With the popularization of higher education, China launched the professional-degree postgraduate education at the end of the 20th century. In recent years, in order to optimize the education structure of postgraduate students and cultivate compound talents with solid theoretical basis and practical ability, China has expanded the enrollment of professional masters largely. On the background of oversupply of graduates, more and more professional-degree postgraduates need to prove their working ability through internships beyond their degree. What role does internship play in the cultivation of professional masters? How helpful are internships to work? Under the premise that internship has become an important way to obtain career, how should professional master balance the relationship between course study and internship? The purpose of this study is to explore these issues, not only to provide advice for graduate education in China, but also to provide reference for other countries in the world facing the situation of oversupply of graduates.
Taking Faculty of Economics of Peking University as an example, this study adopts a qualitative method and analyzes the interview data of 5 students and 1 teacher of school of economics, to find the significance of internship in the cultivation of professional masters. Our research shows that education certificates, obtained through specialized examinations, represent students’ existing knowledge and skills, but in the eyes of students, internships can better link what they have learned in class with their own work experience, and the limitations of book-learning can be compensated by internships.
Generally speaking, the influence of internship includes four aspects: (1) Students integrate into the working environment, understand the work and career prospects. (2) Develop interpersonal and social skills and create valuable connections and networks. (3) Increase the contact with the industry, help oneself more clearly control the industry demand. (4) Job-based internship can bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practice, exercise the employability, and help students play an important role in making a good career choice. With the financial industry saturated with talent, internships may play a bigger role in employee selection than their educational background. However, the study found that many students value internships so much that they are willing to give up attendance in some courses. This makes them more likely to rely on future salaries and benefits while paying for the expensive tuition. Undoubtedly, there are more investigations and findings to make the study more complete and the results more reliable.
Mengyuan Chen is a graduate student of Peking University.
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