Transitioning from University to the work place can be a daunting experience as students often feel that they are not fully equipped for the work place. MCI South Africa, a global Events, Communications & Association Management company granted two events management students from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) with the opportunity to intern at the company. A platform was created for the students to integrate the tools they acquired at varsity into the workplace and knowledge exchange took place. We hear from the two as they share their experience in taking part in the WIL Programme at MCI South Africa.

QUESTION: What kind of challenges & obstacles arose and how did you handle them?

Simnikiwe Mhlawuli

ANSWER: Meeting new people is always interesting, especially when you find them in their comfort zone and having no reference of them, I didn’t know what their expectations were, and what procedures needed to be followed. The process of learning the organizations culture was key, yet challenging at the same time, it took time for me to transition into the culture and learn the ins and outs. In no time – I was familiar with the organization and staff and had better communication with my colleagues –  to the finest details like how one takes their cups of coffee.

– Simnikiwe Mhlawuli

Sphokazi Kala

ANSWER: At the beginning of my internship I found it tough, it was challenging for me to fit into the organization and felt inadequate at times. If I made a mistake or my delivery was inaccurate when presented with a task, I was not directly addressed by my superior. Her dissatisfaction was not explicit enough for me to know what error I had made, it was only once I had learnt my managers management style and communicated with my colleagues on a more social platform did I eventually feel less inferior and confident enough to engage with her.

– Sphokazi Kala

QUESTION: If you were to give someone else advice about entering the WIL programme, what would it be?

Simnikiwe Mhlawuli

ANSWER: I would honestly tell them that what we learn, the theatrical part is not enough compared to what the WIL programme offers you, it gives you a taste of the real world, rather than being told of what happens in the events business by the books, you get to see it and be a part of it. The biggest thing for me was being taking initiative and being given a lot of responsibility, regardless of how small or big the task was the team was counting on you to deliver, and it wasn’t the same as a lecture nagging you about stuff but the success of a project depended on you. I would advise people joining the WIL programme on 3 things -Time management, prioritizing and if you don’t know ASK it won’t kill you, you are there to learn.

– Simnikiwe Mhlawuli

Sphokazi Kala

ANSWER: Don’t take anything to heart or personal. Don’t be afraid to ask even ifyou think it’s stupid. People have different teaching method, some people are patient and some are not, what I learnt was to take things on, take the contractive criticism and don’t take it to hear but to learn from what I did and better it.

– Sphokazi Kala

QUESTION: Two most important skills you need before entering the work place?

Simnikiwe Mhlawuli

ANSWER: 

Pay close attention: No one has time to repeat themselves, everyone is busy, and you have to catch things the first time it’s said. Work hard: Work has hard as you can, even when you’re not doing anything, look busy. Take Initiative: If you don’t have work to do ask or find something to do. Be able to multitask: Think on your feet, prioritise and get things done.

– Simnikiwe Mhlawuli

QUESTION: What do companies want the students to be equipt with when entering into a WIL programme from your experience?

Simnikiwe Mhlawuli

ANSWER: For interns to be knowledgeable about the company as much as possible, it is much easier to train someone who knows what it is the company is training them for. As an intern, making tea and answering calls, should be one of your specialties. An intern is there to make life easier for all his/her superiors.  A minute spent on making coffee or answering calls means a minute of production lost.

– Simnikiwe Mhlawuli

Sphokazi Kala

ANSWER: First thing I think is to have an idea of the work you’re going to be doing based on the theory and practical’s you did in class, secondly learning to apply & bring new ideas – as much as your there to learn your also there to help the company out and offer them new ways of doing things.

– Sphokazi Kala