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Business students get hands-on experience


11 March 2004
Giving students the chance to gain practical work experience and providing assistance to businesses is the aim of Southern Cross University’s (SCU) Bachelor of Business Internship Program.

And if you ask Bachelor of Business graduate Melinda Brooks, the program is definitely worthwhile.

Melinda, who has just returned to SCU to complete a Graduate Diploma in Education, did her internship with Bamboo Surfboards Australia and found the experience invaluable.

“You always learn the theory in university, but it’s important to gain hands-on experience, especially in business. I received an invaluable perspective into how businesses operate and the relationships between staff, consumers and suppliers,” Melinda said.

“It gave me a really good insight into the dynamics of marketing and it’s great to act on what you learn at uni.”

Melinda said it also helped in the search for work after university.

“It’s really hard to find a job if you haven’t had experience. The internship gave me six months of marketing experience which was hugely beneficial when looking for work.”

She said the internship, completed in the final semester of the course, was a great way to move into the workforce. “It’s a good transitional phase and a great way of networking for future employment.”

The experience paid off for Melinda who took up a marketing position with a tour company in Exmouth, Western Australia, when she completed her degree in 2001. She then went on to manage the establishment of a multi-million dollar eco-backpacking operation, Marina Beach Retreat.

Now she is completing a Graduate Diploma of Education, but is keen to continue in management and marketing in the tourism industry.

SCU’s School of Commerce and Management internship co-ordinator, Mr Lee Bowen, said the internship program had benefits for students and businesses.

Mr Bowen said the students worked (at no cost to the business) for three days a week during the last semester of their degree. The students are required to complete a project, such as a marketing plan or business plan for the business they are working for, with input from their supervisor.

“They go to work for three days a week, eight hours a day. They are required to do a special project for the business and it’s often something the business has not had time to complete,” Mr Bowen said.

“It gives the students practical experience and a chance to network and meet people in other businesses. It is also a good way of easing into the workforce.”

The Division of Business is setting up a register of businesses in the Lismore, Tweed and Coffs Harbour regions interested in being involved in the Internship Program. To register, contact Dianne Cahill on 66269329 or email

Media contact: Brigid Veale, SCU Media Liaison, 66593006 or m. 0439 680 748.