This summer I was fortunate enough to get an internship with Entrepreneurship & Innovation (EI), part of Careers Network at the University. I am going into my final year of Economics with Computer Science. Like many other Economics & Business students, I am considering starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur as a possible future career path so when I saw this opportunity advertised, I knew I had to apply for it. This internship was perfect for me, because it offers personal development & entrepreneurial knowledge.
The team that I work with every day is very friendly and easy to get along with. They have made me feel welcome since day one, for which I am grateful. Being treated like colleague and employee, rather than being just ‘the intern’ is one of the best parts of the internship. My supervisor, Hassana, showed me the ropes and introduced me to the rest of the team, as well as other colleagues from Careers Network. I wasn’t thrown in the deep-end from the start, and I was given a couple of days to understand how everything works, what they do and to adjust to the office environment. I enjoy the fast-paced atmosphere at the office, because there are rarely dull moments, and there is always something new to do or learn.
My main task updating the EI database of alumni entrepreneurs by collecting data about their businesses. It is an important task because this information goes into the annual report, that is used in order to obtain funding to support other future entrepreneurs. I get the chance to study a lot of enterprise data, and form my own opinion about why some businesses do better than others, why some fail and others succeed, just by studying the data. I also get to speak to the entrepreneurs in order to get an insight into their businesses: how they started it – from idea to implementation, what challenges they might have faced and how they overcame them.
A great benefit of working at EI is attending the various workshops, events and programmes that they run.
Here are some of the workshops & events that I have attended in the past two weeks:
- Leading Academics – workshops focused on leadership, career development, professional skills and creativity. I even spoke to the Vice-Chancellor, who was invited as a guest speaker to one of the sessions.
- SimVenture workshop –SimVenture software, is a business start-up simulator. You are given a start-up business, and have to make business decisions in order to grow the virtual business and generate profit.
- ADEPT Postgraduate Careers conference – I got to network with guest speakers and professionals from various industries, as well represent EI at the careers fair which followed after the conference.
- BUS Tour – The highlight of my internship so far. The whole team spent the day outdoors and on the BUS, alongside 40 other students, visiting various enterprises and businesses across Birmingham. It was definitely a very interesting and fun day, but more than that, I got the chance to observe how different types of enterprises operate, having the CEO or manager giving us the company tour, explaining what their businesses do, and answering any questions that we had.Some of the enterprises we visited were Made by Young People, ChangeKitchen and B.I.T.A which are businesses that also have social goals, and help their communities by investing a large part of their profits in them. We also visited the multi-awarded Indian restaurant Lasan, where we had lunch and were given a talk by the owner, who told us the story of his business. The last stop of the day was at Glide, which is a company with over 30,000 customers across the UK, and has been founded by a University of Birmingham student. It is really amazing to hear the ups and downs of a business straight from its founder.
Even though the last two weeks have been very busy, it has been a very exciting and rewarding experience, with plenty of things to get involved in and a steep learning curve. I have had an internship and a few work experience placements before, but none of them can compare to working at EI. I can truly say I enjoy every minute of it and I feel that I have learned a lot already. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and I would like to give a big thanks to all the wonderful people I have met so far that made me feel welcomed and a part of the team.