Griffith Business School interns have played an instrumental part in some of Tennis Queensland’s biggest 2020 projects.

Head of Strategy for Tennis Queensland, Elia Hill, has praised the skills and tenacity of the recent group of interns, saying they’ve helped produce work that’s essential for the sports organisation’s success.

“I don’t know if they realise how much of what they’re doing has made a difference to us, they’re really special,” Elia says. “We had a number of significant projects this year, but we’re a not-for-profit so sometimes we just don’t have the resources, so we saw them as learning opportunities. With the interns, we’re turning projects over and having outcomes for our sport that we’re really happy with.”

Some of the most significant projects produced by the Griffith students include financial modelling of the affiliation program, strategic data analysis for LGA’s on Tennis programs and participation, a social media government desktop review, a Strategic Plan review, and marketing plans, all of which have been presented to senior staff and some of them Board members by the Business School interns.

Elia says the relationship between the organisation and the students is mutually beneficial; as Tennis Queensland is teaching the students employable skills and helping bolster their experience, the interns are also bringing new ideas from the classroom into the business world.

“They’re adding so much value,” Elia says of the students. “I don’t know how we would have done these projects without them.”

“For example one of our interns Grace Bidois, who did our social media desktop review, she showed Marketing that we’ve got an additional 5 million people we can talk to about our sport in a way that I would never have thought to present it, it was fantastic.”

Another student, Connor Shannon, also impressed with his attention to detail, determination and innovative ideas. “We’re thrilled with the capacity Connor has offered the Strategy Team. We would not be able to work with our councils and have our stakeholder briefs and insight reports to the level they were without Connor’s work.”

Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Commerce student Connor is double majoring in Sports Management and Accounting. He has a passion for tennis and says the skills he’s learnt and projects he’s been responsible for at Tennis Queensland will help him with his career goal of working in a sporting business arena.

“For my projects at Tennis Queensland I had to develop a way to collect data from a range of different business units to create performance reports on the achievement of organisational goals and strategies. I’ve generated data visualisations using analytic software and then I presented them to the senior management team at the organisation,” he explains.

“The whole internship experience has really bridged that gap between classroom and industry. Now when we do content at uni, I can instantly and clearly see the connection between what we do at Griffith and how it’s applied in the real world.

“It’s also been an incredible opportunity to gain experience across an array of different areas such as strategy, analytics, and in areas such as major sporting events. January was an incredible time because we had the Brisbane International and ATP Cup on. And I was fortunate enough to work with the tennis development team on some of the initiatives for that event.

“All these skills are super transferable across a range of industries,” Connor continues. “Having this level of exposure to so many different areas of a high-profile sporting organisation and having to tailor my classroom approach to suit their business needs will be really beneficial in my future career.”

Elia agrees that the skills Connor and the other students have developed during their time with Tennis Queensland will help get the students ahead when it comes time to graduate and look for employment.

“I said to Connor, ‘I want you to go to your job interviews and know you’re going to stand out because of this experience.’ Because he’s already done the work that companies will be looking for. The interns we’ve had have shown they are talented and driven and I hope they realise how good they are.”

Elia says that the Griffith interns they’ve had so far display a drive that she’s constantly impressed by. “They come in early, they have to be told to go home!” she laughs. “They come in as professionals and fit the culture and how we work. They are appreciative, they seek out information, they want clarity, they’re grateful, they’re polite. You’d be blessed to have them on your staff.”

Dr Caroline Riot says the pressures and expectations on players should be revisited in the wake of the Essendon supplements saga.

Griffith University’s Dr Caroline Riot.

Dr Caroline Riot, Director of Internships and Work Integrated Learning for Griffith Business School says she’s excited about the future of industry partnerships such as this one with Tennis Queensland. She says it’s clear that the experience has many benefits to offer for both students and partner organisations.

“What this experience highlights is the ability of our Business interns to combine passion with a knowledge base that is interdisciplinary, to make a significant contribution to real-world projects in the workplace,” Caroline explains. “Connor and Grace have drawn on what they have learned in a wide range of disciplines and successfully ‘connected the knowledge dots’ to make a meaningful impact to a workplace or practice setting. They’ve also demonstrated their enthusiasm and passion for the sport of Tennis to make an influential contribution during a time of regeneration.”

She continues: “We’re excited by the future of Internships in the Griffith Business School. Our industry partners, like Tennis Queensland, have shown the possibilities that exist when organisations can simultaneously nurture student employability skills, draw on student talent and champion internship experiences that benefit the organisation.

“Our value-driven partnerships are ever more crucial to enhance student confidence building in their workplace abilities and skills so they are equipped to navigate the new world of work, characterised by a transformed and disrupted workforce. We are grateful to the continued support of our local, interstate, and international partners who are working with us to maximise opportunities to develop our future and ‘brilliant’ business leaders with a vision to create a better future for all.”