The world may have closed down but innovative opportunities have opened up for Curtin business and law students looking to gain work experience in their fields.
Remote internships, virtual international mobility and interactive study tours are some of the exciting options now available to students in the wake of COVID-19.
We may be living in uncertain times, but Curtin is more committed than ever to ensuring students gain access to industry and professional development.
Bachelor of Commerce student Paul Harrison completed a remote internship at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCIWA) earlier this year.
“I started off working full days in the office with the policy team,” says Harrison, who is majoring in human resources management and industrial relations.
“When COVID-19 hit, the new restrictions changed the way my internship was conducted.”
Like many professionals, Harrison suddenly found himself working from home.
“I was given access to all the tools I needed to work remotely and was in regular contact with my supervisor,” he explains. “I’m passionate about human resources and it was amazing to be able to continue working on an important research project focusing on small businesses and the ‘unfair dismissal system’.”
CCIWA Principal Workplace Relations Advocate Paul Moss says hosting a work-integrated learning student from Curtin was a fantastic experience.
“Paul [Harrison] brought a different yet complementary approach to the research,” Moss says.
“He used his initiative in developing a paper that identified the challenges faced by small businesses and proposed solutions to address these.”
Moss says the research conducted by Harrison will now form part of the company’s advocacy work.
An international internship from home
Remote work experience means no location is off-limits. Curtin marketing student Vidy Saraswati was able to take advantage of an Indonesian-based internship from the comfort of her home in Perth.
“I interned for a company called SOHO Global Health,” she explains. “The first week I attended a virtual meeting to discuss increasing the social media performance of a health product called ‘Imboost’.”
Saraswati was assigned several tasks including analysing the engagement rates of two Imboost brand ambassadors.
Later, as the pandemic spread, she was asked to research the number of COVID-19 positive patients in Indonesia to help Imboost assess the demand for its products.
“The three-month internship with SOHO was incredibly valuable,” she says. “I’ve learned so much about applying university theory to real-world situations.”
With international borders closed, Curtin business and law students have been able to take advantage of virtual mobility placements with partner institutions around the world.
Dozens of students have completed virtual learning at high-profile institutions like Stanford University in the US and Toulouse Business School in France.
Curtin Master of Business Administration (MBA) student Matthew Kiem recently completed a virtual mobility program with the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany.
He says there were plenty of opportunities to ask questions and receive helpful feedback.
“The course was excellent and very well organised,” Kiem enthuses. “The lecturers were interesting and engaging and facilitated really valuable discussions among the nearly ninety participants, despite the potential complications of meeting via video conference.”
Kiem says he gained important insights into the European business environment and relished the chance to build a global network.
“It was an amazing opportunity to be part of such a diverse cohort from around the world,” he says.
“I was able to engage with some really switched-on professionals and to see that the knowledge and experience that I have gained throughout my MBA program at Curtin is relevant and at an equally high standard to the rest of the world.”
Connecting global campuses online
Curtin will offer a new interactive study tour later this year that aims to connect students to their international peers.
The intensive week-long program will be open to business and law students in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius and Dubai.
Students will collaborate on urgent global issues impacting their countries and industries with a focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Guest presenters comprising international industry experts, academics and community partners will share their insights.
“The interactive study tour provides the opportunity for a diverse range of students to gain access to our global community, build their networks and achieve academic credit toward their degree,” says Curtin academic Dr Megan Le Clus.
“We’re very excited about this initiative and can’t wait to welcome the first group of online travellers!”
The interactive study tour, as well as remote placements, will remain available to students post-pandemic as Curtin continues to expand its unique learning opportunities.