At Export Connect, we’re proud of our internship program! Since founding, we’ve mentored over 60 domestic and international interns from universities across NSW who seek real-world experience as part of their course curriculum, developing hands-on business skills, industry knowledge and networking opportunities that will set them up for career success. We are, of course, most fond of the interns that have joined our team. In fact, 50% of full-time staff at Export Connect started off their journey with us as interns!
With that said, let’s hear what one of our past interns had to say about her experience working with the team! Rachel joined us at the end of 2021 as part of her Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Biotechnology degrees, where she majored in International Business and Environmental Technology. In her time with us, Rachel worked on various projects, from conducting market research to producing reports and pitch decks for clients. Read on to learn about the highlights and challenges that defined her experience with us!
What were some memorable experiences?
The most memorable experience for me was how kind everyone was with their time in providing feedback and showing me how to improve presentations or reports. Despite everyone being so busy, they were happy to take the time to have a meeting and discuss where I could improve, and then follow up later with similar projects so that I could apply that feedback.
I think also having completed this internship online and during lockdowns, discussions in morning, lunch and afternoon catch-ups were really memorable as there were a lot of shared experiences, I think. From discussing vaccine experiences to earthquakes and haircuts, I always felt included in conversations and it was a highlight in an otherwise very long lockdown!
What did you enjoy about the project?
I really enjoyed how varied it was, and how many different kinds of information can be gathered and collated to show so many different aspects of a market. I learnt so much about countries and products I’d never thought of before, and how the preparation for the export process works. I also found looking at the free trade agreement guides and how they are developed and applied to Australian exports and imports really interesting, as they pushed me to learn not only the regulatory processes, but to figure out how this could be simplified and presented in an easier format for exporters.
What have you gained (personally and professionally)? And how did you benefit in these ways?
I think from this internship I’ve gained so many professional skills in report presentation and communication of market information through visual and written formats for a non-specialist audience. I used the skills I’ve developed through advice and feedback to improve how I create my presentations and reports for university assessments and have subsequently performed better.
Personally, I’ve also learnt much more about the types of information and presentation formats that I’m comfortable with, as well as what I might not be as comfortable with, but can do. Being given so many different report types and the freedom to alter these reports and presentations to fit the information has really improved my confidence in my own adaptability and in working outside of my comfort zone.
What did you find challenging?
I definitely found creating pitch decks and presentations in Canva challenging; while I had worked in Canva before, I hadn’t really used all of Canva’s functions and so becoming accustomed to using Canva itself, as well as what sort of designs were actually possible, required an adjustment period. I also found it challenging choosing the information that should go into these decks and how to make them reflect the company, but also remain impactful and appealing to buyers.
What would you improve?
I really enjoyed how organised and how smooth the process was for interns, from induction through to the briefings on the projects and the feedback provided. Communication was always very clear as well as what was required, and so I cannot think of any improvements from a process side. I would perhaps improve the way that the market access part of the market reports is set out to be a little clearer and more standardised between reports, however this is minor and I am unsure how to actually achieve this.
What would you do differently next time?
Should I do this internship again, I would definitely ask some more questions and clarify things as I completed reports and presentations just to check that I was on the right track. While a lot of my questions I found I could solve with general common sense, I think checking in along the way to ensure I was completing the documents to the specifications desired would have been more efficient and helped guide the report a little more.
We wish Rachel the best of luck as she finishes her degree and moves into what will no doubt be a prosperous career!