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Gaining Professional Experience

It has long been said that there is no substitute for experience. This is absolutely true for individuals thinking about SCM careers. Relevant work experience builds skills that are desired by employers and exposes you to different areas of the supply chain. Just think about it, an internship or part-time position will help you build a solid resume and pinpoint your career interests.


Internships are a great way to gain knowledge and abilities in the rapidly changing world of global supply chains. Many companies hire university students for three-month or six-month internships, typically during their junior year. Internships are not just a summer job – they can happen any time, including fall or spring! Lots of firms also hire directly from their internship pools. They use internships for an in-depth look at you and other potential recruits.

While internships are generally paid positions, some are unpaid. It is important to check with the company before you take the position to determine if there is a salary, a stipend or no compensation. Many universities also offer academic credit for internships if you plan the internship in advance with your advisor.

Students who have recently completed internships have great things to say about their experiences. Click on each graphic for their insights.

  • katie quote

    I think the most important parts of internships are the experiences you receive by doing the tasks of a full time employee. Nothing interests me more than being able to experience the jobs that I could be doing in a few years. They are wonderful opportunities for logistics majors because you get to see what aspects of logistics you are most interested in. Logistics is an extremely broad field of study and likewise the job market is extremely broad. In addition, internships allow you to begin networking and getting to know the people in your field so that when it is time to graduate you will have head start.

  • Todd

    The top three things of importance that come to mind when I think about my internships are: - Internships have provided me with industry knowledge through working hands-on with numerous 'real-world' projects. - Internships have helped me better understand various topics in my upper-level Logistics courses because I have worked through and experienced some of the things lectured about. - Internships have given me a leg up on the competition (other students) in my search for a full-time position after graduation.

  • Alissa

    My internship was invaluable because it allowed me to get my foot in the door and showed me that I made the right decision by stepping all the way into the company. I was able to experience the company culture and get to know people with completely different degrees from all over the country working in a multitude of positions. When other students ask me why I was hired nine months before I graduated, I tell them that it is due to my position as an intern. There is no better way for a student to achieve visibility as a candidate in the job market.

  • Jeff

    The importance of an internship is to provide the student with real world experience. The experience allows the student to mature professional and mentally for corporate America. My internships have provided an invaluable insight into the structure and complexities of everyday business strategies and goals. Through this exposure, I was able to understand a macro vision of the business world. My internships gave me the opportunity to polish my communication and analytical skills which has translated to better understanding inside the classroom. The opportunity to learn from current businesses has been a key ingredient in furthering my business education.

Internship Opportunities

How do you find internship opportunities?

It is important to visit your college's Career Services or Internship Programs office as soon as possible to check out their online resources. The office can direct you to internships targeted specifically towards students from your college. MonsterTrak is the top college oriented job listing database and also houses an internship database (select "internships" when searching). If you are a current student or a college graduate check with your school's Career Services office to see if your college is partnered with MonsterTrak and, if so, to obtain a password.

Part-Time and Summer Positions

What about part-time and summer positions?

These are also excellent ways to gain professional experience. You'll learn a great deal by working in a supply chain role, even as an hourly associate. Work with teachers, family, former employers, coaches, friends, parents of friends to find supply chain contacts in your geographic area. Meet with, email, or call these individuals for information about possible opportunities.

Supply Chain Associations Job Boards


Supply Chain Council


© 2011 Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals