For graduates looking to enter, or re-enter, the world of work, it is no longer enough to just have the theory about how things are done. Hiring managers know that, without real-life experience under your belt, it can be tough to navigate challenges and find a solution when things don’t go according to plan.

Standing out from the crowd. How industry placements lead to full-time jobs

At Cranfield School of Management, we are committed to helping our students to gain practical experience alongside academic business theory, to give them the best chance of success in the real world. We use our long-standing links with industry to ensure every student on our Management MSc is offered the chance to undertake an industry internship as part of the course, thereby allowing them to put their skills into practice and gain the exposure they need to grow.

Jonas Geelhaar interned at semi-conductor firm Arm Holdings in Cambridge during his Management MSc at Cranfield and now works as a consultant with PwC in his native Germany. Tim Ballard is general manager at engineering services firm Finning – one of the companies that currently hosts Cranfield MSc students.

While Jonas’ internship experience didn’t translate into a full-time job right away, it offered him the chance to experience working in the UK and allowed him to broaden his business knowledge and experience ready for the diverse consulting role he really wanted at PwC.

Jonas said: “The internship underlined the relation between theory and practice throughout the program. You get three months to go out and put into practice what you’ve learned. This is linked with your thesis, so you have your client and you solve a problem and write about that.

“For me, as a foreigner, it was a great opportunity to combine my educational experience in the UK with work experience in the UK, and fantastic preparation to later start my career at a UK company.

“A consultant should have more knowledge on the big picture and how different parts of a business work together. During the Cranfield Management MSc, we were trained partly as entrepreneurs and partly as company leaders. It got me to the point that I’m able to move across different business areas—it changed my view on companies and on business.”

Several of Jonas’ Management MSc classmates went on to join the companies they interned with as employees, and it wasn’t just them that profited from this. Companies offering placements to Cranfield students benefit from having high-level, fresh talent with new ideas working for them for a three-month period and can use it as a testing ground.

Tim said: “We get real thought diversity through the internships. It’s great to see the students challenge the status quo, and bring fresh thinking and alternative perspectives. This does two things. First, it challenges our existing thought patterns and second, it helps qualify what we are doing. It also helps us develop our understanding of intersectionality across the different demographics in our team, find new approaches, and learn from the fresh and imaginative approach they tend to bring.”

Tim’s company hosts Cranfield students every year, and he cites the quality of candidates and the opportunity for the company to learn something new as two of the major reasons for continuing to do so.

He said: “The initial impact was refreshingly different in approach, culture, working style, and fashion sense! The Management MSc from Cranfield offers a positive mutual experience with an opportunity to test the waters, whilst injecting very capable talent into our teams. At the end of the internship, we were pleased to offer one of the interns a full-time position at Finning. They were able to contribute significantly during the internship and threw themselves into the work and company; their passion was evident.”

Article originally published by Business Because.