Employer: Fintech Australia
Student: Rehan Dalmeida, Macquarie University, MBA
Rehan Dalmeida has been working for at Fintech Australia, the national association for the Fintech industry, for almost a year now. Fintech Australia supports the Fintech community through advocacy, government lobbying, support, education and network development.
The international MBA student, now in his final year at Macquarie University, started out with an internship supporting the organisation’s PR director after attending one of Ribit’s “Fintern Fever” speed-networking events.
“I was actually at another networking event when I met a rep from Ribit,” Rehan explains. “The speed-dating format of Fintern Fever sounded really interesting, and I thought why not? Plus, I wanted to learn more about what opportunities were out there.”
“Something that really stood out at the event, was that the majority of the students were from technical backgrounds. But of course, Fintech companies need PR and marketing too. The companies I spoke to were really pleased to meet me actually. If you are interested in working in the Fintech space, but in a non-technical discipline, such as marketing or PR for instance, there are a lot of opportunities. Fintern Fever is definitely not just for engineers and software developers.”
As an intern, you often do not generally have a fixed role and this can give you a great advantage. You get the opportunity to learn about many different aspects of the company you are working for, making it a very valuable experience. Something that Rehan knows all too well.
“Back in India, I had both been an intern, during my previous studies in engineering, and employed interns in my department, when I was working full-time. What this had taught me, was that as an intern you tend to work across several projects and departments, really getting to know the company and its people.”
For this reason, it is important when choosing an internship to get a well-rounded view of the company and work culture before you apply. This is where Fintern Fever comes in.
“Normally you wouldn’t get a chance to find this out until you are at the interview stage. It saves a lot of time getting to meet your potential employers in this relaxed and informal setting first. You still have to go through the regular recruitment process, even if you do make some good connections. But generally, you already know it’s going to be worth the effort. It prevents a lot of time wasting for both sides.”
Rehan believes an internship is particularly valuable for international students, and for undergraduates or masters students who have not worked before.
“Companies often find it hard to evaluate international applicants, so it can be harder to get an interview. An internship gives you the chance to showcase your skills and also to learn about the work culture.”
“Also, with the more relaxed setting of a networking event like Fintern Fever, you get a chance to present yourself to potential employers where you might have struggled to get an interview through the traditional application process.”
“An internship can be an invaluable tool for anyone studying. It gives students the opportunity to understand how their skills will be implemented in the real world. Plus, if you choose internships across a broad range of sectors, you can find out what really interests you.”
Is Rehan planning to stay in the Fintech sector?
“Definitely, I’ve learnt so much about the industry through the internship and made a lot of connections. Fintech is a rapidly growing space, there are so many startups. Maybe the role will be different, but definitely tech in general and Fintech especially, is where I plan to stay.”
And would he recommend Fintern Fever?
“A lot of people ask me for advice, and I’ve been recommending Ribit to everyone as one of the best opportunities for finding an internship. Even if you end up attending an event but don’t take up a role, it’s still worth going along, just for the experience to learn about the startup up space.”