It’s seems we have no shortage of friends taking time right now to sort out their summer plans. For many agriculture students, that will include seeking out an internship.
Students are routinely encouraged to seek out these short term work experiences early and often throughout their college career. We’ve been no exception, having the fortunate opportunity to intern with several companies and organizations during our time at UW-Madison.
A good internship is more than just a job. It’s a learning opportunity that, when done well, can have profound benefits for the students and employers alike. For the student, it’s a chance to peek into the world of work and explore what careers there are in this big, diverse industry that we call agriculture. For employers, it’s a chance to get fresh perspectives and ideas that students can bring to the table. For those businesses looking to grow their workforce, hiring interns can be a unique opportunity to “test drive” a prospective employee. It’s true that internships, formal or informal, are no new phenomenon but they’re perhaps more common than they were in the past.
Here are some of our internship highlights:
2013 Summer Internship: I was a sales intern for Merial’s large animal health (mainly dairy) products including Eprinex, J-Vac, Cystorelin, Zactran and Corid.
Project: I rode with veterinarians and distributors establishing relationships with farmers and promoting the products.
Best Opportunity: Meeting and getting to know the dairy farmers, industry professionals, distributors and veterinarians I worked with.
Biggest Lesson Learned: Having good relationships with those you work with can make all the difference!
Tips for Students Seeking Internships: 1. Apply and interview, starting via phone, for anything you think you might even be remotely interested in… you never know the contacts you could make or how you could utilize them in the future, even if the position doesn’t work out. 2. Keep in mind the internship should fit you and your goals. Even if a position sounds great and looks nice on a resume, you should be sure you would enjoy it and take tangible, applicable skills and knowledge from the experience. 3. Don’t be afraid to reach out to companies, even if they don’t have an internship position posted.
Past/Current Internships: Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association and Agri-Nutrition Consulting
2013 Summer Internship: This summer I was a commercial sales intern for Dow AgroSciences, calling on customers in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
Project: Monitoring commercial field trials for nitrogen stabilizer products.
Best Opportunity: Through the internship program, we trained for a week at Dow headquarters covering agronomic knowledge as well as sales skills. The training we received was well done and definitely enhanced my knowledge of the crop side of agriculture.
Biggest Lesson Learned: Be flexible. Even the best laid plans can fall through – great employees find ways to work through the challenge and find a solution.
Tips for Students Seeking Internships: 1. Get involved. Employers want to see your ability to lead and work with others, two skills you can emphasize through your campus involvement. 2. Be open to whatever position comes your way. Agriculture is opportunity rich, so taking advantage of the opportunity to explore diverse positions is important.
Past/Current Internships: Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, National Swine Registry and Wisconsin Farm Bureau
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