News Photo
Rachael Brenner and Jacob Heller.
Internship to help students get global business experience

In an effort to mirror global business today, Drake students will face after graduation, the College of Business and Public Administration recently developed the International Business Internship Program.

“Students need to be prepared to enter the work force equipped with experiences to complement their academic preparation,” said Annette Watson, career development manager. 

The program, which launched in spring 2009, involves host internship sites at Kemin Industries and Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.

Drake students Jacob Heller, a senior finance and accounting major from the Twin Cities, and Rachael Brenner, a junior accounting major from Prairie Village, Kan., are the first students to participate in the program. Heller will work with Kemin and Brenner with Pioneer.

“I am very eager to work with a company that focuses on more than just the United States,” said Heller, who studied abroad in Amsterdam and is trained in Dutch and Spanish. “I think this will be an incredible opportunity to learn how the domestic and foreign operations of an international company fit together.”

“I see this internship as a great opportunity to explore my profession,” said Brenner, who speaks French and Spanish. “I am also confident that Pioneer Hi-Bred will be an important step in helping to make me a future business leader.”

Both students will complete a local internship with the companies this summer and will continue to work part-time throughout the following academic year. The students then will be eligible to work the following summer at one of the companies’ overseas locations.

The overseas locations will be decided on a case-by-case basis with each student’s major and each company’s business needs in mind.

“Drake tailored and promoted the program to create good matches,” Watson said. “We are very excited to have these two companies partner with us in making the program a reality.”

Students in their sophomore year are eligible to apply for the internship program. Pioneer and Kemin will hire interns based on criteria including GPA, major and transcripts.

“I think that my accounting and finance classes have given me the necessary technical and critical thinking skills to perform on the job,” Heller said. “More importantly though, the very high number of international students in Drake’s College of Business and Public Administration helps me learn a lot about other cultures.”

“Drake’s business curriculum is designed for practical hands-on learning,” Brenner said. “I believe these business courses have prepared me to better understand Pioneer’s business environment. From Drake’s courses and this internship, I expect to have a clearer understanding of the global business setting.”

The travel arrangements for students going overseas will be made possible thanks to a donation from Dwight “Joe” Dollison, BN’68, and his wife, Diane. Dollison has been an active member of the college’s National Advisory Council.

“Today’s corporations operate in a global environment,” Dollison said. “To remain competitive, it is important for them to hire employees with a strong understanding of what it means to work with people of different cultures, business objectives and processes.” 

“With our support of this program, Diane and I hope that we can assist efforts to better prepare Drake students to operate in this competitive environment and bring a strengthened international skill set that benefits both the student and the future employer.”

For more information about the internship program, contact Annette Watson at 515-271-4715 or annette.watson@drake.edu.