Internship success in the virtual world


3 minute read

In 2021, The Australian National University (ANU) College of Business and Economics (CBE) launched the CBE Virtual Internship Experience (VIE), a three-week virtual internship placement to provide students with real-world experience.

Students work in small groups with an assigned organisation, and under the supervision of a professional mentor, to provide solutions to authentic business problems. Projects are designed to enhance skill development and employability, while also supporting a range of organisational goals.

“The online delivery of VIE is incredibly important moving into the new world of hybrid work after COVID-19. Students and workers need to be able to function and meet deliverables in a classic in-person work environment as well as virtual setting,” says CBE Careers Consultant Caitlin Wood.

CBE students Crystal Lavien, who is completing a Master of Marketing Management, and Devayani Mujumdar, who is studying a Bachelor of Business Administration and International Relations, were among the inaugural VIE cohort. Crystal interned with HI-COM Asia, a multilingual communication agency, while Devayani was hosted by the Otis Foundation, an NGO providing retreat accommodation to breast cancer patients and their families.

In the interviews below, Crystal and Devayani reflect on their experiences and explain why they recommend participating in this initiative.

Q. Why would you recommend this experience to other CBE students?

The best part of this experience is the network. Our team had a wonderful mentor – a successful ANU graduate – who helped us navigate our struggles and also celebrated our small wins. You get to mingle with students outside of your degree, but still from the same School, which was a good change of scenery for me. 

I will definitely recommend the experience to other CBE students. As it's all done online, it is very accessible to participate. It is also a good experience to understand what working with a real client solely online is like. Finally, working with a team and a mentor really helps because once we are working, many of us will work in a team setting under a supervisor and a client.

Q. What was the virtual internship experience like?

It was a good challenge and taught me how to be meticulous in reporting my progress and to always be prepared. It also gave me an insight into scheduling meetings, including how tricky it can be when working with busy clients and coordinating multiple schedules. 

I learned a lot about marketing, including the challenges real companies face in social media marketing. Working as part of a team taught me to be a better leader and working with a real client has improved my professionalism. The feedback activity enabled me monitor my progress, and my mentor gave useful advice that helped me create a presentation and report for the project.

Q. Did your virtual internship experience give you new insights into your studies or professional plans?

The experience helped me understand the different facets of business management because we all had specific roles to play, particularly during the research part of the project. It also taught me the different characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of those I worked with, and how to create and maintain a good group dynamic when working with individuals I had never met in person before. 

The virtual internship definitely reinforced my interest in marketing, and encouraged me to do more marketing courses at CBE, which is what I am doing now. The experience also made me think about my likes and dislikes, which is helpful for deciding my future career path.

The 2022 CBE Virtual Internship Experience will run from Tuesday 22 November to Friday 16 December. Applications close Sunday 16 October. Click here to find out more and apply.

The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs. Click here for more details.