Internships: the good, the bad, and the reality

by May 17, 2021

When it comes to internships, there are lots of different opinions. Some people love them – hello professional experience, networking opportunities, and confidence building! Others might think of internships as a bit of waste of time, just a chance to get coffees for higher-ups.

So are internships worth it? According to Daniel, an engineering (honours) student who landed an internship with DHL Express, that’s a big YES!

We chatted to Daniel about the good, the bad, and the ugly of internships to find out how interning can help progress your career while still at uni.


Thanks for chatting to us, Daniel! Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the process of attaining your internship?

I initially started looking for placements on CareerHub, LinkedIn and other sites offering job opportunities. At first, this did not look promising, as many companies run internships over summer and applications generally close around July, which meant I was late.


I then started reaching out to family and friends within preferred industries of my liking. I got many introduction emails and leads but little opportunities were ever offered. 


My family is involved within the logistics industry and my father had a contact within the DHL network. After an initial meet, I emailed my resume and cover letter to their HR after and was offered a video interview. This was to discuss my main objectives and goals I wished to obtain whilst undertaking my second internship. The process was done over two calls, after which I was asked whether I could attend the main office for a face-to-face interview with the management team.


After this, I was contacted and offered an internship under the programs and operations team working with the engineers. 


What do you look for in an internship?  

What is important in an internship is a placement of value within a great company. This translates to an environment where I can use the skills I have learnt through university to further develop professional skills for full time employment.


Some priorities I looked for were:

  • work ethic
  • employee interaction
  • a basic value system across all levels of the business. 


What did a day in the life of your internship look like?

A day in the life of my internship was ensuring I was at the office on time, prepared and ready for the day.


This involved getting work done within my working hours and outside of work to ensure the team and I were always up to date, whether it be project updates or any other tasks at hand. I woke up excited to get to work as my team was always happy to see me and the interactions were both professional and enthusiastic. 


What was your favourite part of your internship?

My favourite part of the internship was working alongside the exceptional colleagues at DHL. The people in my team were just amazing. I was always encouraged to do my best, given ample help from any person I approached and really given a sense of confidence through interactions with the people I worked around.


I worked on a heap of projects, and was always encouraged to ask as many questions as I could throughout to gain a high-level overview of the entire project.


One highlight would be coordinating delivery of new cages which will be adopted across the entire network. 


Were you able to learn any new skills? Go through any career development steps?

I have definitely learnt some new skills which I will be able to adapt for future employment and my last year of studies. One element really enforced through my supervisor was attention to detail and always producing the highest quality of work possible. This was done through meeting legal and regulatory requirements when producing documentation for senior level staff and contractors.


Another vital skill further I developed was communication skills. My skills in this area were refined through constant communication when working on delivery projects.


Confidence was another attribute I gained. Being treated as an equal in the engineering department by my peers gave me the opportunity to contribute to the processes and not be afraid to get things wrong.


How did you juggle uni work with your internship?

Juggling uni work and the internship was actually more challenging that I thought it would be. I undertook one subject whilst at my placement together with a Work Integrated Learning 2 subject.


The combined load of uni and work meant I was forced to work on uncompleted tasks at home after hours or on the weekends.


What was the expectation of your internship vs the reality?

As this was the first big multinational corporation I had ever worked for, it was quite daunting coming in only having worked for smaller businesses. I was worried that I would be thrown into a corporate body just as a cog in the wheel and under qualified to work alongside colleagues.


I could not have been more wrong.


The culture within DHL is second to none. The employees from day one were friendly, offered me help and told me to ask any questions that came up during the day.


How did your internship connect to your studies at UTS?

The main connections I witnessed whilst working would be the skills I have learnt through university thus far. The skills which benefited me most were my computer-aided design (CAD) skills used over many subjects since year one, time management, interpersonal skills and creating professional documentation.


University teaches us the skills needed for working within teams and this was definitely a big contributor to my teamwork whilst involved within the programs and operations team at DHL Express.


And finally, any tips or tricks for students looking to land an internship?

My best advice is keep trying, especially during these times of uncertainty.


There are various companies out there willing to take on interns to benefit both you and their business. Whether it is paid or unpaid, weigh up the benefits you could gain from the opportunity and look to the future. It could even end with a position being offered to you.


Best of luck to you all 🙂


Find out more about how to make an internship work for you, and get all the support you need to start your interning journey, at


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron

Communications Assistant

Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a UTS Communications (Creative Writing) graduate, and current Communications Assistant at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, and elsewhere.

Daniel Lazarus

UTS Engineering (Honours) student