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Otago Internship Programme FAQs for students

If this page doesn't answer a question you have about the Otago Internship Programme please email the Internship Manager, or visit us in room 2.17A in the Atrium (Level 2) of the Commerce Building.

My Studies

Do I have to do an internship to complete my BCom?
No. Participating in the Internship Programme is voluntary.

Can only BCom students do an internship?
Yes. You must be enrolled in a BCom to register for an internship.

Can any BCom student take part in the Internship Progamme?
Admission shall be subject to the approval of the Academic Leader, Internship Programme, but the basic requirements are as follows:

  • Have completed two years of a BCom when you begin your Internship
  • High academic grades - normally a 'B' average
  • Show appropriate motivation and attitude
  • Successfully completed the Internship Training Programme
  • Have at least one semester remaining of your BCom, including some Major requirements

You can’t participate in the Internship Programme if you’re a:

  • Finalist
  • International student
  • Studying business subjects under another undergraduate degree (eg BA, BSc)
  • Studying towards a postgraduate qualification.

During my internship am I still enrolled at Otago?
Yes, for 1 x 18-point, one or two semester, distance learning paper – BSNS 301.

  • IMPORTANT: You must enrol for the academic distance learning paper (BSNS 301) BEFORE you’ve completed your second University year and before you start your internship. This allows the Academic Leader to approve so that you can complete BSNS 301 during your internship and alongside your work for your employer - part of which requires you to complete a Business Project covering a topic (or topics) of interest identified by your employer that is specific to their business.

How much does the distance learning paper (BSNS 301) cost?
BSNS 301 will cost the standard tuition fee for a full-year, 18 point, 300-level distance learning Commerce paper.

Can I complete additional university papers while completing my internship?
No, a full-time job combined with the academic requirements of BSNS 301 will be a very demanding workload.

Can I go on student exchange after my internship?
This is certainly possible. You’ll be encouraged to discuss your plans for the remainder of your study with the Exchange Office or the Academic Manager in the Dean’s Office of the Otago Business School.

Can I do an Internship later on in my studies?
Any variation from completing an internship directly after your second year of BCom studies will need to be discussed with the Internship Manager. 

If you’re accepted onto the Programme you must return to Otago after your internship to complete at least one more semester of your business studies, including some Major requirements. You won’t be accepted into the Internship Programme if you’re not an undergraduate who’ll be returning to Otago to complete the final year of your degree at the end of your internship. 

If you are completing a double degree, eg: BCom/BA, then you may have completed more than two years of University study and still be able to complete an internship, but you must not have complete more than two years of your BCom studies.

Will doing an internship stop me from doing postgraduate study?
No. You may progress to postgraduate study the same as any other BCom student.

Are international students eligible to do an internship?
Unfortunately, no. Current New Zealand government immigration policy doesn’t allow international students to work full-time, which is a key part of the Internship Programme.

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The internship role and the employer

What sort of employers will offer internship opportunities?
Otago interns are placed in a variety of roles across public and private sectors and in small, medium and large businesses - not just to businesses located locally here in Dunedin, but the length and breadth of New Zealand.  See what our interns are saying about the Otago internship Programme.

See what our interns are saying about the Otago Internship Programme.

What kind of work will I be doing?
This will be a productive, challenging and satisfying time for you. Employers will provide real jobs, set clear objectives for you and provide real opportunities for you to develop your skills.

An internship role can take many different forms depending on the business needs. For example, you may:

  • Fill a vacant role
  • Work on a new or specialist project specific to your business
  • Assist in testing out a new role
  • Undertake daily tasks to support your more experienced employees
  • Assist in the development of social media and/or marketing strategies
  • Set up a website for your business
  • Take on general HR duties, or
  • Be employed in a similar way to a more traditional graduate rotation programme.

Can I choose the location to work for the internship programme? (eg Dunedin, Auckland)

As part of the internship process you’ll be asked your location preference. This information will be used as part of shaping your employment opportunities. However, the final locations available to you will be based on the positions and locations determined by the employers.

We’re currently limiting the locations to within New Zealand. However, depending on the participating employers in a given year, there may be occasions when internship roles are available on the east coast of Australia.

How do I get an internship role?
The Internship Programme is run along the lines of a standard employment situation where the employer advertises full-time vacancies to approved interns who select the internship role(s) they want to apply for. Applicants apply directly to employers who follow their normal recruitment process to interview and select the best applicant for the role, and then negotiate a fixed-term contract with the chosen intern.

Can I find my own internship employer?
Yes, but you’ll need to let the Internship Manager know so they can liaise with the organisation and check their suitability.

What are my responsibilities as an Intern?

  • As a student and ambassador for the University of Otago - you must uphold the good name of the University
  • As an employee - you’re required to behave in a professional manner, comply with all conditions of employment and be aware of any issues of confidentiality of the work being undertaken
  • Take responsibility for your own learning and reflect on your development
  • Complete the Business Project for your employer to a standard that is of value to their business
  • Keep in contact with the Internship Manager and your Academic Mentor throughout your internship - keeping them informed of any issues that may arise.


How long is the internship for?

Most internship roles are for one year, or slightly longer if summer holidays on either side are included. The minimum length is six months - covering one semester plus some time on either side.

If your internship is for one year, you’ll be allowed one year to complete the academic requirements for BSNS 301. If your internship is only six months long, you’ll work to complete BSNS 301 in six months but you can negotiate an extra month or two where completion, while in full-time employment, has not been possible.

Will I be paid?
Yes. Internship roles are for a full-time, fixed term contract paid employment. The remuneration package offered should be above the minimum wage, appropriate to your skills and capabilities, and agreed between you and your employer.

Do I get annual leave?
Legislation demands that annual leave is part of the employment agreement you’ll negotiate with your employer.

How do I know the job offer is fair?
We advise all potential interns to discuss any job offer with a trusted friend or family member. And, of course, you’re also welcome to discuss your job offer with the Internship Manager.

What if I cannot complete the internship?
If your internship ends for any reason before the agreed term, this doesn’t mean that you automatically fail the academic distance learning paper (BSNS 301). Always speak to the Internship Manager if you have concerns at any time during your internship.

Can I work part-time during my Internship?
No, whether your internship is six months or one year, you will be working full-time during that period.

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Employability Programme

Can any BCom student do the Internship Training Programme?
No, only students who intend to apply for the Internship Programme are eligible.

How is the Employability Programme different to the internship?
The Employability Programme must be completed by all those students considering undertaking an internship role.  Students are required to apply and interview for a place on the Employability Programme. Following completion of the Employability Programme students are interviewed again by the Internship Manager and advised whether they’re approved to apply for internship positions.

Can I do the Employability Programme and then make a decision whether I want to participate on the Internship Programme
Yes. Students may withdraw from the Internship Programme at the end of the Employability Programme. But please talk this through with the Internship Manager first.

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My life

What do I do about my flat?
We can’t guarantee prospective interns will be successful in gaining an internship role, and as placements begin and end at different times, you’ll need to consider your flatting arrangements.

I have family and personal commitments in Dunedin, can I complete an Internship here?
Absolutely. You may restrict your opportunities for gaining an internship, but the Internship Manager works closely with local businesses to identify local opportunities and many interns have been placed locally.

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