Thursday, April 21, 2011

Entrepreneurial Internship Program wrap-up and poster session

Last Wednesday the Design @ Eng exhibition space (5th floor, Mechanical Engineering Bldg on UNSW Kensington campus) saw the Poster Presentation and wrap-up of the CIE’s Entrepreneurial Internship Program, the culmination of an exciting half-year for both interns and sponsors.

14 students exchanged their summer holidays for work experience at some of Australia’s leading innovative companies. 

Here’s a sampling of the projects on which the interns worked (check reports)
  • Disaster response procedures, which unexpectedly got a field-test  during the Queensland floods
  • Voice-based psychometric analysis technology
  • Video analytics for retail applications
  • Software product management
  • CRM system development
  • Comprehensive communication strategy development for internal and external stakeholders
For the event, students prepared posters detailing the company and the project(s) with which they were involved.

After their stint in the world of work, interns also submitted a written report and an evaluation of their experience at the sponsoring organization.  Companies submitted an evaluation of the student and their project, all of which were highly complementary.

“Much higher calibre than expected of one so young,” raved one company representative.

“This is the second intern I have had in 3 years and I continue to derive value for our business [with] this program,” declared another.

Company reviewers were asked for an dollar estimate for the value of the work performed by the intern.  Amounts ranged from $5,000 to $20,000; one interned performed so well that their sponsoring company estimated the value of their work at over $50,000!

During the evening, students presented their poster to their fellow cohort members and to company representatives.  All were impressed at the scope of the students' achievements.

Other comments from the representatives of the sponsoring organizations:

“A great experience overall.  A fresh mind willing to commit to challenging business problems always gives us some surprises, positive ones…the flexibility and commitment demonstrated by the intern greatly helped the team to address some of the burning business challenges in a relatively short time frame.”

“[We] enjoyed working with the 2 interns from the CIE Internship Program and found their contributions to be very helpful and positive for us and the interns.”

The CIE's Director, Dr Martin Bliemel was on hand to present both the students and the company representatives with their certificates of achievement and recognition.

Students were also enthusiastic about their experiences:

“The internship with [company] was an eye opener in terms of learning how professionals in the [industry] think and act.  Its considerably different from any university experience I’ve had previously and it is well worth the experience.”

“Invaluable – an opportunity to be placed in a business [that] is really excited to have you and teach as much as possible.  Gives you an opportunity to work somewhere a student would usually have difficulty finding themselves.”

“It has been the best place I’ve ever worked.  Honestly, I didn’t know that such workplaces even existed…the organisational culture here is brilliant, and it’s a very exciting industry to be in at present.”

All the interns will receive recognition of their successful completion of the program with a statement on their testamur acknowledging their achievement.

Although the CIE is reluctantly discontinuing this highly successful program, a new internship program will be offered in Semester 2 to students and sponsoring companies.  Under the new scheme, students enrolled in the elective INOV4101 class will receive course credit for their work.  We are grateful to the University for supporting valuable experiential learning opportunities for these ambitious students.

We would also like to thank the UNSW Co-op Office for their generous assistance and support.

Finally, many thanks to our industry partners; we very much appreciate your continuing involvement and support, and look forward future opportunities for both students and sponsoring companies.
-          Atlassian
-          Homestar Finance
-          Petbarn
-          Medical Australia
-          IP Scape
-          Telcoinabox
-          NICTA
-          ResMed