It’s internship season at the moment. In most organizations, regulars would have been puzzled to see some young additions hanging around in the office. Most times, they appear to have little or no work to do. It is unclear where they fit in into a team, or if at all they belong there.

Internships are considered an essential part of the curriculum in most professional academic programmes. Whether it is engineering or management, colleges insist that students put in some time in an actual workplace – usually during the holidays.

Most organizations appear to agree. Which is why they offer internship opportunities to students. However, agreeing with the theory and implementing it in practice are two different things entirely. Most interns find the internship experience frustrating. They are not clearly allocated tasks, they are often left to fend for themselves without a mentor. And most crucially, the co-workers who are expected to guide and teach them find interns more of a hindrance.

Which brings us to our question for the week: Are internships of any use? Do people in organizations – as distinct from the organisation itself – view interns as valuable additional resources or just impediments to their work?

Send in your views, in not more than 200 words, along with your name and city, to thenewmanager@thehindu.co.in. The best replies will be published.

(This article was published on June 22, 2012)
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