What is an On-Campus Internship (OCI)?
To increase the opportunities for BYU students to gain relevant work experience and for recruiting companies to create added exposure with students, the BYU Business Career Center is sponsoring undergraduate on-campus internships. Students receive academic credit while they gain valuable real life work experience in their chosen field. Companies receive the equivalent work output of a full time employee while they have a semester-long interface with potential interns and full-time employment candidates.
On-Campus Internship Teams
OCI teams are made up of five undergraduate students who have expressed interest in working on projects for the sponsoring company. One of the five students, who has previously participated in a full time summer internship, acts as team leader and the primary contact with the company. Work assignments are made directly to the team leader and he/she divides the work among the team members. Each team member works an average of nine hours per week and the total hourly commitment of the team is for forty-five hours per week (the equivalent of one full-time employee). The OCI team output is consolidated and provided back to the sponsoring company as agreed to in the project deliverables.
Responsibility of Sponsoring Companies
Each sponsoring company will need to define a key contact with whom the OCI team leader will work directly. Work assignments are given by the key contact on a daily, weekly, monthly, or periodic basis. While it is possible to have semester-long projects, it will be more common for the OCI teams to work on a series of smaller projects throughout the semester.
What Types of Project Work Can Companies Give to the OCI Teams?
Any kind of business or management internship work can be appropriate. We have students who are studying marketing, finance, OB/HR, supply chain, accounting, information systems, general business, etc. Some examples of past work projects are given below:
- Analysis of new market opportunities
- Evaluation of current organizational effectiveness
- Analysis of new business opportunities in Russia (all Russian-speaking team)
- Supply chain recommendations for more efficient alignment of resources
- Reviewing and recommending revised design of financial and accounting systems
- Analysis of specific industries for portfolio investment options
- Developing a marketing plan for a new product roll out
- Developing a business plan for an expanding opportunity
- Assessing the size, growth, and key characteristics of a market segment
- Assessing the viability of a new product offering into an existing market
- Analysis associated with mergers and acquisitions activities
- Identifying where in the value chain a company should enter with a new product offering
- Developing support materials for an organization and its internal employee resources
- Considering portfolio options for micro-financing opportunities
Any assignments given to an employee, consultant, or contractor are potentially appropriate.
Company Key Contact Responsibilities
First and most important is the clear description of the project and deliverables by the key contact of the sponsoring company. The key contact should also be available to answer questions and provide company resources to the team as needed. The key contact should also provide feedback to the OCI team concerning the quality and productivity of the team’s work as part of the learning experience.
Advisor and Mentor Support Available to OCI teams to Complete Assignments
A second-year MBA student (or other appropriate graduate student) may, at the request of the company, be hired to act as an advisor and mentor to the OCI team. The MBA mentor will meet regularly with the team to discuss work plans to complete assigned projects, review progress on existing projects and provide guidance in creating meaningful result presentations. Each of the second-year MBAs will have multiple years of work experience after their undergraduate degree and a full time internship following their first year of MBA study. The MBA mentor/advisor will increase the productivity of the team, and quality of the results, through better work plan development and recommendation planning. Students will also have the opportunity to interface with faculty and a program manager with over thirty years of business management experience.
OCI Team Schedules
OCI teams are created for each of the Fall and Winter Semesters at BYU. Fall Semester runs from September till early December and Winter Semester runs from January till mid April. A team is created to function for one semester, and team members receive three credit hours of university credit. The projects are identified and communicated to the students four to eight weeks before the semester begins and they are encouraged to state their project preferences. We try to form the teams two to three weeks before the semester begins, so the students can prepare for their semester-long experience. We ask for fall projects to be submitted by July and winter projects to be submitted by October.
OCI Project Fees and Expenses
There are no required fees to sponsor an OCI Team. If a company desires an MBA mentor for their team we can hire one to advise the team. Companies that desire an MBA mentor for their OCI teams are asked to pay $1,000 in professional fees (which cover the cost of the MBA mentors and minimal program costs). All sponsors are asked to reimburse the school for sponsor-approved expenses necessary to complete the projects. Expenses include items such as long distance phone calls, printing reports, or buying research reports, etc. as approved by the company key contact in advance. If a company does not currently have a budget to cover the $1,000 professional fees of the team, they can apply for a grant to cover half or all of the professional fees. We have limited donated funds to cover these company grants, and we will apply them as we are able to the companies that request them. Professional fees are generally collected at the end of the semester.
