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Practitioners’ Perceptions of Student-Intern Skills Necessary to be Prepared for an Internship Experience in Major Professional Sport Organizations

Soonhwan Lee and Joonyoung Han

The purpose of this study was to examine the required skills and educational background of internship students from the on-site supervisors’ point of view. A questionnaire examined the role of the internship, the skills student interns should possess and several other issues related to the intern’s experiences including the minimum number of hours for student interns’ best experiences, preferred academic backgrounds of student interns, the responsibilities of faculty internship advisors, stipend or salary, important skills student interns should possess, number of student interns organizations accept, practitioners’ thoughts on requiring internships in sport management, chances for student interns to be hired afterwards, and internship evaluation. According to 36 on-site internship supervisors’ responses to the questionnaire, 50% of the major North American professional sport leagues were paying student interns equivalent to only minimum wage or a slightly higher rate compared to the national average a paid intern was receiving ($15.00-$16.00 per hour). Other findings were the number of student interns accepted and the number of hours those interns were expected to work. However, no specific courses were required of students in order to be considered for internships. Overall, grade point average (GPA) was not found to be a main factor on-site internship supervisors used to select appropriate student interns. While it is generally assumed that a cooperative relationship among the student, the onsite internship supervisor and the academic faculty supervisor is vital, on-site internship supervisors were not as cooperative as the literature suggests. It was also determined that student interns were not consistently evaluated to any great extent and therefore a universal manual should be developed for assessment purposes. The findings of this study also documented that on-site internship supervisors and academic faculty supervisors held different expectations and perceptions in terms of fulfilling the requirements for a degree.