Network connects students and industry
Malaysian students at the University of Adelaide are benefitting from hands-on industry experience, thanks to an innovative new program established by the University's West Malaysia alumni network.
Seventeen current students were recently connected with eight leading Malaysian companies, spending the summer of 2011-12 learning the ropes and making invaluable contacts - thanks to a new program established by the University of Adelaide Alumni West Malaysia Bhd Network (AUAWMB).
The Summer Vacation Internship Program, the first of its kind for the alumni network, was established as a direct and meaningful way to support and engage with students, says Network President Mathew Thomas Phillip.
"The bigger picture is the relevance that this endeavour brings to the AUAWMB: direct and tangible help for our youngest alumni. And a long-term networking expansion will emanate from the core of enlightened supporters we have engaged with," he says.
The 12-week program saw students from fields as diverse as law, architecture and engineering work alongside, and learn from, respected companies including KPMG, Idea Consult and Ferrier Hodgson.
Feedback from student interns has been overwhelmingly positive.
"Last summer would probably be the most valuable summer during my university studies," says Jany Fong, a Bachelor of Laws student whose placement saw her work with Thomas Philip Advocates and Solicitors.
"I decided to look for an internship because personally I think it is the right time to get myself out of my comfort zone and get some real life experiences working in a law firm," she says.
"I not only deepened my legal knowledge and experience, importantly I have enlarged my network to include lawyers, judges and members of parliament. The internship not only opened up my eyes and mind, but was also a wonderful experience to get myself ready for my future career. After the internship, I know my career can be challenging, impressive and ambitious."
Fellow intern Mohd Yusof extolled the ability to gain real world experience and communication skills in a professional environment.
"I'm grateful to gain such experience," says Mohd, a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering student who was placed with Acre Works. "I gained a lot of new knowledge, experience and improved on my current skills - but most of all it taught me communication skills. One of the most important things is knowing how to communicate with staff in a real engineering practice."
The precursor to the internship program is the Network's Career Forum, an annual platform to bring employers and current students together in a low-key networking environment.
Mathew is hopeful that the success of the program will lead to a bigger than ever Forum - and Internship Program - in 2012.
"The 2012 Career Forum will be staged on Saturday 4 August; our expectation is that the attendance figures will grow dramatically, and by extension the number of internship applications for next summer vacation," he says.
From KL to New York City, from social meet-ups to professional events, alumni networks help graduates to continue to benefit from being part of the University community.
Mathew says it's never too early to benefit from your local alumni network.
"The shared tertiary background and appreciation of Adelaide is a basis for networking, which is critical to professional development these days. Students should be tapping into this as early as they can." ■
Find out more about Alumni networks or join your local Network at www.alumni.adelaide.edu.au/networks or contact Rebecca Pym on +618 8313 7194.
Story by Lana Guineay