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Indonesia internship: connecting culture, marketing and management

"Sure beats photocopying and making coffee!"

Back in high school you probably did work experience at a local business or minor law firm. It’s likely that you did some photocopying and made people coffee. Great experience, huh?

Now imagine doing work experience with an international company in Indonesia, home of Ubud and Bali. Yes, you read that correctly. Deakin Business School now offers students the chance to put their learning into practice with the two- or three-week Deakin Management UTY Indonesia Internship Program.

According to program developer and lecturer, Dr Achinto Roy, these days an internship is a major plus in the eyes of prospective employers, and an international internship even more so. ‘Every employer likes to see that a student has done an internship of some repute.’

In 2015 the program was sponsored by Bowater Trust and involved two teams of six students from both Deakin University and Universitas Teknologi, Yogyakarta (UTY) working together to help existing organisations. Each team was given a project by the management of their assigned business and had to complete tasks and then submit a report designed to help the company improve their systems and practices.

The first group focused on customer relationship building and how to set up specific systems for Indonesian bank, Bank Danagung, while the second group worked for YPTI (Yogya Presisi Tehnikatama Industri), an automobile spare parts manufacturer and a major exporter to Germany, and completed a marketing project that addressed how the company should position itself in the European market.

Clearly an internship with an international corporation is a big plus on a graduate’s résumé, but there are plenty of other benefits. Getting hands-on experience and meeting real-world deadlines are amazingly useful experiences for students and global mobility is becoming more and more important in an increasingly interconnected world.

The program offers students some serious advantages: ‘Students are able to apply what they have learnt in the classroom to practical business situations. They also achieve global mobility and have the opportunity to make industry connections,’ says Dr Roy.

The choice of Indonesia as the destination for the internship is no coincidence. Not only does Indonesia have the world’s fourth biggest population, it is also Australia’s largest neighbouring country, meaning it presents major business opportunities for Australians and Australian companies.

Dr Roy says that Indonesia is a key target for Australia in the post-mining boom era: ‘Indonesia is one of Australia’s top ten trading partners and is a huge market with an emerging economy. It’s clear that international connections in areas other than the mining sector are extremely important.’

One of the key focuses at Deakin is on intercultural competence, or as Dr Roy calls it, ‘intercultural learning.’ The ability to respectfully and effectively engage with colleagues and clients from different nations and cultural and language backgrounds is an incredibly valuable skill.

It’s not all hard work, however. On weekends, students are able to immerse themselves in the cultural attractions on offer in Yogyakarta, such as visiting the spectacular temples, and are given the chance to put their intercultural learning into practice by interacting with locals in everyday settings.

Sure beats photocopying and making coffee!

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