Hands-on Opportunities for Business Careers

Hands-on experience is critical for exploring your interests and enhancing skills. Here is information about opportunities to increase hands-on experience through campus and community organizations.

Hands-on Opportunities with On-campus Groups

Many students develop valuable experience through extracurricular activities including sororities/faternities, clubs, and religious groups. Students are often managing entire organizations, developing skills in time management, task allocation, working in teams, coordinating schedules, planning events, and budgeting. Regardless of the topic of the extracurricular activity, these experiences are highly relevant and valuable. When you are choosing your extracurricular activities, be sure you are selecting roles that help you develop and demonstrate these marketable skills.

There are a tremendous number of student organizations and groups that you can join at Penn State. You can also start your own organization. See the student organization list on the HDFS Student Involvement page.

Don't forget about the HDFS USO. Positions like president, secretary, and treasurer in the HDFS USO provide the opportunity to develop business skills.

Ideas for places to get involved in business-related activities:

  • SHRM is Penn State’s Society for Human Resources Management creates an environment for professional development and career growth issues in the human resource management field.
  • Lion Line is Penn State’s telefund organization. As an essential part of the University's advancement efforts, Lion Line callers add their own personality and style to Penn State's broad outreach to alumni and friends.
  • THON is full of opportunities to develop marketable skills. Work on the Communications Committee, Donor & Alumni Committee, Finance Committee, or the Public Relations Committee to build marketable skills and experience.
  • Use Career Services: They have many resources for conducting informational interviews and setting up job shadowing and internships in business settings.

Browse websites and speak with departments with supporting business courses. They will all have ideas for how to get involved in hands-on opportunities.

Hands-on Opportunities in the Community

HDFS students volunteer, intern, and work at a range of local organizations during the academic year to develop counseling and social work skills.

It will be very important to gain some experience working in a business. Students interested in human resources, public relations, and business internships are encouraged to use Career Services, Lion Link, and other resources to identify possible internship and part-time job opportunities.

Hands-on Opportunities For-Credit

Hands-on experience helps you explore your interests and develop marketable skills. These are just some of the opportunities for hands-on experiences through course work. Keep your eyes open for other hands-on opportunities – sometimes new courses are added that may be suitable for your needs.

In addition to supporting courses and general education requirements, two other opportunities exist in the college:

The Women's Leadership Initiative provides opportunities for leaders to develop the core values, attitudes, and competencies that are the foundation of quality. This program is run by the College of Health and Human Development. Applications are due during the spring of the sophomore year.

The Global Leadership Initiative provides opportunities to develop leadership related to global health, human development, and sustainability. It includes an international travel component. Applications are due during the spring of the sophomore year.

Relevant research projects

For some careers in business, experience coordinating and managing projects can be helpful. Working on a research project where your tasks involve recruiting and scheduling research participants, administering surveys and entering data, managing data, and conducting other tasks that keep the project moving provides valuable experience. Substantively, there are sometimes projects that focus on work and family, workplace interventions, or management that may be relevant.

Penn State is a world-class research institution. Some of the studies that you learn about in your classes are being done right here, and you can be part of them. Working on a research project is also a great way to get to know a professor and get a strong reference.

Available research projects change all the time. Learn more about how to get involved in research.

Students enroll for 1 – 3 credits of HDFS 496 after they have been accepted as an RA for a specific research project.