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SIBC to offer global internships

Madeline Buckley | Monday, February 2, 2009

The Student International Business Council (SIBC) will send about 25 students to countries all over the world, including Thailand, Ghana, the United Kingdom and Belize, to work on business and humanitarian projects this summer, SIBC president Matt Brownschidle said Sunday.

The SIBC internship program offers positions primarily to freshmen and sophomores every year, but Brownschidle said receiving an internship will be more competitive this year than in previous years.

“I think this year, the internships are going to be more competitive because the market is more competitive,” he said.

Generally, freshman and sophomores make up the majority of the applicants, but it is likely that more juniors will be in the applicant pool because the economy makes it much harder to obtain summer internships this year, Brownschidle said.

Tina Tovar, the vice president of internships for SIBC, said they hope to increase the applicant pool to include students who are not business majors.

“I’ve sent out e-mails to all of the departments, and I put up fliers in the career fair,” Tovar said. “So a lot of people have been hearing about it and aren’t necessarily business students.”

Tovar said the internships are varied, and students will do everything from teaching, to working in a law firm to working on projects involving marketing or finance.

Brownschidle has spent the past two summers doing SIBC internships, first in Thailand and then in Belize.

“I worked in Bangkok with an international trading company,” he said. “You have to be motivated and driven to find your own projects, so while I was there I worked in a variety of different divisions, like marketing and finance – anywhere I could lend a hand.”

While most of the internships are located in different countries, there are several in Washington D.C., Tovar said. These internships are still internationally focused, she said.

Tovar spent a summer working for the Department of Commerce in Washington. She said her job primarily involved programming for events, such as forums and panels.

“I had to come up with who’s going to be at the panels, how the agendas will work and planning the event itself,” she said.

When reviewing the applications, which are due Feb. 13, the SIBC board will look for students who show initiative, since the projects they will tackle require self-motivation, and they prefer students who have shown a dedication to SIBC and participated in the club’s projects in the past, Brownschidle said. More than anything, participation in SIBC projects give students the skills they need to be successful in their internships, he said.

“I had done a bunch of SIBC projects,” Brownschidle said. “That’s where I picked up all the business skills I needed to get my internship.”

The SIBC interns do not get paid, but SIBC covers all the costs of the trip, Brownschidle said. The club covers expenses such as housing, plane tickets and any vaccines that might be necessary.

“Although you’re not getting paid, the experience is more than worth it,” he said.

Brownschidle said SIBC is privately endowed, so the club does not get funds from the University. A donor started the endowment in 1989, and the interest from the endowment is used to pay for club expenses and the student internships.

The international internships are primarily a result of networking with Notre Dame and SIBC alumni who work for big companies or non-profit organizations and agree to take on an intern, Brownschidle said.

Brownschidle said the internships give students international business experience that they would not generally be exposed to.

“You really have the opportunity to see countries you would very rarely see on your own,” he said. “The experiences I had as a result of the internships is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”