Beautiful Fiji – tropical and remote, known worldwide as an island destination, a honeymooner’s paradise, and a vacationer’s dream. To Will Myers, recent Auburn MBA alum, it served a whole different function—a summer internship location.
Auburn’s on-campus MBA curriculum includes an internship during the summer semester (required for those with less than three years work experience, encouraged for everyone else). Students seek out a variety of internships across the country in fields, industries, and roles that most benefit their careers. Such flexibility and freedom in the internship search obviously leads to a unique set of experiences for each cohort, but rarely does an opportunity as unique as Will’s present itself.
Will says he spent his summer “helping teach business practices and skills to a family, the McCays, who owned a small-holder sustainable farm called Cegu Valley Farm.” The family-owned farm produced a sold produce, chickens & ducks, coconut oil, local honey, even baked goods. Will’s background in engineering, coupled with his business education, gave him the skills to work in a variety of ways. “On the business side,” Will remembers, “I helped the McCays with strategy development and long-term planning” in addition to “some basic accounting and advertising practices.” But he certainly got his hands dirty too, helping the family build structures around the farm, husk coconuts, catch fish, and even milk cows.
Choosing such a unique internship was both practical and generous. “I chose this internship because I would love to start my own company one day, so working with a small business made sense,” notes Will. He adds, “I really wanted to be able to use my education to help a business that wouldn't normally be able to afford an intern with an MBA education.” It’s unrealistic for a family in Fiji like the McCays to hire a consultant to give operational, managerial, and strategic business suggestions. But Will was able to do just that, all the while fulfilling his internship requirement and experiencing a summer in Fiji.
The internship was a perfect fit for Will, who firmly believes businesses shouldn’t be so profit-driven that they forgo opportunities to provide other types of value, too. “While it was a lot of work, I really felt like I was able to make a difference,” he recalls. “It opened up a big part of the world for me.”
As for advice for anyone traveling to Fiji for vacations or internships, Will has just one: “Always make sure to check your clothes for ‘mud nests,” nests of wasp larvae that adult wasps attach to the inside of clothes hanging out to dry. “I learned all of this one day after not checking my shorts.”
Want to know how you can study aborad or secure your own internship in Fiji? Contact Kate Thornton, Director of Global Education email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the following link to learn more about the study abroad opporutnity coming up Summer '16! http://www.humsci.auburn.edu/global/fiji.php