Taste of industry pays off
The University of Adelaide's Student and Industry Program continues to go from strength to strength.
Coordinated by the University's Development and Alumni office, the Student and Industry Program (SIP) is now in its third year and has seen more than 700 students from all areas of the University network with over 320 alumni and industry representatives from more than 250 companies.
Discipline-based events ranging from Physics and Psychology through to Accounting and Architecture allow students to talk one-on-one with industry leaders and professionals in an open and friendly environment, helping to deepen their understanding of career possibilities and their professional knowledge in their chosen field.
One student who has benefited from her SIP participation is Erin Jingzhi Chen, a current second-year Bachelor of Wine Marketing student from Nanjing, capital of the Chinese province Jiangsu on the country's eastern coast.
After meeting with Hugh Matthews, the export manager for Yabby Lake winery, at the Wine SIP event in 2009, she was able to obtain a three-month internship at Yabby Lake's cellar door in China's third-largest city, Guangzhou, during her 2009-10 summer vacation.
Erin said the internship helped her gain valuable exposure to the burgeoning Chinese wine market.
"I learnt a lot from the experience - I realised just how big the Chinese market is," she said.
"There's a strong demand for wine in the Chinese market, not only among the upper class but also the emerging middle class."
Erin's role in Guangzhou was providing a wine education service, such as hosting lectures and parties, including one at Zhongshan University. Upon her return, she also helped Yabby Lake provide a tour of its Mornington Peninsula winery for Chinese VIPs.
"I've built up a good network of contacts in Guangzhou and I've also become more confident in my public speaking," she said.
"Attending the SIP may turn out to be one of the best things I did while studying at Adelaide!"
For Hugh Matthews - himself a University of Adelaide graduate (with a Graduate Diploma in Wine Business in 2000) - and Yabby Lake, the opportunity to participate in the relevant SIP led to an unexpectedly valuable outcome.
"I initially viewed it (the SIP) as an opportunity to give back to an industry which has given me my career - but it ended up evolving into something really beneficial for our company," he said.
"Yabby Lake is expanding rapidly in China, and we're acutely aware of the need for good wine marketing skills. We are very happy with Erin and how she has developed her skills and knowledge, and we're keen to keep working with her as other opportunities come up."
For more information about SIP and its 2010 events, please visit: www.alumni.adelaide.edu.au/sip
Story by Ben Osborne