Interning: Boosting personal and professional confidence

Our guest blogger, Brigitte Theuma, brings us the last instalment narrating the journey of her internship at Ford Motor Company Australia, and shares what the experience has taught her as she contemplates life after uni.

My project at Ford Motor Company Australia Limited has been nothing but amazing! It is as though every time I think I’ve really grasped my knowledge about electric cars, I realise I have so much more to learn. As a part of my project, I have worked on a lot of internal data analysis, which in simple terms means online research and reading long reports. At the start I wasn’t exactly excited about reading over 100 page reports, but I have definitely learned so much from them, particularly how the automotive industry is really trying to work on having zero emissions one day. During my placement, my supervisor has always been there to guide me whether it be in person or via email. My supervisor has been so positive and really given me an amazing insight into what the marketing industry is like. Marketing really is just a broad term for an industry with so many doors and opportunities.

Working in the professional industry has definitely taken some adjusting. I think the biggest shock would be the amount of sitting you do each day at a desk. But in saying that, I feel I have adapted a lot quicker than I thought, especially with the idea of working in an office where people are talking and working in teams for the majority of the day. The main new skills I have learnt are presenting an Excel spread sheet in a way that the rest of the team can easily understand. I didn’t realise how much Excel could be used and even more so how often it is used in the organisation. Excel is used widely in the workplace from making a presentation to being a regular fixture on everyone’s desktops.

Preparing myself to work in such a well-known organisation is definitely stressful. From the start, I felt and continue to feel that I just want to make the best impression possible. Therefore, if I were to prepare myself for this opportunity again I would definitely do more research on the basics of the automotive industry. From this internship, I feel I have learnt much more than just real-world experience. In my future career, I will definitely be taking forward many of the aspects that I have learned from this experience, including having the self-assurance to talk to fellow employees in a professional way, knowing how having a good work ethic can really make you stand out from the rest and really having the confidence to be yourself, and putting your own ideas on the table. You never know where having the confidence to do these things could lead you.

My advice to others considering completing an internship is to give it a go. There is no better way to see if you’re going to like your course outside of university than to have real world experience. Plus, the bonus of this is you’ll be receiving credit points towards your course. This internship has also provided me with a lot of personal growth, not only my marketing knowledge but also confidence within myself to apply this. When applying for jobs after university, having industry experience will definitely help set me apart from anyone else. Although the initial days of starting the internship were nerve-racking, there is nothing better than getting positive feedback from your supervisor about how well you’re doing. It is also amazing to see how much of the subjects we complete at university are relevant to the workplace and industry. All in all, if you’re given the opportunity to complete an internship, give it a shot. You have nothing to lose and will only increase your professional networks.

You can also investigate internship opportunities as part of your degree by contacting the ASSC College Work Integrated Learning team.