How did you hear about the opportunity?
Having worked in core engineering roles in India for over three years, I decided to pursue a Master of International Business at the University of Melbourne. With limited opportunities in the relevant field for a non-resident with a lack of local experience, I was actively looking for an internship opportunity. Soon, I stumbled upon the Victoria India Internship Program. The testimonials by previous interns on the Australia India Institute website impressed me and I sent in an expression of interest.
I initially applied for an internship opportunity in Melbourne, which did not materialise, but later in November the Aii informed me about an opportunity with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in Delhi. I thought this was a golden opportunity to visit my family in Delhi as well as pursue the internship, and I readily agreed to it.
What were your expectations from this Internship and how was your experience?
Before the internship I knew only a thing or two about FICCI as it’s often in the news but I was unaware of the actual work it does in policies and negotiations. Before joining FICCI, Aii put me in contact with an intern who had just finished her internship there and was happy to share her experiences; this helped me prepare for mine.
From day one, my supervisor very clearly communicated the expectations and requirements of the role which helped me start off on the right track. When I started the research work, I felt out of depth, but my colleagues helped me and were happy to answer every little query.
In the first week as a part of the ASEAN and OCEANIA desk, I had the opportunity to meet Australia’s Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment Jason Clare during his visit to India. Meeting him made me realise the importance of the India-Australia relationship going forward.
I also had the opportunity to attend the South Africa-India business forum attended by top industrialists from both countries, the Prime Minister of India and the President of South Africa. This was something I had never expected. I also attended many meetings with Indian policymakers and ambassadors of various countries. This culminated in a major event: the India-ASEAN expo and summit, where I met so many senior figures, and was exposed to understanding significant ASEAN initiatives undertaken towards a common shared future.
How do you think this internship will help you in future?
This internship provided me with an opportunity to build my work experience.
The internship also provided a chance to connect with my Australian peer at the University of Melbourne, Robert McColl, who was also doing an Aii internship at FICCI and our internships overlapped. During these weeks we developed a really close bond working together – he got to see India from a local’s perspective, and I got to learn more about Australia and Australian culture through him than I did in my one year as an international student in Melbourne
In addition, during the internship the Aii office in Delhi organised an event chaired by Allan Myers, the University of Melbourne’s Chancellor. A group of University of Melbourne students on an exchange program in India were also at this event, and we had a great time getting to know each other and I’m sure we will be attending classes in the upcoming semester together.
The internship also triggered a keen interest in policy making and planning activities. Having an engineering background I decided to pursue International Business to get involved in planning roles. Before my internship I was leaning towards a career in consulting or marketing, but my time at FICCI made me realise that my calling is in policy consulting and research. I came back to Melbourne and chose my subjects for my next two semesters to reflect these new interests.
What advice would you like to give to future applicant and interns?
One piece of advice I would give is to tailor your application to the exact profile you are applying for and be honest about your expectation and skill set as it will help place you in the right internship.
Try to make connections during your internship as they can help you secure future opportunities.