Internship Insights from Megat Iskandar Shahriman

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An interview with a third year BA(IS)er and imminent graduate Megat Iskandar Shahriman conducted by a third year BA(IS)er and imminent graduate Jessica Orchard in regards to what a second year BA(IS)er would benefit from hearing about on internships and studies in general

Jessica: What is your internship role?

Iskandar:  “I’m doing my internship at the RMIT European Union Center. My main job was to conduct a research report on regional development in Malaysia and how we can implement European Union Smart Specialisation Strategies in regional development in Malaysia. I did general research on EU regional development and EU Smart Specialisation Strategies. I also helped with planning events and met lots of academics who specialise in this kind of field. Last Wednesday there was a seminar conducted by the Ukrainian Vice President which I went to and was pretty cool”

Jessica: What was your experience in finding an internship (in general?) And how did you discover this particular internship?

“It was not scary but difficult but the BA(IS) had a lot of resources – everyone involved in the school of GUSS were happy to give me a hand in finding one and in doing so it gave me a lot of prerequisite skills in actually looking for a job. For this internship, the tutors in the BA(IS) were super helpful in recommending to me internship placements and I followed their advice and applied and I got this one.”   

Jessica: What was the most interesting thing about your role?

Iskandar: “I got the opportunity to explore my passion because I am very interested in development and policy work and it was great that I could explore this very particular sector. The networking was pretty cool, I got to meet so many different academics and people from different companies – the center does work with the Latrobe Valley authority who does work in Gippsland and I got to meet people from there. I also got the chance to apply my knowledge and refine my skills learnt in the BA(IS) degree such as professional communication skills and administrative skills. I also learnt more comprehensively about a variety of EU policies – learning how the EU works a bit more especially with all of the things coming out of the EU i.e. Brexit, so this role was good timing. Also it was super interesting to see how academic institutions and government institutions are linked.”

Jessica: How do you think this would benefit you if you were currently studying and thinking about your future internship?

Iskandar: “I learnt a lot about research what it involves and what it doesn’t. It was good to have this experience to conduct research but it is not something I necessarily see myself doing in the future. The internship has taught me more about what I like and don’t like and where my passions really lie. It also helped me practically apply my knowledge learnt in the BA(IS). So at the end of the day pick something you are interested in and really like and then as you go along you will see if your interest in it is consolidated or if your interests change and that’s okay too.”  

Jessica: What advice would you have for a student starting their search for an internship?

Iskandar: “Just be confident, even if it is scary once you get into it it’s not that hard - you get more confident over time. Make sure to utilise all of the resources you have in the BA(IS) including the advice of your BA(IS) lecturers and tutors that’s what really helped me the most.”