Stepping stones to success: Interns

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Mukesh Kumar Bhaskaran Image Credit: Supplied

Mukesh Kumar Bhaskaran

24, Indian, Master of Engineering Management, University of Wollongong in Dubai.

Supply Chain & Logistics Intern, with Transmed Overseas Incorporated S. A.

“Preparing for my first internship wasn’t easy because I didn’t have any real-world experience. I was lucky enough to get support from fellow interns,” says Bhaskaran.

His internship, he says, has helped him gain deeper insights into the FMCG industry. “I have developed a better understanding of the career path of a Supply Chain Manager, helping me make an informed career decision,” he says.

One of the most challenging aspects of his internship was the minimal input and lack of regular analysis. “Then I began to self-assess myself, which prompted me to evaluate and develop my skills on a regular basis,” he says.

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Altaira Jelita Image Credit: Supplied

Altaira Jelita

22, Indonesian

Studying Mechanical Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Interned at Siemens

Should an intern go prepared or learn on the job? “A little bit of both,” says Jelita. “The idea of an internship includes interactive learning. However, a certain level of competency, relating to your duties, should be achieved before you begin working.”

The most challenging aspect of being an intern is not knowing what to expect, she says. “As for the transformation, university learning provides you with a template to which you can add the internship experiences.”

How did she prepare for her internship?

“I received a lot of guidance from my parents, as well as support from my university, which helped me to tackle the challenges in the workplace. I have also adapted myself while at work, and we are very much encouraged to do so. “

What career path is she contemplating? “I’ve been exposed to the aviation industry thanks to my father. He’s been a pilot for more than 30 years. Ergo, I’ve always felt comfortable with it [and]

I would definitely like to branch into the aviation industry,” she says.

Interns who became employees

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Harshana Badlani Image Credit: Supplied

Harshana Badlani

27, Indian, Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing), from Wollongong University in Dubai.

Interned with Mastercard Dubai.

Works with Mastercard New York as Communications Specialist, North America, Mastercard.

Soon after her Marketing internship with Mastercard Dubai concluded, Badlani was offered a role within the team as a contractor. Her degree at the university and the various projects she undertook during the duration of the study helped her gain an understanding of the real business world, she says.

“In addition, the annual career fair and the period leading to it was always a good learning opportunity,” she says.

She worked at three different companies during university. A uniform company, a local bank and at Mastercard. “Each internship made me learn so much about myself and what I wanted and did not want to do in the future.”

The challenges included adapting to different work cultures and balancing university and internship workloads.

5 best practices

for interns:

Take up new opportunities and roles that pique your interest. It is helpful in finally deciding on your career path.

Work hard; work sincerely.

Ask a lot of questions.

Network, network, network.

People first; everything else after (this is something my mentor told me, and that I live by). Work can get crazy and things get out of control. Be kind and care for those you work with, at the end of the day it is what truly matters.

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Youssef Sami Semaan Image Credit: Supplied

Youssef Sami Semaan

Lebanese, 22, Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing with a Minor in Psychology from RIT.

Works with Lift Mart Elevators and Escalators LLC, Dubai

He worked for Lift Mart for around eight weeks at first. “It was during my CO-OP programme. I started as a marketing intern, but towards the end of my internship, I took on many more responsibilities. To grow and stand out in an organisation, it’s of utmost importance to be open to the idea of handling tasks from different departments,” he says. This attitude also helps you understand the organisation’s systems, he believes. “It was tough in the beginning, but, I adapted and made sure that information flow would never be held back from my position.”

His university years, he says, taught him many valuable lessons, “But the one that stuck with me was that no matter how much you think you know about a topic, that can all change overnight. With today’s technology and accessibility of information on the internet, new and improved studies are being published at such a fast pace that you can learn something new nearly every day. I’d say my university cemented the idea of ‘research’ in my mind.”

His idea of a career, thankfully, is in alignment with what he had imagined at university. “I had wonderful professors who put in a lot of time to equip me with the necessary tools to use in a business environment — whether it be writing up a good report or discussing a new strategy with my superior.”

5 best practices: 

Give every task you have 200 per cent.

Think before you speak, do not jump to conclusions.

Don’t assume, do the research and ask.

Always surround yourself with people who are well-educated and can teach you a thing or two. Expose yourself to as many different fields of work as you can to broaden your knowledge.