How Does a Company Sign Up For an OCI Project Team?
Companies can submit OCI team requests to their key contact at the Business Career Center, directly to Roger McCarty, Director of Experiential Learning for the Marriott School of Management, or (preferably) they can complete the online OCI project application. When requesting a team the company will submit a project request consisting of a paragraph describing the company and one or more paragraphs indicating the project description and the project deliverables. The application form will also ask for the category of project work the team will do and the types of majors/concentrations that would be useful on the team. Examples of concentrations include finance, supply chain, marketing, OB/HR, strategy, etc. The paragraphs will be used to communicate the available projects to the students so they can submit their preferences for team membership.
How are Teams Formed?
Companies submit their projects and the projects are publicized to the students. Students are given the opportunity to submit their preferences and qualifications for the projects. Teams are created by finding the best match between company needs and student preferences. In some cases the companies have previous interns or students they are tracking that they would like to have participate on their team. This is a wonderful way for a company to get a closer look at a few good candidates, and for students to get to know a company better as they consider working for that company in the future. We will be very flexible in supporting company requests for specific students to participate on OCI teams.
When and Where Do I Sign Up?
Students wishing to participate in On-Campus Internships must register for one of the OCI options or types of project classes. The they can go to the student applications to register for projects. The applications will be active in November/December and in August/September. See the following link to the student application.
Role of Company Project Sponsors for On-Campus Internships
The Company Sponsor and Company Key Contacts are critical to the success of the On-Campus Internship team and their projects. The Company Sponsor defines the project and clearly articulates what they want the student team to deliver. The Key Company Contact works with the students throughout the semester to ensure that they stay on track with the needs of the company and have the resources necessary to succeed in the project.
Critical Tasks and Responsibilities of the Key Company Contact:
- Contact your team before or during the first week of school and set up an initial meeting (and formal kickoff meeting if appropriate).
- Schedule regular weekly meeting times throughout the project (15 minutes to one hour is normal, but some weeks the meeting will not need to be held and other weeks may require more time).
- Establish a process for how you will communicate between meetings.
- Agree on the final deliverables and when they will be due (as part of the engagement letter) or describe work that builds throughout the semester or evolves at the sponsor’s direction.
- Give regular feedback to the team to let them know how they are doing.
- Approve team expenses necessary for the completion of project deliverables (approved expenses will be invoiced at the conclusion of the project).
- Complete the company sponsor surveys that are sent to you at mid project and after the final presentation.
Important Factors for success:
- It is important that the objective/goal of the project be clearly defined in the original application, but it is normally necessary to revisit the objective/goal once the project kicks off at the beginning of the semester. The final project description and deliverables of the project should be clearly articulated and documented for the team in the engagement letter you develop with them.
- It is good to maintain regular contact with the students to ensure that they are on the right track, answer questions, and assist with resources. It is most common that the company will have weekly meetings with the student team (please never go longer than 2 weeks between updates with the team). These meetings may be in person, by Skype, by Webex, by teleconference, etc.
- While the student will benefit greatly from the company contact’s experience and expertise, it is important not to try to steer them too much from the perspective of one’s personal experience. One of the benefits of the student team is that they bring a fresh perspective and have recently been trained in some of the most recent approaches. Share your insight and perspective with them, but encourage them to seek fresh outlooks throughout the project.
- It would be beneficial to set up conference calls for the students with subject matter experts within the sponsor company so the student’s could gain their perspective on the topics being researched. Please make available to the students all of the information sources within your company. If you have promised internal data to the students please provide it promptly so as not to delay the project timeline.
- Where possible, it is helpful when you can provide contacts from your industry that are knowledgeable on the project topics. If the students are benchmarking or doing industry analysis, your personal or corporate network could provide valuable contacts that the students could meet with or interview for insight and understanding.
- We encourage you approve expenses for the team that are relevant to the project. If you ask the team to travel we have BYU rental cars. We also ask you to approve the cost of printing reports and presentation, as well as materials needed to complete the project. We will reimburse the students and invoice you for the costs at the end of the semester.
- Complete the company surveys (mid-term and final) concerning the students to help BYU in grading the students, giving them feedback and improving the program.