'Be bold': students share their top tips for finding an internship

Sriram Chandrasekaran sitting outside Melbourne School of Design
Sriram Chandrasekaran believes his internship helped him develop a “competitive edge”

In April 2019, Master of Engineering students Kexin Hu (Environmental) and Sriram Chandrasekaran (Mechanical) and Master of Information Systems student Yubei He shared their insights into landing an internship as part of the MSE Professional Skills event ‘How I found my internship… students tell all’.

The students shared their unique accounts of how interning has boosted their skills and experience – and has even led to full time work.

Read on for key facts about internships and for the students’ top insights.

Melbourne School of Engineering Internships

Master of Engineering and IT students are able to complete an internship through the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) subject ENGR90033 Internship, which allows students to integrate their theoretical knowledge with professional industry experience.

Students can find their internship in a number of ways, including by sourcing their own, taking part in an international internship or by applying for a University-sourced opportunity.

So, which one is right for you?

University-sourced internships

Students with a H2B average who have completed at least 50 credit points can apply for a University-sourced internship through a competitive process.

Yubei He, who interned with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), says she applied eight times before she attended MSE’s ‘Focus on Internship ENGR90033’ session, where she learnt to target her applications and improve her resume and cover letter. Once she had a better understanding of some of the intricacies of targeting her application to the organisation, Yubei successfully secured an interview and subsequently an offer from EWB.

Kexin Hu, Sriram Chandrasekaran and Yubei He sharing their insights into landing an internship at an MSE Professional Skills Series event.
Kexin Hu, Sriram Chandrasekaran and Yubei He shared their insights into landing an internship at an MSE Professional Skills Series event.

Sriram Chandrasekaran, who interned at Davey Water Products, used the University’s EmployMe tool to build and refine his application documents and attended an internship session hosted by the MSE Industry Placement Team.

Kexin Hu, who interned with the Melbourne School of Engineering’s 2025 Infrastructure Program, successfully secured her position through the ENGR90033 student portal. Kexin used LinkedIn as a tool to establish her professional image and believes that keeping your profile up-to-date helps employers to find you.

Self-sourced internships

Students can also source their own internships – without having to meet a minimum WAM requirement – and apply to have it approved by the ENGR90033 subject coordinator.

Sourcing an internship on your own is all about accessing the “hidden” job market – by building your professional networks and “being bold”, students who’d succeeded told us.

Kexin said that a good way to build networks is to make the most of some of the less formal networking opportunities available, such as by attending ‘Employer Talks’, to engage in a conversation about studies and explore shared areas of interest with an employer. But as with formal networking events, preparation is key, according to Kexin.

The benefit to sourcing your own internship is that you get to be creative and approach the people and organisations you most want to work with. It’s not always about approaching the large organisations – students have had just as valuable an experience in small to medium enterprises and start-ups as in larger firms.

So why intern?

Only 12 months ago, Yubei struggled with the idea of what she would do after she had finished her degree.

Now, she has not only completed her internship with EWB, she has successfully secured a graduate position with Microsoft in China. Yubei attributes her understanding of the graduate market to the ENGR90033 Internship program and the workshops she attended.

She says the experience also gave her invaluable insight into Australia’s working culture, which helped her make the decision about whether to pursue her career here in Australia or in her home country of China.

For Sriram, interning was all about learning the “nuance” of professional workplaces. Beyond technical knowledge, Sriram believes his internship helped him develop knowledge around workplace custom and culture – all of which has helped him to develop a competitive edge.

“An internship helps you to stand out,” Sriram said.

Looking for more support?

The Melbourne School of Engineering runs ‘Focus on Internship Applications’ which is your chance to have a guided independent session to focus your internship planning.

The University’s Stop 1 provides a series of online tools and resources to help students build their skills in job seeking, as well as appointments for on-on-one tailored support.