Before she began her Master of Business in Information Systems at the Adelaide campus of Torrens University Australia, Clarice Forrc already knew her way around the world of business.
On top of a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA, she came to Torrens University in 2020 with seven years of experience as a Business Product Analyst in the banking sector. Despite having achieved so much already, she was ready to learn a new set of skills and try out some different career paths to see where she might want to go next.
Clarice knew that one of the best ways to try out some different career options would be to complete some internships while she was studying. Eager to get as much diverse experience as possible during her master’s, she signed up for no less than three different internships.
“I got my first placement in the second trimester, another placement in the third trimester and then in the last trimester I had this opportunity at the Social Enterprise Hub,” said Clarice.
What is the Social Enterprise Hub?
The Social Enterprise Hub is a service provided by Torrens University that acts as a student-led consulting agency, linking students to internship, placement and consultancy opportunities with organisations that have a social mission.
Through this program, students can gain valuable experience on-the-job, while getting to do something positive for the world. Plus, partner organisations get to take advantage of all the skills that students have to offer. It’s a win-win situation for all parties.
Students at Torrens University are regularly sent information about internship and placement opportunities, including placements through the Social Enterprise Hub.
“I received an email from Torrens University calling on students interested in participating in this first opportunity at the Social Enterprise Hub. When I read this email, what caught my attention was the possibility of working with real companies,” explained Clarice.
“I visited the website to confirm the information and learn more about SEH. I went back to my email, clicked on the link provided and filled in my details. After that, they accepted my application and an interview was arranged.”
Linking Futures project to assist Indigenous businesses
The role that Clarice applied for through Social Enterprise Hub was as Project Manager for Linking Futures, an innovative cross-cultural education, training and facilitation initiative that helps businesses and the government to work with Aboriginal clients, and to meet the expectations of the communities in which they operate.
With Clarice having so much experience to bring to the organisation, it didn’t take long for Linking Futures to see her potential and offer her the role.
“On the day of the interview, the interviewer asked me several questions in order to understand my motivation for taking part in this initiative and my professional experience. After that first interview, they emailed me the approval of my application,” Clarice said. Students who participate in the Social Enterprise Hub are assigned real-world projects by the ‘client’ organisation.
These are meaningful projects that can have a real impact on the business, so it’s important that students are fully briefed before beginning their new role.
“After the first meeting with the client (Linking Futures), I had the main information in hand: for example, the project's mission, the client's profile and the project objective. So, I could see the big picture of the project and what we had to deliver,” Clarice explained.
“Then, because I am a professional with initiative, I started to organise meetings with the team to have an initial chat about their expectations, motivations and interests. I think this is an important step when you need to work as a team.
From that, we started planning to create the project stages, divide responsibilities, etc. Sharing what each one expected from this experience and which activities they felt more comfortable working on was also very important. From there, the actions began.
The Social Enterprise Hub placement qualifies as a subject unit
This means that you have a little bit less to juggle, during the time when you’re completing it: you don’t have to balance an extra unit and a placement at the same time.
“Considering my experience with internships,” Clarice explained, “I would say that this project at the Hub became easier to manage than the others only because I was able to use the internship as a subject… it was less overwhelming with Social Enterprise Hub than with my previous experiences.
Clarice felt right at home in her role, but she also discovered she was learning a lot and gaining confidence and experience along the way.
Through this project, she was able to begin practising directly some of the new skills she was learning through her master’s degree.
“My responsibilities as a Project Manager came naturally due to my personality and self-motivation in helping the team develop and define goals. Besides, I was the one with the most work experience.
I think the university can prepare you for the real world in a way since you work hard with your study routine. However, experiencing a real work project can help you put in place the full knowledge accumulated during the course; I truly believe in this.
Overall, participating in this experience gave me more maturity in dealing with clients, understanding all stages of the project, dealing with the high expectations of clients and improving the skills I acquired during the master's degree.
“The real world of business has some aspects to it that you will only learn if you experience it.”
Clarice graduated with her Master of Business in Information Systems at Torrens University in December 2022. Just before finishing her degree, Clarice secured an exciting role ‘working for good’ as a Business Analyst at the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Clarice found that her time with Torrens University and with Linking Futures during the Social Enterprise Hub program helped her secure and thrive in her new position.
“In my case, I would say that my studies helped a lot in my current position - not just because I am a HD student, but also because I was able to adequately answer the questions in the interview process for my current job and also relate the questions fully to my experience at the Social Enterprise Hub at that time,” explained Clarice.
Since then, Clarice has embarked on an exciting new journey as an ICT Business Analyst at South Australia's Department of Treasury and Finance. In this role, she thrives on analysing and enhancing business processes to drive results and create a lasting impact. Clarice is dedicated to delivering successful outcomes that empower the organisation to thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of economic, social and financial policy and services.
Clarice's advice for other students who might be considering a role through the Social Enterprise Hub
“The advice I would give other students is: don't miss this opportunity! Take it seriously and don't think of it as a subject just to get grades,” Clarice emphasised.
“This experience will be important when you start looking for a job. Companies don't care if you are a student with good or bad grades: they want to know if you are able to do the job and if you can help them with the company's challenges.
Thereby, for you to be able to do the job you need to have a minimum of adequate experience, and thus show enough confidence and knowledge to do the tasks.
From my point of view, only real-world experience can provide that confidence, and the Social Enterprise Hub is undoubtedly able to provide Torrens students with the necessary experience to enter the real world of business.
Are you curious about the internships on offer via the Social Enterprise Hub, or perhaps you want to become a valued industry partner?
Find out everything you need to know about the Social Enterprise Hub here.