MBA student gaining work experience through Social Enterprise Hub

Evan Karras

MBA student Evan Karras now supports Torrens University students by helping them secure internships through its Social Enterprise Hub.

When most students think about getting valuable work experience while studying, they apply for an internship or a placement.

Evan Karras took a slightly different approach. Instead of gaining work experience through organising his own placement, he decided to work with the Social Enterprise Hub (SEH) at Torrens University Australia, organising internships for other students.

“My placement was a little different,” Evan explained, “in that, I had more of a Project Management role working with several different employers and also assisting the SEH manager in coordinating some of the other interns that were placed in the Hub.”

Evan is currently studying a Master of Business Administration at Torrens University, Adelaide Campus, and he is due to complete his degree in 2024.

A proactive and community-focused person, Evan was naturally drawn to the idea of helping his fellow students. Evan’s role as President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) also shaped his unusual decision to take on an internship that involved helping other students to get internships.

“As President of the SRC, I wanted to create an opportunity for our members and other students to intern in the hub to gain valuable industry experience.

Torrens is an industry-focused university, so securing a pathway for students to gain crucial employability skills and learn about best and sustainable business practices in Australia was important to me.

MBA student gaining work experience through the Social Enterprise Hub

So, I approached the Social Enterprise Hub to start this very important relationship and see where both stakeholders could add value,” said Evan.

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 the Social Enterprise Hub, students gain hands-on experience by applying their classroom knowledge to real-world challenges, giving them a competitive edge in the job market where employers seek practical skills and problem-solving abilities. This valuable experience allows students to make a positive impact while developing their skills. Partner organisations also benefit by tapping into the diverse talents and capabilities that students bring to the table. It's a win-win situation for all parties involved, fostering growth and creating meaningful outcomes.

“Projects like those offered by the Hub matter because of the valuable experience students gain from working in it. Not only are we as students gaining valuable experience working with other students together with a client, but we are solving real-world problems,” Evan explained.

“We are partnering with some of these enterprises who themselves might still be in their infancy, and assisting them as they grow.

We are offering real solutions to them and in reality, are actually growing together.”

Evan’s role with the Social Enterprise Hub encompassed a broad range of tasks, from coordinating between students, the SEH and clients, to planning and managing specific projects.

“A lot of my work was strategic planning – assisting the interns with interpreting the project brief and implementing tools within the project scope. I worked closely with other interns in the Hub and coordinated their work with the client, according to the brief.

Along with the Hub Manager, I also was responsible for organising and motivating the other interns and ensuring they were following deadlines and timelines. Ensuring the client was well informed and keeping stakeholder communication strong was also a responsibility of mine.

I had to make sure the Hub and the client met regularly to enable a positive flow of feedback from all stakeholders, so that the brief was met and deadlines were followed,” Evan clarified.

Students participating in SEH consultancy projects

As with all projects run by the Social Enterprise Hub, Evan’s role came with big responsibilities and real-world consequences.

With their SEH consultancy projects, students work on creating real business solutions for clients, and these solutions can make an impact on the success of the enterprise. Not only does that create the possibility of completing meaningful work - it also leads to students gaining valuable experience managing real-world projects in turn, it can often lead to paid work or employment.

“This level of expertise and experience is something I know other universities do not offer their students,” Evan said. “It’s taking the concept of work-integrated learning and creating real-life immersive experiences for students to prosper and continue to learn.

For me that is the unique selling proposition of the Social Enterprise Hub and why I believe it is a crucial stage of any student’s learning journey.”

Soft skills such as communication, self-reflection, people management and emotional maturity are among some of the most in-demand skills out there in business today. These skills can’t be learned via textbooks: they must be practised in real-life situations.

Managing projects and working with students and clients at the Social Enterprise Hub has given Evan a chance to learn and practise some of these valuable soft skills.

“The most important skill I have learnt is resilience,” Evan explained. “Resilience is integral to success in project work: it means persevering, ensuring that a roadblock does not mean a failure and learning how to navigate through issues that arise, finding the best way forward.

My time at the SEH has also taught me the power of communication and how important it is when dealing with multiple stakeholders. For project work to be effective, communication must be clear – to my fellow students, to the Hub manager and to the client.”

As well as learning these valuable soft skills, during his SEH placement Evan got to hone some of those other essential practical skills that employers look for in an MBA graduate.

“Work in the Hub has definitely improved my employability skills,” Evan said, “and this is really what it is all about. Being able to work with industry on a live client brief, and use the tools and theories we have learnt in class, is the perfect way to gain valuable relevant experience in preparation for a career post-graduation.

The Social Enterprise Hub connecting the university and the workplace

The Hub has been the perfect conduit and has allowed me to hone the skills I already have but also to improve the ones I know I will need in my dream career.

Looking inward and using emotional intelligence to make myself more self-aware – as a student, as a leader and as an employee. Working with industry and learning what matters to them – what they are looking for.

Having those real conversations and being able to apply them in my work has given me the most valuable preparation for a career after graduation than I could have hoped.”

With his positive attitude, sense of social responsibility and the maturity he’s demonstrated during his time at the SEH, Evan surely has a bright career ahead of him - no matter where he decides to take it.

Is there any advice that Evan would offer to other students considering taking advantage of the services offered by the Social Enterprise Hub at Torrens University Australia?

“My advice is to absolutely seize the opportunity to work in the Hub and continue to grow as a student, as an employee and as a global citizen,” Evan explained.

“The Hub represents the values of Torrens University so well: be good, be well, be creative, be bold, be global.

It is where we as students can continue to learn outside the classroom and foster the skills we need to succeed after we graduate.

It is where we learn the important employability skills our careers will demand, and where we can improve those skills by partnering with other students and clients to make us the best version of ourselves we can become.”

Are you curious about the internships on offer via the Social Enterprise Hub, or perhaps you want to become a valued industry partner?

Check our Business Courses to learn more
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