should be free; most say the college's return of investment is just simply negative for most students. 

Why not require every freshmen to get an internship of their choice based on their first major choice and make another internship requirement at their junior year. On top of this requirement, I also think that Universities should pay for students by the hours on top of their internship pays. For example, I am an incoming freshman majoring in finance. I would get an internship at Goldman Sachs where they would pay me $10 an hour, and each hour I work there, the university would pay off my loan by $x amount. So if I have $5,000 in student loans, and if the university wants to pay off $5 an hour for  each hour I work at Goldman Sachs; then I can pay off the loan if I intern 1,000 hours there. In addition, I would get $10,000 in spending money before taxes. This way students can get the experience and knowledge to their desired major and whether they want to continue to pursue the degree or switch to another major. That's why there is an other requirement at junior year. It should be an interesting for students to experience the real world and make smarter decisions on their major choice.

In my case, I interned at a tech startup, but my majors are Supply Chain Management and Economics. My majors are not aligned to their company goals and missions; however, I liked interning there and enjoyed the company environment better than the SCM internship. Now, I am thinking about applying to the MSTC program and starting my own tech startup. If I had a chance to intern here earlier, I would've picked Computer Science and MIS as my majors.


What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

You can possibly try this experiment at McCombs but there are too many organization levels; therefore, it would be hard to get this idea across the administrators.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

high connections, mass media, money?

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Are you interested in the Path to Pitching track we've developed for this challenge?

  • No

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Photo of Dan Waite
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Hi Kai, Interesting idea - I agree that there is immense value to internships (and doing them early on), and that universities could give them a more central role.  A related idea I've been working has been to address the issue of bloat in university administration by giving more of that load to student workers as paid interns who receive mentoring and career direction through that experience.  I've been testing that out in my own university, and to be honest there are quite a few positions where students are more effective, even though there is a bit more work on the mentoring side...

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