What’s a typical day like working as a Business Analyst Intern
Ecare: Hi Alex, Congrats on landing an internship! We’d like to invite you to have a chat with us, to give us some feedback on your progress, and to inspire our future students to find their internships! It’s been two weeks, how does it feel like working at Publisher’s Internationale in general?
Alex: Feels full every day. Not too busy as it’s an internship, but I’m satisfied as applying knowledge to valuable result in the practical world.
E: What’s a typical day like working as a full-time intern?
A: My job is based on the database including data collection, data correction, data analysis and data mining. Every day is quite different, based on what task my supervisor currently needs me help him with. One thing that remains the same is I need to deal with SQL database and resolve these tasks with mathematical programming language R.
E: We noticed that you have never worked in a professional environment before. Did you find it challenging?
A: Yes, I was tensed and panic in the first week. As you said, it is a professional working environment I never experienced before, so I spoke and behaved cautiously. In the mean time, I want to get into gear as soon as possible; however, it takes time to get familiar with Pi’s platform and database as well as transferring academic knowledge to useful working skills. But my supervisor Ganesh who is very friendly and helpful, he answered all my questions which helped me a lot at the beginning of internship and made the whole thing much less challenging for me.
E: Have you tried looking for jobs before approaching Ecare? How was the job hunting journey?
A: Yes, I first reached out Ecare last October through a friend’s recommendation. Before joining the internship project and during the time waiting for the internship opportunity, I kept looking for jobs through SEEK and university career center. It turned out that it was very competitive and hard to find a proper first job which could match my study major in Sydney.
E: As a student with solid academic background (1 bachelor + 2 masters), do you think there’s a gap between university students and job market? How did you overcome it?
A: Yes. Definitely, there is a gap between university and job market. From my current experience, the majority gap is the difference between literally understanding the knowledge from academic study and practically using the knowledge in the work. For example, in the university, the assignment is progressive (break into small questions with hints guiding you to the final result) and always has a correct answer. However, at work, these things are gone. Only optimal solution and the way to this solution is various. Sometimes you have to recall everything you have learned to figure out it. The other difference is the demand of deep-level self-study. Most of the time, the knowledge from textbooks is sufficient to accomplish the assignment, so we don’t need to dig in and do further self-study. But at work, there is such demand. The way overcomes it is the willing of keeping self-study and practice them in your work.
E: In your case, do you consider professional training helpful?
A: Yes, maybe not directly relevant but still helpful.
E: Could you tell us more about this?
A: First, perhaps not everything you learned would come in handy, but university courses or professional training would give you a good mapping. I learned SQL as a case course in the 2nd year of undergraduate study which is the most stuff I deal with now. If I didn’t pick the course, the content of my work would be totally different, maybe just entering data to spreadsheet every day. Second, it is important to have the intention of learning especially in the workplace. I haven’t touched SQL for years, but I am willing to learn, so my supervisor demonstrated and taught me the code frequently used in daily work. Also, self-study of handling and processing strings in R allows me to write code to batch process non-numeric data and spare me from tedious, complicated, repeated job.
E: What made them think that you are the right person for the job? (What made you stand out?) and How did you prepare for the interview?
A: My confidence, solid skills and knowledge in this field. For the interview, be calm, confident, think for the interviewer and make them happy.
E: Could you also give our students some tips on job-seeking and preparing for the interview?
A: Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes; show your passion and willing of learning in the future.
Alex has a Bachelor Degree in Advanced Mathematics and a Master Degree in Financial Mathematics. Currently he is pursuing a Master Degree in Actuarial studies in UNSW. With Ecare’s professional training and referral, he successfully landed his first internship in an international media company in the heart of Sydney.