Learning the ropes
We all know that experience is our best teacher and this not only applies to our personal lives but also to our professional lives. No amount of academic books can teach us everything that we would want to know about the career/profession that we are interested in. Perhaps many of us would benefit a lot if we could do an ‘internship’ before actually starting work.
An intern is a student or a trainee who works, sometimes without pay, at a trade or occupation in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification.
An internship provides an intern an opportunity to explore his/her chosen career so that the person knows exactly what s/he wants in a permanent job. It might also help one realise whether or not the profession is right for you.
Opportunities out there
Many colleges have an internship programme included in their curriculum that requires students to work for a certain period of time in an organisation.
According to Prabir Rana, HR Manager, Nepal Investment Bank (NIBL), the bank has been receiving many proposals from interns, however, they have a criteria to select them.
“Strong referrals from their respective colleges and our own requirements are the main
criteria for taking them in,” he said.
At NIBL, the interns have to work in different departments so that they are exposed to and
get the experience of the workings of every part of banking.
Non-profit organisations like World Wildlife Fund (WWF) also engages interns in
different units of their programme.
Bandana Yonjan Lepcha, HR Manager, WWF Nepal, said, “WWF Nepal offers internship to fresh, energetic and talented Nepali graduates from various academic disciplines to help them get acquainted with the modern and professional working environment.”
As far as monetary benefit goes, different organisations have their own policies regarding internships. One is advised to be clear about this while applying for internship.
What do you gain?
For the interns, an internship is an opportunity that is not only about experience. There are many other benefits like —
• Developing new skills and refining others.
• Applying the knowledge gained from coursework to handle situations on the job.
• Reality check on career choices.
• Meeting and working with professionals, establishing contacts for letters of reference and networking.
• Having an edge in the job market over those who have not done an internship.
Benefit to organisations
It is a less known fact but internships are beneficial to the organisations also, not just the interns.
This is an opportunity for prospective employers to know about their prospective employees. It can be considered an investment for future hiring.
Lepcha said, “If the opportunities exist within the organisation and s/he fits the criteria, then we can definitely consider them as they would be fully inducted during their internship period. This save time and resources for the organisation as well.”
Rana added, “Internships are mutually beneficial because apart from desk work, interns also get an opportunity to go out marketing the bank’s products and services. They also assist in customer satisfaction surveys. In the long-run, we hope that when these students enter the job market, they will choose to do business with us.”
They also get fresh ideas and concepts from the interns.
Taking up interns is also helpful while doing special projects and short-term assignments. Rana said, “Many interns complete a project report on any sector of the organisation they work in and submit it to their respective colleges with a copy to us. Sometimes these reports give us a good insight and a fresh perspective on the way we manage our work.”
Lepcha pointed out another benefit. “A senior WWF staff works as a ‘Guide’ for
the intern throughout his/her engagement. This also helps our own staff develop their coaching and mentoring skills.”
Internship is perhaps the best way to get to know the career that you plan to take up. It develops practical practical knowledge and skills one requires in the professional world. And if you sail through your internship, then probably you won’t be surprised if you should get a call from the company you did your internship with.