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Otago Business School Intern: Mina Atayee

Mina AtayeeMina Atayee completed a six-month Otago Business School internship with fish processor Sealord in Auckland, helping to introduce a new IT system into its head office that has streamlined its trade spend accounting systems.

Acquiring new skills is one of the key advantages of doing an internship. Mina Atayee completed a six-month internship with fish processor Sealord in Auckland, helping to introduce a new IT system into its head office that has streamlined its trade spend accounting systems. The project involved researching the options, costing, liaising with suppliers to build the system, extending in-house capacity, and presenting the finished product to users.She then went on to run an analysis on living wage data within the company before returning to her University studies.

She found it very satisfying to oversee a project from scratch to seeing it making a difference in use in the workplace. “Study stopped being theoretical very quickly with this kind of experience.”

Mina is pleased she was convinced into entering the Internship Programme. It helped to cement the academic knowledge learnt in the first year, but it also showed her skills that were valuable, such as being proactive, prioritising, flexibility, being calm under pressure, and collaboration including how to work with colleagues at all levels and with different skillsets. Establishing a great work ethic and understanding how to manage time was actually one of the biggest things.

The skills Mina learnt complemented her accounting and finance academic studies, but opened her eyes to options and opportunities to add in new papers for future learning.

“It’s reinforced that I am doing exactly what I want to do, and has validated skills that I know I’ll need for entering the workforce.”

As a consequence of participating on the internship programme, Mina identified the importance of seizing every networking opportunity. An opportunity arose to enter a competition run by the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand called Exceptional Mission Challenge. She and her team mate Chelsea Steen-Jones won the South Island category and in doing so won an all-expenses paid trip to Sydney to compete against other regional winners from throughout Australia and New Zealand.

The competition required Mina to, identify a social value initiative for a high tech company, create a business plan and report, and produce a video for the social value initiative. Mina and Chelsea chose Xero and focused on creating educational accounting videos for small business so they could concentrate on their business, rather than the accounting process.

Mina is back at the University of Otago to complete her degree before going on to do her honours degree.

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