a UNSW Business Society official publication
Virtual Internships: An Interview With InsideSherpa
Written by Varun Amin
Date Published: 20/05/2020
The modern age, especially given the current uncertain circumstances, is one powered by technology, challenging and pivoting the way we approach traditional practices. One key example of this which is highly relevant to us as students, is the way internships are being undertaken. Internships, or work placements, are a very important aspect of many students’ university careers. They allow students to explore their potential career options, provide them with an insight into industry practice with real-life experiences, and can also give them connections to move into their chosen industry.
In recent times, companies have begun to rethink the way in which these internships are undertaken by leveraging technology. More businesses are using virtual internships as a way to provide those same benefits to students in a more accessible, flexible mode of delivery.
One such business is InsideSherpa, a platform for company-backed free open-access virtual internships. I sat down with the InsideSherpa team to find out a bit more about this industry.
Varun: What are the most tangible benefits a student can gain from a virtual experience program?
InsideSherpa: This differs from program to program, but tangible benefits for students include developing practical skills that can be included in students’ CV/LinkedIn whilst being provided with the opportunity to see what real work looks like, receiving a personalized certificate recognizing the skills demonstrated from completing the program and building critical skills that will help prepare students for a graduate role in top firms. Many companies with programs on our platform will prioritize applications of students who have completed their program when considering them for graduate/intern roles. Some firms may also invite students who have completed their programs to attend exclusive events, join mentoring programs and be considered for job opportunities!
For example, upon completion of the Future IM/Pact Investment Management program students will be entered into a talent pool for intern and graduate programs of Future IM/Pact partners, noting that partners include AustralianSuper, Nikko Asset Management, Perpetual and QIC. Women who complete the program will also be invited to apply to join
mentoring circles, which is a great incentive! (For more details see here: https://tinyurl.com/y7m5xajy).
Varun: What industries are internships offered in?
InsideSherpa: We currently have programs across industries including law, finance, consulting, tech, software engineering, marketing and audit and have been working continuously to get new programs across a wide variety of industries up on our platform!
We’ve partnered with leading companies such as King & Wood Mallesons, MinterEllison, BCG, JPMorgan, Citi, Accenture and KPMG to offer programs that allow students to have a go at tasks that interns/grads at these firms do on a day-to-day basis.
Speaking from personal experience, I found that Virtual internships offered insight into industries I was unsure about. By committing 6-8 hours of my own time, I was able to expand my knowledge of audit by undertaking Grant Thornton’s Virtual Experience Program. This allowed me to gain tangible experience which informed my career path.
Varun: Could you tell us a bit more about InsideSherpa?
InsideSherpa: Before InsideSherpa was founded, our two co-founders were providing students with career advice as a way of helping the next generation navigate their career paths and eventually sought out to create a scalable way of doing this. InsideSherpa started as a mentorship marketplace that connected students with professionals for career advice and in the process of scaling this, we discovered a big knowledge gap for students - many didn’t know much about companies or jobs that suited their degree. We realized students couldn’t grasp the opportunities they couldn’t see. There’s so much talent in the world but most talented people didn’t know what was available to them or know where they would shine. We’re trying to solve this gap by becoming a place where students can discover, upskill, and learn whatever they want.
InsideSherpa as we know it today hosts company-backed free open-access virtual internships. Our programs seek to allow students to build career skills, gain experience and increase their understanding of different careers. We are the first scalable internship platform where any student from anywhere can see what it is like to work at the companies they are interested in.
Varun: Who can enrol in the virtual internships at InsideSherpa?
InsideSherpa: Our virtual internship programs are free and open access which means any student, regardless of what university degree they’re studying, what prior experience they have, or their location can experience what it’s like to work at some of the world's top firms. The programs take about 5-6 hours to complete and can be done flexibly at each student’s own pace.
The wonderful thing about virtual internships is the convenience and open-access nature. These internships mean that as long as you have a device and a stable Internet connection you can undertake the internship at your own pace. As university students, we can often struggle to balance our time between the different commitments we face whether they be academic, social or professional. Virtual internships offer students the flexibility to gain new skills in an industry of your choosing.
In this uncertain time, we must all adapt to the increasing utilization of digital technology.
In our current state of quarantine, virtual internships represent a great opportunity to pick up some new skills and gain insights from the convenience of your own home.
To find out more about InsideSherpa’s programs you can check out https://www.insidesherpa.com/.
Not sure where to get started? Here are a couple of programs that we think you'll love:
Citi Institutional Banking Virtual Internship Program: https://tinyurl.com/y8eunrec
Grant Thorton Audit Virtual Experience: https://tinyurl.com/y8zg6ds7
Future IM/Pact Investment Management Virtual Program: https://tinyurl.com/y7m5xajy