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Wyoming Business Tips for Sept. 20-Sept. 26

September 14, 2009

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center, part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Michael Lambert, Wyoming Market Research Center manager

"A colleague told me I should look into hiring an intern. Why should I, won't he or she just take up my time and effort?" Bill, Lusk

The Wyoming Market Research Center (WMRC) began operations in 2003 and we hired our first intern the next summer.

Our office has had interns every year since and I have always been delighted with the enthusiasm, dedication and work ethic that these fine students have brought to our organization. I have an advantage in finding interns because our offices are located on the UW campus, but almost any business can find interns that will help move the business forward.

The first step in hiring an intern is to think carefully about what you want and need the student to do. One thing I would advise is to ensure that the intern is not simply shuffled off to do filing and copying. Look for interesting projects that the student can "own" and which are desirable from the company's standpoint. I have used interns to do statistical analysis of customer feedback to create interactive data CDs and to do research projects for clients.

The key to a successful intern program is to come up with a varied and interesting set of tasks that keeps them engaged and furthers real-world education.

Given my location in Laramie, I have tended to hire interns from the College of Business. However, depending on the company, you could find interns in any of the other UW colleges or from an area community college. If you are interested in a business student, write to the UW College of Business Internships Office, Dept. 3275, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, 82071 or contact Joan Downham, UW College of Business internships, at (307) 766-2363 or e-mail

The WMRC has had interns from overseas and from Wyoming. Every one of them has brought something unique and has helped make our organization better. Hiring an intern can be an inexpensive, interesting and invigorating way to bring new blood to your organization and to finish a project that always seems to be pushed aside by day-to-day life. Try it.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.


Posted on Monday, September 14, 2009

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