Business graduates benefit from career-boosting internships

11 March 2014

The University of Notre Dame Australia applauds the recent agreement between Universities Australia and Australian business groups which aims to boost student employability.

The agreement, formally announced by Universities Australia Chair, Professor Sandra Harding, at the National Press Club in Canberra on 26 February 2014, hopes to deepen relationships between universities, industry and community to offer further shadowing programs and internships for university students.

For more than eight years, Notre Dame's School of Business courses have included a Business Internship unit as a core component of all undergraduate programs. Its core focus is to develop a student's workplace preparation; provide them with workplace insights delivered by industry professionals; and to link them with industry partners for an internship placement.

Dean of the School of Business in Fremantle, Professor Chris Doepel, said the object of the School was to provide an excellent standard of training for the professions and produce ethical and competent industry-ready graduates.

"Notre Dame's graduates are highly sought after in the marketplace, which is reflected in a graduate employment rate above the national average and continued five-star ratings in the areas of Graduate Satisfaction and Teaching Excellence," Professor Doepel said.

Notre Dame students who have completed their internship at large corporations, not-for-profit groups, resource companies and sporting teams often land full-time roles as a result of this program.

Notre Dame alumnus from the Fremantle Campus, Ben Fountain, undertook the Business Internship program whilst a student and is now a Director of Risk Services at professional services firm, Deloitte.

Mr Fountain said he chose to study at Notre Dame because of the University's practical approach to learning and the opportunity to obtain real world experience as part of his degree.

"The Business Internship program is a formal, mandatory part of every student's learning – and is foundationally about students both learning about and then experiencing the business world outside lecture halls and textbooks," Mr Fountain said.

"Having completed my internship in the second year of my university studies, I understood what was expected (and needed) in business. Notre Dame's approach to learning undoubtedly gave me a head start in entering the business world and gave me the initial practical experience needed to accelerate my subsequent career."

Richard Thomas, Partner (Risk) at Deloitte, said Ben, and the quality of Notre Dame's Business students, first came to his attention in 2007 during the Deloitte Dream Team competition.

"He struck me then as an intelligent and highly motivated individual, focussed on developing a career in professional services," Mr Thomas said.

"Since joining my team in Forensic, and now Risk, Ben has worked incredibly hard, taken feedback on board and has, to his credit, practised strong self-development.

"I can put him in front of a client with the trust that he will represent him, the company and the client in a highly professional manner."

Sydney Business alumna, Kate-Michelle Von Riegen, completed her internship at entertainment marketing and advertising agency, ACMN. She is now working at ACMN full-time as a Digital Marketing Assistant.

"The Business Internship program was definitely the highlight of my time at Notre Dame," Ms Von Riegen said.

"Working in the industry while completing my third year gave me an invaluable doorway into the 'real' business world, and played a crucial part in my transition from student to professional."

Pro Vice Chancellor, Academic, on the Sydney Campus, Professor Margot Kearns, said Notre Dame recognised and valued the importance of delivering internships and practical experience for students.

"All students at Notre Dame are offered the opportunity to undertake an internship with the majority of the courses having compulsory industry placements as part of the curriculum," Professor Kearns said.

"In accessing these placements, Notre Dame has already forged a number of successful partnerships with business."

Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;