Intern Engagement & Innovation through a Capstone Project 2 Comments

Earlier this year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported a 22% decline in college hiring in comparison to 2008. also reported in May internship opportunities nationally tumbled.

Given the significant decrease in campus hiring, the past season was more competitive for students vying for internship opportunities.  For organizations that understand the strategic and long term value and benefits, it was business as usual for their intern population.

While it’s no surprise students want meaningful work during their internship, a great way to drive innovation and engagement is through a Capstone project.


I recently had the opportunity to review very impressive work on the use of social media and recruiting.  That was the focus for a Capstone project this summer for a group of interns.

Here is what several of the team members for this Capstone project had to say about the opportunity:

  • The introduction of a capstone project offered us an opportunity, as interns, to learn more about the organization and given topic simultaneously. As participants, we approached the same problem from differing perspectives, allowing our analysis and recommendations to consider several of the company’s unique departments. Knowing our findings could possibly aid in determining future practices, we were determined to realistically approach the situation without compromising the creative potential of our assignment. – Lauren
  • Participating in an intern-only capstone project allowed for the interns to experience the freedom to develop, manage, and deliver our own project independent of our leaders and department specific responsibilities. We were exposed to the real life planning and tasks associated with overseeing your own initiative. Additionally, due to the scope of our project, we were provided the opportunity to work cross-organizationally assisting in diverse idea generation and a greater understanding of the company.- Cassie
  • Capstone projects are an opportunity for interns to hone collaboration and communication skills, practice proper meeting etiquette and learn to manage the dynamics of a team of hard working, Type – A individuals. Interns have the opportunity to be intentional about their attitude – being free of fear and focusing their energy and skills on problem solving. These projects are positive experiences because interns are able to get to know one another and feed off the creative energy that each person brings to the table. Ultimately, it is a chance for interns to be effective leaders while learning to stay humble during the process. – Emily
  • The opportunity to work on a capstone project gave us insights into areas of the company outside of the departments in which our internships were focused. It also allowed us to network with other interns and to form relationships that will last throughout our careers. – Ryan
  • Being a part of the intern capstone project was a great experience. It allowed for us interns to work together to solve a real business problem while creating valuable relationships with one another. I was forced to learn how to be an active member of a team in a professional environment while still accomplishing the tasks associated with my internship. – Robert
  • A capstone project gives us a chance to build teamwork skills. Being able to effectively collaborate with a diverse group of colleagues is integral to any career. – Richard
  • A capstone project is a great opportunity to work with highly skilled interns with completely different academic backgrounds and personal opinions. It gives motivated, enthusiastic interns an opportunity to provide a company with an outside perspective on a specific business issue. With the end result having the possibility of implementation, it really pushes interns to create quality work with hopes it adding value to an organization. – Michael

During these economic times and environment, there is no better time to create the opportunities and utilize the resources you have in a way that drives the behaviors resulting in work product geared towards creating a competitive advantage for organizations.

About Jason Buss

Talent HQ’s creator and editor is Recruiting & Diversity Leader, Jason Buss. Talent HQ is a premier online news and information channel for the Recruiting and Human Resources community.

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  • Posted on: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009