Gaining more from doing varied, multiple internships

Mr Leonard Neo.
Mr Leonard Neo.PHOTOS: COURTESY OF LEONARD NEO, GLENDA KEE
Ms Glenda Kee.
Ms Glenda Kee.PHOTOS: COURTESY OF LEONARD NEO, GLENDA KEE

For two millennials, it is a case of one internship not enough.

Mr Leonard Neo, 25, a final-year student at the Singapore Management University, believes serving multiple internships has taught him to be flexible in a way a single internship cannot.

"My choice to do multiple internships stemmed from the desire to take up as many learning opportunities as possible," said Mr Neo, who is doing a double degree in political science and corporate communications.

He has done internships at Singapore Airlines (Scandinavia) and Bell Pottinger Asia in stints since April 2015 and is now doing one at the British High Commission in Singapore - all involving public relations work.

On what he has learnt, Mr Neo cited the need to adapt to different organisations, "each with its own unique roles in an economy and interests that need to be advanced". He also believes his internship stints have helped him to identify the areas he is "particularly passionate about or inclined towards".

Ms Glenda Kee, 23, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at the National University of Singapore, said her internships at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in 2015 and at the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) last year have allowed her to view issues through different lenses.

DESIRE TO LEARN

My choice to do multiple internships stemmed from the desire to take up as many learning opportunities as possible.

MR LEONARD NEO, who has had stints at Singapore Airlines (Scandinavia) and Bell Pottinger Asia and is serving an internship at the British High Commission in Singapore.

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

I was able to view issues from the perspective of a large-scale ministry and also at a more personal level through an internship at a voluntary welfare organisation.

MS GLENDA KEE, who did internships at the Ministry of Manpower in 2015 and at the Singapore Cancer Society last year. 

"I was able to view issues from the perspective of a large-scale ministry and also at a more personal level through an internship with a voluntary welfare organisation (VWO)," said Ms Kee, who was an intern at the MOM's National Human-Capital Office and the SCS Rehabilitation Centre.

She also did an internship at the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation's public relations department in 2013, where she was given "a lot of autonomy to plan and execute events". She describes this stint as her most memorable experience.

The internships have helped to bridge the gap between her field of study and her ambition to work either in the public service or at a VWO, she said.

"I've always had an interest in solving social issues and tackling inequality, despite studying engineering," she told The Straits Times of her internship choices.

Tay Hong Yi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2017, with the headline 'Gaining more from doing varied, multiple internships'. Print Edition | Subscribe