The Road Less Travelled: A Plunge into Startups with Startup Gippsland

By An Duong

Many students perceive large corporations as dream destinations for internships; however, I was excited to take an unconventional path. Through the BUSA90525 Business and Economics Internship subject and Illume Foundation, I had the opportunity to connect with Startup Gippsland. Here, I helped Gippsland-based entrepreneurs grow and scale their startups as a marketing intern.

Unlike any other, this internship required performing different tasks for different startups instead of a fixed position. Some of these tasks included creating a website for Alltech Robotics,  producers of a robotic massage device, and devising a marketing campaign for Ramp Tech, which manufacture unique patented truck curtains.

Creating a website from scratch for Alltech Robotics required many intricacies that I had never previously experienced. I was able to learn website building without any programming knowledge (using WordPress) and equipped myself with filming, photography and video editing skills for website content creation. In fact, I managed to have hands-on experience with an area I am deeply interested in, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which aims to increase a website’s visibility on a search engine. These are essential marketing skills that I have not been exposed to at university. Undertaking an internship is a great way to explore and adopt digital skills necessary for your future career.

Devising a marketing campaign for Ramp Tech was a more difficult task. I was responsible for drafting a report outlining strategies to market an innovative truck curtain to truck manufacturers. The task begins with market research, which was exciting as I got to accompany the founder in interviewing truck drivers and companies. I was able to gain a valuable understanding of struggles in conducting market research in practice, such as the availability of interviewees. The market research process was followed by selecting the least costly but most effective strategies to market a very technical product. Although I was only familiar with the product for a short time, the task started to become manageable. I would advise future interns not to be fearful of problems that might come up, but to start executing tasks with interest and solve any problems that may crop up along the way.

An Duong with his intern cohort and the founders at Startup Gippsland

Throughout the internship, I was able to consolidate knowledge from my Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing and Economics) and Master of Digital Marketing and apply them to create a real impact. A strong knowledge base from years of study act as a guideline that helped navigate how I approach a problem. Working in a startup environment compelled me to wear different hats, which enabled a wide application of knowledge. In fact, theories from different subjects surfaced and helped in advancing my work progress. There existed; however, a theory-practice gap where I found myself knowing how to perform a task but lacking the capability to execute it. Such realisations help me recognise my weaknesses, which in turn, helps visualise the path I must take to expand my knowledge - that is to equip myself with the necessary skill sets to bridge the gap between knowing and doing.

From start to end, the BUSA90525 Business and Economics Internship subject facilitators assisted me with career goals and learnings that have been valuable even after the winter intensive internship. Equally important, Illume Foundation provided mentorship and facilitated workshops with start-up founders and guest speakers to deepen my understanding of startup culture in Australia and inspire my own startup spirit. All in all, it was an insightful, unique and exciting experience that shaped both my career and life paths. I would like to acknowledge and give my warmest thanks to Melbourne Business School for running the Business and Economics Internship, the Illume Foundation and all the founders at Startup Gippsland for facilitating an essential experience.

Are you a business interested in getting involved in the Business and Economics Internship? Please contact us to discuss how we can work together.

Are you a Melbourne Business School student wanting to do the next Business and Economics Internship? Find more information here.