Students network with local business leaders following the Internship Spotlight event.

In today’s competitive job market, making connections with local business owners and gaining on-the-job experience are more important than ever. That’s where Jeff VandenHoek comes in.

The newly-appointed director of business relations for the George Fox School of Business, Jeff recently hosted an Internship Spotlight event in front of a packed classroom filled with eager students. Current students who are already in internships shared their experiences, while local business owners talked about the importance of interns from their perspective.

Perhaps most important, at the end of the event students got a chance to meet with local business owners to lay the groundwork for future internships. For many students in attendance, the tips offered were eye opening, and shed light on the importance of gaining real world experience while still in school.

We ask students to share their biggest takeaways from the night:

“My biggest takeaway from the night was seeing that internship opportunities can also be a possibility during the school year. I always viewed the summer as the only possible option because of my class schedule, but seeing that plenty of businesses do offer internships locally, I could see how I could make it work during the school year. It was a beneficial night and I got a lot out of it.”
- Sandra Lopez
“The biggest thing that I got out of the event was the realization that businesses need interns just as much, if not more, than interns need businesses. When I think of the whole internship searching process, I think of some daunting experience where you really have to break your back to find anything. It may not always work out for an intern when they are searching for an internship with a Fortune 500 company, but there are plenty of other businesses that are looking for interns, but don’t quite know where to look. So the main thing that we as students need to do in order to seek out the right internship is to utilize our resources, such as the business department, and we need to focus on networking and marketing ourselves to the business world. Learning and perfecting the skill of networking with others is not only vital in our internship search, but it will prove to be an essential skill needed to climb the corporate ladder in the future.”
- Vince De Benedetto
“I think the best takeaway for me was that George Fox, especially the School of Business, is working hard to integrate interns and different companies. That gave me hope and got me motivated to work hard to find the right internship, because there are people here like Jeff who are willing to help me do it.”
- Ivan Mutabazi
“The Internship Spotlight was a really helpful event, especially hearing some current students at Fox share their experiences. It made me feel more confident that I can also find an internship and get a good job in the future. I like the idea that Drew [a current student] shared: network. I think we need to attend some more events like this to make even more connections with real business people and seize the opportunities. I also agree with what Emily [a current student] said: If we don’t know something, we need to be honest and ask for help. If you ask, you will learn, and next time you will do better. So my biggest takeaway is that I need to build my network from now on and promote myself. I’m really happy that I attended this event. It was a great help!”
- Meng Dong