Choosing to do an internship: a step in the right direction?

We all know that the ultimate purpose of obtaining a university degree is to apply our new-found skills to the real world and improve our chances of securing a job. However, finding that first job can be a challenge for many graduates, especially if we don’t have any experience. One classic question that I believe many people, especially university students, would be familiar with is “So, what do you want to do in the future?” And the even more classic but understandable response is “Good question, but I’m still not sure yet.”



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In recent years, much has been said about the need for more young professionals to consider a career in agriculture — the world’s largest industry, which is certainly a morale-booster for Food and Agribusiness students including myself! Nevertheless, without any experience in our chosen fields, it is difficult to navigate which direction to head in, or where to begin. For this reason, internships are a great way to gain hands-on experience, challenge yourself and even explore a potential career path — all without the stress of having to commit for years and years.

At the beginning of 2018, I undertook a six month internship in Bangkok, Thailand, in the supply chain management industry. During this time, I learned that digitising supply chains was a tool that many multinational corporations were looking to invest in. As my program wrapped up, I realised that I wanted to learn more about supply chains but perhaps in a smaller organisation where there might be more room for creativity. So when the opportunity to intern with AgriDigital in Sydney arose, I knew it had to be at the top of my wishlist. Since then, my first month here has already provided me with several avenues for growth. For example, starting in the Finance Team, without little prior knowledge of finance and accounting has forced me to learn about things well outside my usual comfort zone!

AgriDigital Community Team intern and classmate Scott Nevison, who is also studying Food and Agribusiness at USYD, feels that “currently, the internship has been a win-win situation where I’ve been able to contribute to the company and learn so much in the process, especially once I gave myself enough time to settle in.” He also admitted that adjusting to full-time work hours has been eye-opening but “it’s also been a great opportunity to develop high-level critical thinking and learn from other people’s work ethics.”

Wyatt Watson, who is studying a combined Commerce/Arts degree at USYD, started interning in the Marketing and Sales team in August. “Interning has given me the opportunity to get some real workplace experience that was seriously lacking in my degree. Seeing where the vast amounts of theory we are taught can be applied adds some weight to my studies and has confirmed for me that I want to apply it to ag in some capacity in the future.”

 

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I believe that many students can attest to the value of undertaking an internship in their chosen field. Interning is an incredibly effective way to understand better business’ day-to-day operations, which often can’t be learned inside the classroom or fully appreciated from shorter work placements. I am very thankful for my internship in Thailand because I know that I would never have realised my interest in this field had I not given it a go. With AgriDigital, it’s only been a month working with new people and adapting to the unpredictable flow of startup culture, but it has forged an experience that I will remember as both challenging and exhilarating.