Significant gains through CBE Internships


4 minute read

ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) student Vanessa O’Brien is the recipient of the undergraduate CBE Outstanding Intern of the Year award for Semester 2 2021, in recognition of the dedication she displayed during her internship.

The CBE Outstanding Intern of the Year award recognises the hard work and initiative students put into their internships. Up to four students are presented with the title and a A$500 prize every year.

“I’m proud to have my hard work recognised through this award,” says Vanessa, who is completing a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours).

The CBE Careers and Student Employability team provide a wide variety of placements through CBE internships, but students can also source and select an internship of their choosing.

“The student-sourced internships are single-choice selections secured by students from unlimited projects that align with their studies,” says CBE’s Student Employability Coordinator Jing Wang.

Vanessa chose to intern with Significant Early Venture Capital, a Canberra-based firm with a collaborative investment approach to early-stage venture capital, focused on research and innovation.

“I am grateful to the whole team at Significant Early Venture Capital for the support and the opportunities to learn that they provided,” she reflects.

In this interview, Vanessa shares how going the extra mile to gain a unique internship opened her mind to new possibilities.

Q. How did you find this internship?

I found Significant Early Venture Capital through a previous listing on CBE Internship opportunities when they were looking for an intern to assist the Chief Financial Officer. This position had already been filled but I was very interested in the work they were doing, and how unique the opportunity was to work with a venture capital fund. I reached out directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), outlining my skills and how much I’d like to be involved, and I was very fortunate they had a role that was suitable for me.

Q. In what ways do you feel your professional outlook has changed?

This experience has really grown my understanding of the diversity of possible career prospects suited to a technical background, particularly in the start-up and early investment space. It has encouraged me to focus my career on using technical skills in a way that positively benefits society.

Q. What was the most important lesson you learned through your internship?

The most important lesson I learned was how essential it is to have diverse sets of opinions and backgrounds in a team. This really stood out to me as I saw the value every member brought to the fund during the assessment of investment opportunities, from both universities as well as established start-ups.

Q. How do you plan to leverage your internship experience for your career?

The experience I have gained from working with Significant Early Venture Capital will be beneficial to me through all stages of my career as it was my first opportunity to apply both my commerce and engineering degrees to the analysis and research of early-stage investment opportunities. Due to the small size of the fund, I was also able to work closely with venture partners and the CEO. It was an incredible opportunity to learn from people with such a board range of experience.

Jing explains there are certain benefits to pursuing a student-sourced internship, not least because of its correlations to submitting real-world applications.

“Students take a complete lead in the application process. This process mimics real-world job-seeking steps and empowers students to stand out in their future job applications,” she says.

Despite the relatively independent process of student-sourced internships, Jing reaffirms the CBE Careers and Employability team are always available to help.

“We assist student-sourced applicants in numerous ways, from identifying a suitable internship project, to submitting a quality online application and preparing host interviews,” says Jing.

“The extra support provided to student-sourced internship applicants includes internship search and networking strategies.”

Applications for student-sourced internships in Semester 1, 2023 close Friday 3 February 2023. Click here to find out more about the application process.

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