Kimberley Thompson completed a BCom, majoring in Management, and a BA with Philosophy, Political Studies and Economics, likens Otago’s Internship Programme to a gelato shop - tasting several testers before you get your scoop (or two).
A curiosity to seek out new opportunities led Kimberley to the Programme and a subsequent wealth of early life experiences.
"From the moment I discovered the Programme I knew what my plans were," Kimberley says.
"It provided an income as well as an amazing learning curve. I knew I had a broad degree and still had no idea what direction I wanted to go in. The Internship Programme provided a number of opportunities."
That would appear to be an understatement. After various placements with the University of Otago Human Resources division where she was involved with research, Campus Temps, staff mentor seminars, recruitment, payroll and as a PA, Kimberley completed her internship with Administration and Payroll.
With the confidence she gained in not only beating off the challenge of others applying for internships but in having the ability to communicate her ideas, be personable, and "simply just being able to create and hold a conversation" Kimberley headed to England on exchange to study at Essex University. There she studied four politics papers - Environmental Politics, Authoritarianism, Middle Eastern Politics and Post-war German Politics – and experienced an overseas study exchange at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.
"It was amazing," she says.
"I even studied Management of Fashion Design. As well as studying I did a lot of travelling. I managed to tick off 20 countries on my list of places to visit."
So what advice does Kimberley have for those considering applying for an Internship?
"Definitely do it. There are no negatives about doing an internship. You may not want to take a year off studying but there are even Internships which go for six to eight months. It can fit perfectly and only extends your degree for a year while getting paid," she enthuses.
"It allows you to try out several positions and really see which ones you can see yourself doing for a few years and ones that don't offer you what you are looking for. It’s a much better way than as a graduate position or first job.
"My confidence about the way I look on paper, present myself in an interview and my personal abilities had increased ten-fold since doing the internship and exchange. It is definitely the ideal combo and the perfect way to complete my university degree."
Kimberley says she can’t express enough gratitude for being offered such amazing opportunities.
"All the support you need is right at your doorstep and the programme can be exceptionally flexible.
"All in all, I view it as the best decision I ever made while being at Otago."
Kimberley completed her degree and was successful in securing a role with Coca-Cola. Kimberley now works as a Sales Account Executive at Hubbards Foods Ltd.