2020 Remote Global WIL: Shaping the next generation of Asia-Pacific leaders

Led by Griffith Asia Institute (GAI), the 20 credit-point Griffith Asia Business Internship (GABI) elective course reimagines ‘Asian Studies’ for the contemporary business context and for the first time in 2020 was delivered remotely across five Asian countries, including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Malaysia. GABI equipped students with the knowledge, skills and networks to operate successfully in Asia, while developing cultural capacity and enhancing employability outcomes.

Gaining professional capabilities

The 2020 remote GABI cohort comprised 29 students, with 50% supported by Australian Government New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility Program grants. The centrepiece of the 2020 initiative included a remote global internship with students gaining exposure and relevant ‘hands-on’ learning in an Asian business context while working remotely from home with a Host Organisation based in Asia. Key Host Organisations included ANZ, Australian Chamber of Commerce, Crossroads Foundation, Dale Carnegie Training, Odyssey Capital, Pyrmont Wealth, Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) and Victorian Government Trade and Investment, covering placements in commerce, employment relations, international business, government and international relations, management and tourism. The experience provided the opportunity to advance academic interests and vocational intentions, strengthen cultural understanding, and expand professional networks and people-to-people connections of enduring value.

GABI participants online workshop, debrief and student presentations. (Image supplied)

To mark the completion of the course, 2020 GABI participants recently joined an online workshop, including debrief activities and student presentations. As demonstrated, students have successfully developed advanced skills in areas that are in high demand by employers, such as problem solving, digital capabilities, working in teams, critical analysis, time management, networking and innovation. Additionally, individual reflection on personal attributes such as independence, curiosity, maturity, motivation and resilience was encouraged, in turn supporting graduate success by enhancing development of soft skills equally valued by employers, today and into the future.

Opening doors to the world of work

Sharing his insight and learnings based on the Remote Global WIL experience, Joshua Kim, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) student completed his Remote Global Internship with the Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) office based in Seoul and developed a market expansion strategy for the Korean market for a Queensland manufacturer. As Joshua highlighted: ‘I enjoyed the opportunity to utilise the knowledge that I have gained from my MBA study and previous workplaces, to assist a Queensland exporter with a business expansion opportunity.

My Internship with TIQ Korea also helped me build contextual knowledge on bilateral business relationships between Australia and Korea by allowing me to access various online events.

Trade and Investment Queensland team screenshot. (Image supplied)

I was initially concerned that I would not have the same work experience as a face-to-face internship, but it was a good opportunity to work in the actual work environment, as this is the new normal. I was not the only one working at home, as almost everyone in my Host Organisation was recommended to work from home, so it was the same experience as my co-workers — the same environment during COVID, but also possible beyond it.

I was also able to gain a lot of insights into the trade and investment sector as I joined various webinars by Austrade, Australia Korea Business Council (AKBC), Asialink and others learning about the Australia-Korean relationship and especially the potential opportunities in regard to hydrogen.

Overall, the Remote Global Internship was a much better experience than I originally thought.’

Strengthening bilateral relations in the Asia region

In 2020, the shift to an online delivery mode of teaching and global learning for GABI participants effectively maintained the momentum of an in-country experience – building professional networks and personal friendships, enhancing student career options and bolstering student employability. It further added an important dimension to bilateral relations, by supporting digital proficiencies, and offering students fresh insights by adapting to the new world of work during a challenging time.

In recognition of the ongoing success of GABI, Rowan Petz, Executive Director, Australian Chamber of Commerce in Korea commented: ‘I really commend Griffith University for all their work within the Australia-Korea educational space.

It is great to see that Griffith is one of the most engaged Australian universities here in South Korea and we have been successfully working with the Griffith Business School to support the Global Internship Program since 2017.

AustCham Korea final debrief workshop. (Image supplied)

This includes the Chamber hosting a total of four talented Griffith Global Interns. Over the years, I have built a great rapport with our Interns and enjoy personally keeping in touch.’

With Australia and the Republic of Korea celebrating a 60-year anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2021, GAI is delighted to continue to build and develop mutually beneficial strategic relationships with government and industry partners, in both Korea and the Asia-Pacific community more broadly. The team looks forward to recruiting and welcoming the 2021 GABI student cohort and new Host Organisations, with view to cultivating Asia-ready leaders of the future and further fostering collaborations and deepening engagement with Australia’s closest neighbours, be it remotely or in-country when travel resumes.

Find out more about Griffith Asia Business Internships at https://www.griffith.edu.au/asia-institute/global-wil-internships.