Kickstarting Your Career In The New Normal

By Ahmed Wafi

We check in with Nesterns to see what a virtual internship is all about

With the challenges brought upon by COVID-19, many organisations had to adapt. Some companies took extreme measures and went as far as wage cuts and retrenchment; Nestlé instead decided to create unique opportunities for young talent to kickstart their careers.

Like Nesternship, Nestlé's Virtual Internship Programme that was introduced by the Malaysian arm of the Swiss FMCG organisation.

What exactly is a virtual internship? Essentially, it is being an intern remotely. Virtual interns would not only get the same exposures as any other regular intern, but they may also be able to work on exciting key projects with other virtual interns. The end goal is the same: To provide an experiential learning opportunity for university students in a diverse business environment.

To find out more, #teamGRADUAN checked in with three Nesterns (get it? Intern + Nestlé) to discover what in the world a virtual internship is and their experience in Malaysia’s #1 most preferred FMCG organisation.

Annabelle Loh, Nestern in the Channel & Category Sales Department
“Some of the most valuable skills I gained include functional and operational skills in sales, communication skills from demonstrating my ideas during discussions, and time management as well as good planning skills to handle multiple tasks at one time.”

What were your first thoughts when you saw the vacancy for ‘Virtual Internship’?
I came across the advertisement on Facebook and the first thing that came to mind was that this programme would be the best opportunity for me to gain internship experience during these challenging times. I applied immediately without hesitation!

What did you like most about the programme?
Definitely my very friendly team! My manager and mentor are always supportive and helpful in guiding us. I love the collaborative working culture and fun that come with the flexibility. Besides that, the main project I worked on was to survey the post-COVID changes in shopper behaviour. My teammate and I were responsible to track these changes and analyse how these changes affect people’s lives, particularly their shopping habits. My line manager and mentor were very helpful throughout the project and we presented our findings to the Sales Department.

Through this experience, I gained experience in collecting, visualising, and analysing the data to better present and highlight my findings. I learnt how important the sales department is to an FMGC company and that expert strategies and planning go a long way!

What’s the programme structure like?
The virtual internship programme is not a full-time internship. During the internship, Nesterns are allowed to have other commitments, which is important as I was having online classes. Nesterns are free to allocate their time to complete the operational tasks.

Afifah Rizalsham, Human Resources Nestern
"One of the most important things I’ve gained would definitely be communication skills and empathy. It’s not just about conversing with people but also building self-confidence by putting myself out there and always keeping an open mind while carrying out tasks. On top of that, respecting the people I work with is essential! To get a job done, it’s important to understand how your teammate rolls and work around it.”

Tell us about your first day as a Nestern.
I remember being anxious before joining but I told myself to go through the onboarding with a smile and an open mind. As soon as I entered the video call room, I felt reassured and welcomed. Throughout the day, the Nestlé team was very engaging and considerate. They made sure everyone was included and that every bit of information presented was understood by the Nesterns.

I enjoyed my first day. Not only did I get the chance to meet new people across Malaysia, but I also better understood Nestlé as a company and the values they hold that focuses on contributing to communities and making changes in people’s lives.

What was your favourite part of the experience?
It would definitely be the day we paid a visit to the head office to present our project idea to the Head of Human Resources. It felt like the work we put in the last two months has finally paid off! I have had the privilege to work closely on important projects with my teammates, virtually and physically.

I am grateful to have been included in every step of the process. Therefore, to be given the chance to go to the head office was icing on the cake. On that day itself, we were introduced to other interns, given a tour of the company, and observed the work culture. It was a memorable day!

Would you like to further your career at Nestlé?
Nestlé has always been one of the top companies I wish to pursue my career at. It carries values that intrigue me and make me want to be a part of.

The idea of giving back to society and the level of transparency shown by the company motivates me to find my way to be a part of such a prestigious organisation. I have experienced personal and professional growth during my internship period with Nestlé and this is due to the endless opportunities they allow Nesterns to embark on alongside providing constructive feedback and suggestions that open doors to more learning.

Shuet Yee Song, Marketing Nestern – MILO Ready to Drink
“Through the wonderful experience, I got to polish my presentation skills as I had opportunities to present ideas to our managers and externals along with the team. Moreover, the experience enhanced my pitching, negotiation and critical thinking skills. I was also able to utilise ‘big-picture thinking’ to broaden our initiative scope. Furthermore, the virtual internship enabled me to be more agile and flexible to better cope with possible happenings or mishaps.”

What does a Nestern do on a daily basis?
After clearing my inbox, I would attend and schedule meetings. From there, the team would often have brainstorming sessions and discussion spaces to refine our work and propose new initiatives. We have daily and weekly check-ins with our managers to update them about our progress and receive feedback regarding the proposed ideas.

But there would also be ample time to attend online classes and pursue my hobbies during the day.

What was your favourite part of the experience?
Talking to externals! We got the opportunity to pitch to externals. One of those we approached was an environmental organisation. We retrieved a lot of new insights on environmental stewardship and sustainability from that party.

Ready to take the next step in your career? After all, the future of work is at home. You can register for the Nesternship Proramme by clicking here!

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