Updated: Apr 30, 2021
We had the distinct pleasure of participating in a Business Consulting Case Competition at the University of Toronto Mississauga a few years back, where we observed some of the best and brightest. There were students from universities across southern Ontario. The students were given an Ivey case study and had to deliver a pitch on the business problem. The business problem was whether that particular business should move into the Chinese market. The students only had 2 hours to read the case, research online, put together a professional presentation and be prepared to deliver it. Impressed does not begin to state what we thought in seeing how well the students performed under pressure.
My business partner and I have been teaching over the last three years at several colleges in business or entrepreneur programs. Many were classes are post-graduate for college or university grads. We have found working with these students rewarding and find they are taking many of the courses that would benefit small businesses. We also tell them that looking at a small business for their first job out of school would benefit them versus a large company. Small businesses allow employees to learn more about the overall business and provide a more significant contribution.
Internships to Graduate
At the competition, between providing coaching and judging, we met many of the students. We talked with them about their plans when they graduate. Many of the students required internships in businesses. The students are left to find their internships, making it difficult for them to know where to look. Many want internships with smaller businesses as they have heard they would have the ability to gain more "hands-on" experience in several areas of the business.
In contrast, large businesses usually have defined postings for interns. Though small businesses are their desire, they find many small businesses are not interested in hiring students. They feel that students do not understand their business, and there is a cost. In many cases, the student cannot accept payment where the internship is required to graduate, so business owners misunderstand this in many cases.
Summer Internships for Experience
For students looking to gain experience while in school part-time or full-time in the summer in a business for pay, it is still worthwhile for small business owners to investigate hiring students in their business. At times, government programs in many of the provinces exist where if you employ people under 29, you could receive money for up to 50% of the salary you would pay them. There are programs at both the municipality and provincial levels. The programs change from time to time depending on what Party is in office, so make sure to check regularly to take advantage of programs that are available concerning hiring.
Misconception About Hiring Gen Z by Business Owners
There is a misconception by many small business owners today that "young people" cannot really help them in their business. Though the students may not have "hands-on" experience in a business, their education has prepared them with the knowledge to provide value in many cases. This is especially true of many business majors where they know best p