Are you thinking to do an internship? Do you want an exceptional working experience?
Then let me begin by introducing myself. I am Fares Altaher a BA International Business graduate from Limkokwing University, Malaysia. This year I completed my master’s degree in Digital Business at the University of Salford, UK. For the final stage of my masters, I had the opportunity to do an industry collaboration project, which is something niche that helped me to undertake an internship, instead of a typical dissertation.
My internship journey started when I was offered a three month internship with the Emmaus Salford charity, to contribute to setting up their online shop. I found out about this opportunity through my academic lecturer Dr. Marie Griffiths, who works as a trustee at Emmaus as well. After I read the project brief that I received from Emmaus, which involved reviewing their existing home store with a view of adding an e-commerce channel, I felt very thrilled and motivated to undertake this internship. The scope of work was very relevant to my studies in digital business, and it was a way to exploit the knowledge acquired from my studies towards making a positive impact on the charity, which offered me new perspectives on work and life.
Despite me having diverse career experience, doing an internship with Emmaus was something completely different. At the time, I thought I would be assigned certain tasks to do, like in jobs I have done previously. However, I came to realise that it was a different concept, because I had to create the tasks for myself, based on the organisation’s issues and challenges which gave me a great sense of accountability and creativity. So, I started off my project by conducting several meetings with the stakeholders, writing down notes and requirements, and planning the project objectives to be completed.
At first, the project was challenging, because I had no prior e-commerce experience as a seller. Through the internship, I encountered some technical components of e-commerce that took me more time to understand. This motivated me to identify learning goals within the project and develop them in a short timescale. The internship also helped me to explore my strengths and weaknesses, and allowed me to benchmark a set of learning objectives which I can pursue after my graduation.
During my time at Emmaus, I was introduced to several people and managers within the charity sector, through joining different activities such as Emmaus’ annual meeting and different live webinars, where I exchanged ideas with charity leaders. Although my career aspirations could lie in a different sector, it was great to build professional relationships and expand my connections.
My internship at Emmaus has developed my critical analysis skills, decision making and taught me to work well under pressure, how to organise and prioritise within a restricted timeframe, be resourceful and to ask questions to always reach better solutions. Moreover, identifying and evaluating the key issues impacting non-profit organisations and their environments in the UK, helped me to develop my research competency and strategic thinking skills.
The successes of my project have been, firstly, the support I received from the trustees including Dr. Alex Fenton and Mr. Ian Cottam, as well as other stakeholders involved in the project. Secondly, the inside information provided by Emmaus has given me a deeper insight into the charity and assisted my research.
My main goal throughout this year long course, is to attain a good level job involving technology or digital transformation and begin working my way up. I appreciate that my master’s degree has a high regard. However, I must be realistic in my expectations, and due to my current lack of hands on experience in this field, I believe this is a realistic goal. I also believe that this experience combined with my master’s degree enables me to stand out from the crowd, and achive my career goals.