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Career Field Externship

Community partners have the opportunity to host and mentor a McMaster student or alumni in an interactive and unpaid capacity at their organization during the February Reading Break (February 16 – 19) for 3 days.

Participating hosts can partner with colleagues to provide a valuable and broad based learning and development opportunity. Here’s an example of how you can structure a 3-day externship program.

  DAY 1 DAY 2 DAY 3
9 a.m. Introductions & Goal Setting – introduce yourself and your team to the student. Set goals focused on the outcome of the experience. Job Shadow - Allow the student to sit with you or a colleague to observe handling of your day-to-day business, including attending meetings and/or listening in on conference calls. Job Shadow – have the student shadow you or another colleague.
10 a.m.

Office / Facility Tour– give the student a tour of your office or facility.

11 a.m. Organization Information & Policies – have the student read all about your organization’s mission, values and goals.
12 p.m. Lunch – have lunch with the student and allow provide the opportunity to meet other members of your team. Lunch/free time Lunch/free time
1 p.m. Department Meeting – take the student to various departments to learn more about your organization or shadow a business meeting. Resume/CV/ LinkedIN review - plan a meeting with Recruitment or HR Department/Organization Challenge - allow the student to put the finishing touches on their challenge.
2 p.m. *Department/Organization Challenge - Allow the student to have time to work through their challenge.
3 p.m. Department/Organization Challenge – pitch a challenge to the student and allow time to work on it. Department/Organization Callenge Presentation - have the student deliver a presentation to you and any others that have a vested interest. 
4 p.m. Debrief/Q&A - debrief with the student on the experience. Reflect on goals and allow time for the student to ask you any final questions. 


Department/Organization Challenge

Before the student arrives, spend a little time considering some of your department or organization’s day to day challenges. Is there an existing problem, issue, or opportunity for which you haven’t yet found a viable solution? Pitch your problem/challenge to the student.
By going through this exercise your organization stands to obtain a fresh, unbiased look at a significant business issue. The student may also have ideas on the latest tools, techniques and theories applicable to your organization’s situation that you may not have considered.
The student should be encouraged to work on the problem over the course of their field work experience. Consider having the student give a brief presentation (at the end of their field placement). Examples could include:

  • How can we better target consumers?
  • How can we create an exceptional customer service experience for our customers/clients?
  • How can we improve a particular process by streamlining or automating it?
  • How can we better manage our late-paying clients more effectively?

This exercise will allow you to evaluate the student’s strategic abilities first-hand to determine whether they would eventually add value to your organization as a future employee. This also reinforces the “McMaster model”, a student-centred, problem-based, interdisciplinary approach to learning.

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