Written by Clare Isabel Ee | Images as credited
In today’s competitive job market, internships and work placements will enable new graduates to stand out amongst their peers.
At Yale-NUS, the Centre for International and Professional Experience (CIPE) Career Services team has been working hard to provide a range of opportunities for students to experience during their four years with the College. These opportunities fall mainly in three categories: the Student Associates Programme, summer research programmes, and internships. The programmes and internships are structured to enable students to gain the most knowledge and professional experience while maximising their contribution to the organisations they work with.
“These opportunities will allow students to build their self-awareness, identify their career beacons and help them seek meaningful and fulfilling life paths,” explained Linus Mok, Programme Manager with Career Services. “Many of our interns come back with new perspectives, renewed confidence, and a much better understanding of the industry after their summer stints.”
Most internships are 8-10 week full-time positions during the long mid-year break, so that students get an immersive experience in the company they are attached to. Chua Wan Ping, Liam Rahman and Mariel Chee (Class of 2017) are three sophomores who have taken up internships with three very different local companies in 2014.
For Wan Ping, her eight-week long experience was with the newly formed corporate social responsibility department of Potato Productions, a media and technology company. She wanted to experience how start-ups work in real life, having had a small taste of it during a start-up competition she took part in.
“I remember going for the interview [at Potato Productions] and being surprised when there was a ‘no shoe policy’ in the office. The boss conducted the interview in a T-shirt and jeans and we spent a good hour discussing why doing good in businesses matter,” she shared. “I knew then that this was where I wanted to work.”
Her boss, she said, was very invested in her learning, and made her experience a very valuable one. Wan Ping’s duties involved meeting with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and creating business proposals for them. She was also involved in hosting, photographing, and recording events co-hosted by NGOs and Potato Productions.
“Even though I was just an intern, we were brought along on business discussions,” she said. “CIPE wanted to push us out of our comfort zones and I think this internship definitely did. Having to hear that my proposal was mediocre was not easy, but it definitely humbled me and made me want to learn more.”
Her most memorable moment, she said, was when she completed her first video with a fellow intern.
“I have never done something like that before, and even though it had little to do with businesses, it gave me another skill that I could take away,” she explained. “By the time we finished it, I had listened to the soundtrack we used at least 200 times…finishing it was definitely a highlight.”
For Liam, the highlights of his 10-week internship at Green Marine Capital (GMC), a maritime technology investment partnership, was getting the opportunity to board a gas carrier vessel for a day, and the approval of a team’s investment in Corvus Energy, a lithium ion battery manufacturer.
“I am very interested in business, finance and entrepreneurship. Venture capital, therefore, was a perfect fit for me,” Liam said. “Interning with GMC also enabled me to gain an in-depth immersion into a specific sector – shipping.”
In particular, it helped him learn how to effectively assess investment opportunities using a range of qualitative and quantitative methods, a skill that would be an asset in his future career.
“While the work was demanding, I felt fully supported and I learnt a great deal about venture capital and the shipping industry,” he said. “I was given a great deal of responsibility to contribute to the team’s work in a meaningful way.”
Similarly, Mariel found that she was trusted with many responsibilities during her internship at the Keppel Centre for Art Education in National Gallery Singapore, and most importantly, she was warmly welcomed as part of the team.
Mariel at her internship
“I got the sense that the organisation cared deeply about the people and saw the value in maximising everyone’s potential,” Mariel said. “As someone who intends to pilot her own arts education programme, I thought that it was necessary to learn the ins and outs of a large corporate organisation. I also knew that the National Gallery was a huge project in the pipeline, and was excited that I could be somehow involved in it while it was still in its infancy.”
Besides her main duties of conducting research, cataloguing artwork and copyediting publicity materials, Mariel was given the invaluable chance to be involved in a board meeting, concerning the winning design proposal for an art connector.
“It was monumental, as directors from major art and cultural organisations sat alongside renowned artists. I saw, for the first time, the process by which important decisions were made,” she said of the unique experience. “That was pretty cool.”
To find out more about Career Services, head on over to https://cipe.yale-nus.edu.sg/career-services/.