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Supply Chain Management Major Internship Requirement Process

Beginning with students who entered the university in the fall 2021 semester, all Supply Chain Management (SCM) undergraduate majors in the Haslam College of Business are required to participate in an internship (or equivalent experience) to graduate. It is also highly recommended, but not required, that students who entered before fall 2021 complete this process.

Students must complete the following steps to fulfill this requirement:

  1. Complete the internship plan and liability waiver form (typically by end of sophomore year). This step should be completed as early as possible, and ideally before your internship experience; but it can be done any time before you finish SCM 309.
  2. Find and receive an offer to complete an internship. Recommendations and best practices on finding and preparing for success in internships are found below and on the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration website. Your Haslam career coaches, the director of SCM Career Management, and the SCM internship coordinator can also assist you in this process.
  3. Complete the SCM Internship Approval form for approval of your internship. 
    1. The form includes a request for documents such as the job description, your offer letter, and additional information on the work to be performed, the number of work hours anticipated and other details
    2. The SCM department will evaluate your approval form and send an email to inform you of its decision. Most true supply chain, operations or business management internships should pass this step, and additional types of approvable experience are listed in the What Counts as an Internship? section
    3. If you have questions about co-ops or have received an offer for a co-op, you will still follow this approval process for it to cover the internship requirement. However, please also review the Co-op section for additional required actions
  4. Complete internship. Keep documentation of completion of your internship (or at least of completing 150+ hours in an approved internship experience). Submitting this documentation will be an assignment in SCM 489, the required internship course. Examples include (but are not limited to) the following:
    1. Final performance evaluation
    2. Email from supervisor or recruiter confirming internship’s completion
    3. Slide deck for final internship project presentation (if allowed by organization)
  5. Complete SCM 489. This is a 0-credit hour course typically taken soon after the internship (e.g., if your internship is over summer break, you will typically register for SCM 489 in fall semester)
    1. Regardless of when you register for the course and whether you are registered for other courses concurrently, it will not incur a fee since it is worth 0 credits
    2. In Step 3’s internship approval form, you will indicate which semester you anticipate enrolling in SCM 489 if your internship is approved. Once given approval for the internship, the SCM Internship Coordinator will add you to a list of students to be enrolled in the course in the weeks leading up to your indicated semester
    3. SCM 489 is not meant to be an overly demanding course; it is intended to confirm your completion of a rigorous internship and help you gain more from the experience by reflecting on what you learned. It consists of the following:
      1. Providing basic data on your internship
      2. Submitting documentation to confirm that the internship was completed
      3. Writing a short reflection paper

What Counts as an Internship?

This requirement is relatively broad – our goal is for all SCM students to obtain robust and relevant experience to help prepare them for their careers, and there are many ways to accomplish that. Below are two lists – the first shows the specific criteria that each experience must meet; the second shows example experiences (not a comprehensive list) that could be used to fulfill the requirement if they meet those minimum criteria (but are not guaranteed to be approved).

Minimum Criteria:

  • 150+ hours spent in the role
  • Experience is meaningful and relevant to one or more portions of the end-to-end supply chain (Plan, Source, Make, Deliver) and/or general business operations and gives students knowledge about an area of supply chain, operations, or business management that could help inform their potential career paths
  • Intern has regular (at least biweekly) contact with a supervisor who provides ongoing training and evaluates intern performance

Possible Examples of Approvable Experience:

  • Full or part-time internship or co-op (totaling at least 150 hours)
  • Full or part-time supply chain management job (totaling at least 150 hours)
  • Several micro-internships (relevant short-term internships or projects totaling at least 150 hours together)
  • International internship

Numerous and diverse opportunities are available; however, students must seek out, apply for and obtain an internship or equivalent experience on their own. The college and the SCM department do not place students directly into internships. Students will be provided resources and tips (below) to assist them in independently seeking, securing and succeeding in internship experiences.

Co-Ops (Cooperative Education Experiences)

See the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration’s page for information on co-ops. After reviewing it, if you have questions or think your chosen experience may constitute a co-op, then view this form and complete the first two steps. The conversation with the SCM internship coordinator in the second bullet point is required, and will inform you of important details to help ensure your status with the university remains active during your co-op. You will still be required to enroll in SCM 489 following your co-op experience to fulfill the internship requirement for graduation.

International Students

There is additional information available for international students trying to understand what their immigration status will allow. Use this link if you are in legal F-1 status (the qualifying category this will typically be applicable to is “Degree Requirement”). You may need to get the internship approval process started two weeks earlier than domestic students to accommodate additional required authorization processes. Contact international@utk.edu for any additional questions related to immigration requirements for an internship experience.

Resources and Tips

You should apply the following resources and tips to assist in your internship search:

  1. Meet with a career coach (schedule through Handshake) to prepare your resume and other application materials, learn about internship search strategies and resources and identify areas of interest.
  2. The Handshake database will help you find jobs and allow employers to find you more easily based on your major, graduation date and interests.
  3. The professional social media platform LinkedIn will enable you to find internships and network with supply chain and other business professionals, including UTK alumni
  4. Use the internship preparation checklist and other resources on the Global Supply Chain Institute Student Resources page.
  5. Join the student chapters of CSCMPNeXxus, and/or SCAR and attend their meetings. These groups create opportunities for students to meet and learn from industry leaders and get hands-on learning in supply chain, operations and automation and robotics. CSCMP also has an online Career Center with job and internship opportunities available to members.
  6. Attend SCM Career Fairs. Find out about upcoming ones at the GSCI recruitment page
  7. Explore additional resources and insights on the UTK Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration webpage for supply chain management.
  8. For those interested in international internships, reach out to Haslam’s International Programs & Study Abroad Office at haslamabroad@utk.edu, or visit Programs Abroad.

Both the SCM internship coordinator and the Haslam career coaches can provide insight on internship search strategies and highlight openings coming available to help you find the right opportunity. Contact the internship coordinator at scminternship@utk.eduschedule time to ask questions related to the internship requirement or your internship search; or use Handshake to schedule an appointment with a career coach.

Exceptions

Completing an internship or similar experience is in the best interest of almost any supply chain student, as it drastically improves the chances of finding relevant full-time job opportunities after graduation. Therefore, exceptions to the internship requirement are rare and not granted based on personal preference.

That said, some student situations may merit an exception. Exceptions are meant for those situations in which it is not possible for the student to take on an internship opportunity, and therefore not reasonable for the SCM department to require it for graduation. This can be the case for students in a variety of circumstances, including (but not limited to and not always applicable to) ROTC participants, student athletes and single parents. If you believe your situation calls for an exception and that you have a valid reason to request one, complete the form linked in Step 1 at the top of this page – it will give you the opportunity to submit justification for a possible exception.

Approval of an exception request changes, but does not eliminate, the internship requirement for a student. If you are approved for an exception, you will still be required to enroll in SCM 489 before graduation. You will need to reach out to the SCM Internship Coordinator in order to be added. In that class, you will complete an alternative project to help make up for your lack of internship experience.

If you have additional questions, email the SCM internship coordinator at scminternship@utk.edu.