Finding an internship when you are a foreign student. With the support of the Talent & Career Department
Published on 02/6/2019
Published on 02/6/2019
Finding an internship is often a requirement in higher education and one that is a real challenge for students. It is often a question of understanding the codes, having self-confidence and receiving a little help from your personal network. But when you arrive in France as an international student, finding an internship can quickly turn into an assault course. Here we take a closer look at this challenge and the support offered by the Talent & Career department.
At NEOMA BS, the Talent & Career department has developed suitable procedures and set up a range of complementary facilities to assist students and facilitate their research.
Finding out who you are and what you want to do
First of all, having as precise an idea as possible of your professional project is obviously a major asset. However, this is not necessarily a prerequisite.
“An internship is above all a learning experience, which helps students to clarify their professional project.” explains Hadrien Simon, who works with students on the individual trajectory course. “An internship can also be seen as a way to exclude or confirm career possibilities. For undecided students, this can be an excellent opportunity.”
“The individual trajectory course is a real bonus, helping us to identify, understand and highlight our skills to recruiters,” says Sahil, an Indian student on the Msc Supply Chain Management programme. “And on a personal level, it also allows you to improve yourself.”
Vicky Millar, Career Consultant, adds, “Finding your way is no easy task. And the question ‘What do I have to do?’ is one that we are unable to an answer. On the other hand, during a face-to-face, telephone or video interview, we are able to provide the students who contact us with ideas and techniques for self-reflection and taking action that they will find useful throughout their careers: to develop their autonomy, gain self-confidence, etc.”
Techniques to see and be seen
To help with the search for an internship, the techniques and best practices for writing a CV, writing a strong cover letter, enquiring about applications with tact, preparing for a job interview or even writing a thank you e-mail, are addressed during specific sessions on campus. These sessions are held in English, German, Spanish and French. “The individual trajectory courses were a great help in writing my CV and cover letter. We receive a lot of tips and advice during these lessons,” adds Sahil.
Students from a wide range of backgrounds also benefit from specific support to develop their LinkedIn profile during the course. This is essential today and yet often poorly used by these ‘digital natives’.
The Talent & Career Department has also developed a platform that groups together job offers in a network that is exclusive to NEOMA BS. “Students can post their applications and conduct their job interviews here. This is a real advantage for all our students," explains Vicky Millar. "Both French students, who may be on exchange abroad, and foreign students who are not necessarily able to meet their potential future employer for geographical reasons.”
Using your network successfully
A major advantage NEOMA BS has, and to which the career consultants often draw the students' attention to, is the tremendous potential of the NEOMA Alumni network, which includes almost 60,000 members. This is an excellent means to help you to refine your professional project and increase your opportunities, because the network operates even in countries where no professional relationships are in place to help kick start your career.
“I would really like to stay in France for my internship,” explains Sahil. "But I don't speak French... and only a few of the offers available on the platform in logistics are open to non-French speakers. This is not the case for students who are looking for opportunities in marketing, finance or as data analysts. For the moment, I have not contacted any of the alumni. That's the next step. I'm not giving up!”
The Career Consultants within the Talent & Career department are extremely attentive to this point. “We explain how to access the network, what the rules are and how to use it,” says Vicky Millar.
Another advantage, which greatly facilitates the process, is the database listing all the internships and work placements that have been completed over the past two years. “Students can see which companies have hired which students, the type of contract and length of the internship. Other information shared includes the position and assignments allocated to the intern and whether the internship was successful. It is a huge network of nearly 12,000 internships, all of which are accessible to our students. This decision-making aid is extremely valuable.”
Finally, we can count on all the Neomians to help in these matters. Support groups have been created on the social networks and the sharing of information concerning internships or recruitment is highly successful via such channels.
A career consultant to remove any remaining obstacles and facilitate procedures
Internship agreements, pro contracts, apprenticeships... sometimes the obstacles can be of an administrative nature. For such reasons, the Talent & Career department can count on the experience of its 8 full-time Career Consultants located on the Reims and Rouen campuses.
Each has their own area of expertise (Latin America, Asia, the Middle East,...) and acts as an interface with companies all over the world.
Each year more than 6000 internship agreements are signed: in French, English, Spanish...