Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 3, Page 13
Spring 1992
How to succeed in business with minority summer internship program

     A solid academic background and hands-on experience are a winning
combination for people on both sides of the desk--those seeking jobs
and those hiring employees.
     Since 1985, the College of Business and Economics' Minority
Summer Internship Program has successfully linked qualified minority
students with local industry to provide such meaningful summer
     On-the-job experience gives students a feel for the corporate
world, which is valuable when they are looking for a "real" job. The
summer internships help students determine future career goals or may
give them the incentive to seek an MBA or other advanced degree,
according to Robert Barker, administrator of graduate and
undergraduate programs in the college's Department of Business
     The program also provides an opportunity for employers to become
acquainted with minority students and their abilities. "The reality is
that the work force in the year 2000 will be less than 40 percent
white males, so industry must start attracting and training minorities
with talents and skills for management and leadership," Barker said.
     The minority internship program is a joint venture of the college
and the Brandywine Professional Association (BPA), a Delaware Valley
organization composed of approximately 250 black entrepreneurs and
professionals in law, medicine, business, education, banking, industry
and other fields.
     Norman Hatter, director of human resources in the Polymers
Department of the Du Pont Co., and Chuck Singleton, a market
specialist at W. L. Gore, were among those at the start-up of the
program. "We were friends and managers in Du Pont at the time," Hatter
says. "We told Bob Barker how helpful it would have been for us when
we began our careers to have had an understanding of the corporate
setting and how it works."
     Since the program began in 1985, 42 students have participated,
and the minority enrollment in the MBA program has doubled to a high
of 18 students in 1991, Barker says.
     The program begins in November when qualified juniors, seniors
and MBA students who have maintained a high GPA apply to be
candidates. This year, the program was limited to students in the
college. Next year, the program is expected to be open to all
interested undergraduates at the University, whether they are arts and
science majors or engineers or from other majors who are interested in
careers in business and industry, Barker says.
     He and committee members work with applicants on their resumes
and interviewing skills and help in other areas to prepare them for
the corporate world. In February, a reception allows company
representatives to learn about the program and informally meet the
students. Formal interviews follow in March and April.
     Du Pont, ICI Americas, Delmarva Power, General Motors Acceptance
Corp., Bank of Delaware, MBNA America and W. L. Gore & Associates are
among the participating companies.
     "When a student is accepted as an intern, he or she has a coach
in the work place and a mentor from BPA, who gets to know the student
on an informal, friendly basis and can give advice and encouragement
based on his or her experience.
     "This is a unique part of the internship," Hatter says. "We can't
always get a match, but the arrangement works out well."
     The proof of the program is the success of its interns. Many have
been offered full-time positions by their summer employers; some are
working and getting their MBAs at night; some are enrolled full-time
in the MBA program.
     A former Blue Hen football player, Sam Haynes, had an internship
with the legal department of Du Pont in the summer of 1990. He
continued to work with Du Pont part-time the following year, returning
to Du Pont during the summer of 1991, and he is now a student at
Temple Law School.
     His friend and adviser is Gary Brown, a Du Pont attorney, who
says Haynes "was a bright person who did not know how bright he was.
He grew the whole time he was with us. He was responsible. He met
reporting requirements. He had what it takes."
     Haynes calls the program "outstanding." His experience in the
legal department gave him an opportunity to get a first-hand,
realistic view of the law profession. It was "not glamorous and not
like L.A. Law or Matlock," he says, but he enjoyed the work and
decided to apply to law school.
     Alvis Nash, a Delaware MBA student who did her undergraduate work
at Hampton University, served her internship with Du Pont/Merck last
summer, working for a pharmaceuticals product manager. "I loved the
job, which involved marketing research and advertising. It opened up
the world of pharmaceutical sales to me," Nash said.
     "The summer internship program complements the University's
academic and MBA programs. The backbone of the program is the
participating companies, and the black professionals and business
people who are willing to share their experience and give support to
minority students who are following in their footsteps," Barker says.
                                        -Sue  Swyers Moncure