I had requested to do a strategic management internship. Apparently, there is no such thing. During the interview with the AIP consultant, he just called it a "consulting internship." I suggest they change the title. In hindsight, why would any company give an intern any managerial role anyway?
After I paid my deposit, AIP soon found a company for me in Malaysia. In the job description, I saw roles for "market research," "partnership development," and support "in performing various projects." I asked what aspects of the job fell under consulting, and the reply was that the "consulting aspects of the internship would be represented through identification and evaluation of specific business opportunities and market trends, as well as in the partnership development aspect."
I had the interview with my potential boss, and I really got the impression that this was more a sales job--just send out e-mails to gain new clients. Furthermore, it was to be all online--I would not meet anybody to learn negotiation and consulting skills (let alone any "strategic management"). I expressed my concerns to my consultant, and he assured me I would "have more freedom and work on business development, strategic expansions and be more involved in terms of decision making." Well, that sounded good, and I was hoping to gain some business consulting experience; so, I took it.
It turned out that my first instincts were right. I was just sending e-mails all day: no market research, no partnership development, no performing various projects, no business development, no strategic expansions, and no decision making! Just sending e-mails! I only got to do something different after I spoke with my boss about it, but the crux of my job would still be sending e-mails. What’s worse, I looked on my company's website. It turns out that they were advertising for what I was doing, and my job role was not “Strategic Management Intern”; it was “Business Development Intern”!
My mistake was not contacting AIP after I began my internship. In the contract, it states that if you encounter any problems, AIP will talk to your company to try to resolve them, or find you a new company.
However, I really wish that AIP would have followed up with me. True, I failed to read the contract carefully, but, for these types of programs, a responsible agency will check in with you regularly to see if everything is going all right. If they had, perhaps I would have had a better experience. Moreover, it’s not always convenient (and cost-effective) for interns to simply switch companies, particularly if they are staying short-term.
Another thing, they came out with location offers in Taiwan and South Korea soon after they gave me my internship in Malaysia. I really wish they had told me about them when I was applying. I would happily have gone to either of those two countries since they are more aligned with my background.
As for what was included in my internship package, I was never informed of any networking events, and I did not receive any certification of achievement from my host company. Frankly, I never heard from AIP again after I paid them the money.
In summary, while my boss was very nice, I didn’t learn very much, and my responsibilities as listed on my initial offer turned out to be inaccurate. I admit that I should have taken a more proactive role in resolving the issue, but I am just surprised there was so much miscommunication between AIP and my company.