Vishwajit Patel Internship

Vishwajit Patel reflects on six weeks as an intern at Victoria’s Trade and Investment offices in India

Vishwajit Patel Internship

Tell us a little about your internship, your duties and how you heard about it?

I heard about this internship from Marianna Sarris at the Australia India Institute who informed me about this opportunity. I interned with the Victoria Government Trade and Investment team at their offices in Bangalore and Mumbai for 6 weeks. My main task was to assist in the market entry of a leading company based in Melbourne. I also assisted in the day-to-day activities of the office and was working to promote trade between Victoria and India in the Food and Beverage Industry.

What was the work environment like at your internship?

A very welcoming, supportive and energetic environment. The best thing was that I got a chance to meet my supervisor from the Bangalore office while I was still in Melbourne, and my supervisor from Mumbai office while I was still in Bangalore. This helped me to settle down in both offices quite easily, as all the icebreaker events happened before I joined. Also, most of my colleagues have lived in Australia previously, so there was a common connection with all of them. This helped us to get along easily. I never saw any power distance in the hierarchical structure of the office, which is usually present in a typical Indian work setting. This is useful because even an intern can knock on the Commissioner’s cabin door and have a chat.

What surprised you about the internship?

The family feel of the office. This was very surprising and caught my eye. I have interned at other companies in India as well but never saw such close bonding amongst employees. The delegation of work by my seniors was also at another level. I had never thought that anyone would delegate such interesting and important work to an intern.

I also enjoyed Mumbai city, going to Marine Drive after the office, sitting and watching the sunset over Mumbai’s skyline and enjoying the street food.

What advice would you give future applicants?

One piece of advice that I would give to future interns is to not be afraid to ask for opportunities. The worst that will happen is you will hear a “no”. But the best that can happen is beyond imagination. I had never imagined that I would be a part of a team that would lead the market entry of reputed firms based in Victoria. But, I spoke with Marianna about my aspirations, I got presented with this opportunity, I shared my interests with the team at VGTI and ended up getting numerous opportunities! So, just take a deep breath, and apply for the internships or job that interest you.

When you talk to people about your internship what’s the first thing you tell them?

I always start by showing them the LinkedIn profile of my supervisor. This helps me to illustrate the opportunities I got while working under such an accomplished manager. I speak about the work attitudes of the colleagues, the projects I am working on but I’m also mindful of confidential information and the need to be professional.

What skills did you gain from the internship?

The biggest learning was how to develop, foster and effectively leverage relationships in the industry. Also, before this internship, I had met a fair amount of people through various events at the Victoria Chamber of Commerce. My office colleagues would often speak of a few of them. Turns out the world is such a small place and everyone is connected to one another!

What’s next for you in your career?

I still have a semester of university to complete. After that, I would apply to companies in Australia, who want to expand their presence in India. I see myself leading the market entry of an established Australian company, in India.