MBS students are getting a head start on their careers thanks to the business school’s internship coordinator Amanda Plourde.
Plourde, who joined MBS in fall 2015, collaborates with businesses to establish internship programs and helps students find and prepare for the valuable experiential learning opportunities that can lead to full-time jobs after graduation. Building an internship program from the ground up, she is busy compiling data about each placement, including a brief description and the number of students who have participated.
“Internships provide an opportunity for students to work in a real business environment, add skills to their resume, apply the knowledge they have gained in the classroom, and build their professional network,” she says.
A Madawaska, Maine native who earned a bachelor’s degree from UMaine’s College of Education in 2011, Plourde has been busy over the last year contacting businesses and organizations in Maine and beyond in search of potential partnerships.
“Networking is a big part of what I do,” says Plourde, who attends events including the UMaine Career Fair and the Bangor Business Expo to let businesses know that the school is seeking internship opportunities.
Today, MBS has relationships with more than 70 companies and organizations across Maine, including the town of Orono; MMG Insurance in Presque Isle; Stone Coast Funds Services in Portland; Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce in Dover-Foxcroft; and Guidance Point Retirement Services, Mynt Investments and Enterprise Rent-a-Car, all in Bangor.
Internships, which can last a month, semester, summer, year, or even for a student’s entire tenure at MBS, typically are aimed at juniors and seniors who have taken core requirements and are immersed in the courses that pertain to their major.
“I am constantly getting information about internships that are valuable to students in all our MBS majors,” says Plourde, who has helped place a management information systems intern at the Orono Police Department, a marketing intern at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, and a finance intern at Means Wealth Management in Bangor.
“When a business notifies me that there is an internship opportunity available, I send the information to students in the specific major at which it is targeted,” she says. “But students also come to me to ask if I know about any internships.”
In addition to her duties as internship coordinator, Plourde holds career preparation sessions to provide information about writing resumes and cover letters, applying for an internship or job, making a good impression at an interview, and other career-readiness skills. She also serves as an academic adviser, offering guidance and information regarding career research, options, decision-making and goal setting.
“The most important thing we do here at MBS is prepare students to graduate career ready, and internships are the best way to do that because they enable students to differentiate themselves in this competitive work environment.”
Amanda Plourde, MBS Internship Coordinator
Serving as internship coordinator at MBS has been both challenging and fulfilling, Plourde says.
“I love talking with our students about their career interests, about the skills they want to develop and about their learning objectives and goals. I also like knowing that I am helping them plan for life after graduation. I feel particularly gratified when they tell me that I was instrumental in helping them obtain an internship,” she says, adding she also enjoys collaborating with businesses and organizations in the community.
Plourde says she strives to ensure the internship will be a valuable experience for both the employer and student. She determines what each business is looking for in a student intern, how the internship program will be structured, and what the educational takeaway will be.
“My goal is to have the majority of MBS students participate in an internship experience by the time they graduate,” she says. “But we emphasize to our students that while I can let them know what positions are available, in the end, they are the ones who have to take the initiative and put themselves out there.”
Written By Ruth-Ellen Cohen, Writer for the Maine Business School.