At Export Connect, our interns are a vital part of our mission. We aim to develop our business students into the next generation of export leaders by providing essential hands-on experience at an early stage of their careers. Here’s how one of our interns Edward Ongay from UNSW has enjoyed his time as part of the Export Connect family.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m from Argentina originally, and moved to Australia in 2012 to finish high school. I’m taking a joint degree in commerce and arts at UNSW. My majors are in International Business, Business economics and Mandarin, and my minor is in Asian Studies.
What projects did you work on with Export Connect?
I was working on two projects:
- Developing a market-specific presentation on the Hong Kong and Singapore organic food markets for Australian exporters.
- Developing an overview of the global halal food market, along with a market profile and case study as part of a joint project with PwC.
What tasks did you get involved in during the internship?
One of my major roles was researching and developing the presentation slides for both projects. That involved delving into the subjects in real detail – in the organic food project I was working with over 100 slides, while in the halal presentation I covered market value, size, growth rate and so on.
Did you get to do any client-facing work?
Yes, in the organic food project I attended the presentation and met with the clients. It was really rewarding feeling like a key contributor to the project, and getting an insight into the clients’ perspectives was incredibly valuable.
What parts of the internship did you find challenging?
Creating and sourcing some of the images in the presentation challenged me – it was a real crash course in improving my skills with powerpoint and photoshop.
In the halal project I was also responsible for writing the market report bog. Taking that research and putting into my own words in a way that worked for publication was a new experience.
What did you enjoy most about the internship?
Meeting the clients during the organic food project was really great. Unfortunately, my university commitments meant I couldn’t make the halal market workshop, but those experiences are really valuable.
I learnt an enormous amount about the markets involved. For example, Singapore and Hong Kong superficially look like quite small markets, but in fact they import a huge amount of organic produce.
In the halal project, I learnt a lot about cultural awareness, and the extent of these markets worldwide, as well as the opportunities for Australian export.
What professional skills have you gained during the internship?
I definitely got to improve my communication skills. In the organic food project I was constantly in communication with the Founder, Project Manager and Business and Communications Manager, and also needed to talk to clients at the presentation, making sure I was able to answer their questions.
Throughout both projects I improved my skills in preparing reports and presentations, using the Microsoft Office Suite and business specific research tools.
What about your personal development? Did the internship help with that?
I gained loads of insights into the different markets and learnt a lot about the cultures in which they operate, for example I learnt a lot about the Islamic faith and why halal food is an important component of it.
Working with Export Connect was a great insight into the consultancy industry. I learnt about the breadth of knowledge consultants need across diverse industries and markets to successfully support their clients and move between projects.
If you could go back in time, what would you do differently in the internship – or what would you recommend future interns do?
It’s important to be knowledgeable about the clients in order to tailor reports and presentations, so a really thorough reading of their website and materials is a good idea.
Also asking for more advice about developing an excel model or creating tailored images. Taking every opportunity to talk to people with expertise is important.