When Griffith Business School student Ini Akinsanmi graduates, she will have a world of experience to set her apart in the job market – literally. The 21-year-old recently completed a global internship in China and, in doing so, has added valuable skills to her resume.
“A lot of employers these days are looking for people with outside of Australia or internship experiences,” the Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Government and International Relations student explains. “And China is one of the leading world markets, so what better way to go visit such a country that has such an impact on the world market and learn their practices?”
On top of having an international experience, Ini’s job placement involved stepping out of her comfort zone and giving herself a serious skills upgrade. “I ended up doing marketing and communications over there, which was not my study area at all,” she says. “But you should be open to whatever comes your way; if you limit yourself then you’re just going to lose opportunities. I now have the skills that a lot of people in even a marketing or communications degree may not even have because I’ve had on-the-job training.”
Although there was an initial culture shock in China, Ini said lessons in language and cultural understanding really propelled her forward. “When you are put in a scenario outside your comfort zone, where you don’t know anyone and you have a limited grasp of the language and you can’t interact with people to even buy something, it really shows you how to handle the situation with a lot of patience,” she says. “I picked up a lot of skills in everyday life but also in those intensive language and culture classes in the mornings.
“Immersing myself in another culture gave me a greater understanding of Chinese business practices and about myself, both of which will be extremely helpful in my career. Having that understanding from working within the culture will definitely help me network in the future.”
Ini has also been successful in attaining a number of domestic internships. One placed her with a Queensland Member of Parliament and one saw her oversee a big project for the City of Gold Coast Council, all the while earning credit points toward her degree.
“I was given the massive project task of reviewing Council’s current quotation and procurement process and it was intense,” she says. “A lot of people had a lot of problems with the current manual so I felt like I had to solve everyone’s problems or council would fall apart!
“My supervisor warned me it was a big task and it’s something I am really proud of. It’s all about understanding the whole problem and situation and knowing what information is valuable and what isn’t, and that’s something I learnt on the job.”
She says she’s incredibly grateful for her workplace experience and thinks it will set her apart once she enters the workforce.
“I understand how to work within a business and in a government context. I can tell employers, ‘Yes I have had the theoretical foundation a university degree gives you but actually working in the environment gives you a definite edge.’
“I can problem solve under pressure. I can learn new skills on the go. I can work within both an international and a government context… All these things will help me going forward with whatever career I choose. These experiences make me stand out,” she says. “Plus my friends were jealous that the university organised it all for me and I got credit for it!
“I’m always saying to people the amount of opportunities you get at Griffith really sets it apart.”