State College, PA 16801 September 7, 2000

 

Dear Lorena,

 

I am requesting your approval to proceed with research on improving the quality of the internship experience provided by Inroads/NYC Inc. and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife). The final report will be sent to Miguel Acevedo, staff specialist at Inroads/NYC and Bryn Johnson, Human Resources strategist at MetLife. The following is a brief description of the problem that exists, my planned research, and my qualifications.

 

Background

 

 The mission of Inroads is to develop and place talented minority youth in business and industry and prepare them for corporate and community leadership. Inroads is a 30-year-old, not-for-profit organization that recruits outstanding minority youth (high school seniors, college freshmen and sophomores) with 3.0 or better grade point averages. Inroads college internships combine two-to-five summers of work experience at a local client organization with year-round academic instruction, training and guidance from Inroads counselors. Sponsor organizations make a three-part commitment to provide career-related summer work experience for interns; staff involvement as mentors, supervisors and liaison with Inroads; and financial support. The client pays an annual sponsorship fee to Inroads and the intern's summer salary. The Inroads goal is achieved when a client organization hires the Inroads alumnus (immediately upon graduation from college) who interned at that company. Inroads is tough, requiring a long-term commitment from both corporations and interns. College interns must complete their job assignments to the client's satisfaction; they must remain in good academic standing, participate in Inroads training and counseling, and set goals for their career, education, social development and community service. Unsatisfactory performance in any area leads to dismissal.

 

Problem

 

MetLife has been a corporate sponsor for 12 years. For 11years, the Business Coordinator for Inroads within MetLife was Deloris Cook. This past April, MetLife became a public company. This brought along many changes within the company. Many departments were reorganized. One of those departments was Human Resources. In April, Kathryn Yustack replaced Deloris Cook as the Business Coordinator for Inroads within MetLife. Three months later Kathryn left the company and the responsibility of running the hiroads/NYC MetLife internship program were passed on to Bryn Johnson and Barbara Rezza. In June, five weeks into their internship, the interns had to readapt (for the second time in a year) and were left with unanswered questions and uncertain of their futures at MetLife. This left many interns unhappy. Supervisors were not properly conducting their duties and miscommunication led to misunderstanding, which led to unproductive and less- than rewarding internship experiences.

 

The measure of success for Inroads is the conversion rate, the percentage of interns who become full time employees in their sponsoring company upon graduation. If a company is not challenging and rewarding experiences to their interns, they are more likely to have low conversion rates. Low conversion rates are often viewed as low sponsor commitment and unprofitable partnerships. Inroads/NYC has the right to terminate a partnership with a sponsoring company if they feel that the company is not dedicated and/ or is neglecting the interns. In the past 10 years, MetLife has only had two Inroads/NYC interns convert to full time employees. If the Inroads/NYC Metlife partnership were terminated, MetLife will lose many talented interns. As a not-for-profit organization Inroads/NYC would lose much needed financial support if MetLife were to deem the program unprofitable.

 

Research

I plan on distributing a questionnaire to current Inroads intems in order for me to accurately identify what makes for a successful or unsuccessful internship. My goal is to have at least 100 interns complete the questionnaire. To ensure that I have adequate information, I plan on interviewing many people who are responsible for the success of the Inroads program within MetLife. The following is a list of my planned interviewees:

 Inroads

  Thomas Powell - Managing Director 

Shillingford Smith - Staff Specialist, Advisor 

Miguel Acevedo - Staff Specialist, Advisor 

MetLife 

Bryn Johnson - HR Strategist 

Elena Woo Casey - Director of Field Communications, My supervisor this past summer  Marie Etienne - National Accounts Director, My mentor 

Current Inroads/NYC - MetLife Interns 

Carmen Aquino

Kyleema Norman  

Darryl Person 

Sheldon Petgrave 

Past Inroads/NYC - MetLife Interns

Greg Ogunsanya

Karnina Young

 

Schedule

 

The following is a tentative schedule depicting the proposed research timeline. It depicts the research plans and the expected completion times.

   Week 1-3 Week 4-6 Week 7-9 Week 10-12 Week 13-14
Interviews          
Develop Questionnaire          
Distribute Questionnaire          
Progress Report          
Analyze Data          
Feasibility Report          

 

  Qualifications

 

I have been a member of Inroads/NYC since April 1998. MetLife has been my sponsoring company for the past three summers. I have spent those summers rotating through three different sub-units of the Institutional Marketing Department. My experience with both organizations has provided me with the ability and the access to conduct proposed research. The Inroads/NYC-MetLife partnership program has prepared me for the many challenges that I may face in corporate America. While my experience with both organizations was positive, it could have been better. It is my wish to help provide future Inroads/NYC and MetLife interns with not only a positive but a rewarding and challenging experience

Conclusion

 

As mentioned earlier, both Inroads and MetLife are great organizations. Together they have the potential to be greater. Unfortunately, recent organizational changes have neglected to include the most important factor in their relationship, the interns- It is my goal of action to improve the quality of internships provided by Inroads/NYC and I ask for your approval, which will allow me to proceed with the proposed research plans.

 

                                                                                                Sincerely,

                       

                                                                                                Johanne