For many years local universities have been organizing summer internship programs for their undergraduates to provide them with exposure to organization operations as part of their life-skill development through participative experiential learning. While internship offers valuable first-hand exposure for undergraduates, such experience generally focuses on the individual, and the breadth and depth of involvement in the host organizations vary case by case.
The IIM Intervarsity Undergraduate Practicum Scheme (‘the Scheme’) is a team- and project-based experiential learning program, providing inter-university interaction and collaborative opportunities to the undergraduates.
Objectives of the Scheme
The Scheme aims:
To provide an opportunity for undergraduates to gain expose to and experience in the operation of real-life organizations;
To enrich undergraduates’ life skill learning through observation and direct participation in local business organizations’ operation, individually and in teams;
To develop the team membership and team leadership competencies of undergraduates
To extend undergraduates’ career planning and development perspectives;
To enable local organizations better understand the aspirations and work behaviors of undergraduates;
To help local organizations explore opportunities and solve problems taking advantage of undergraduates’ talents and innovative ideas.
How does the Scheme Operate
Through the Scheme undergraduates from local universities are organized into teams of five each to undertake projects for local organizations (NGO’s, social enterprises and private businesses) for a period of six weeks during summer.
IIM will be responsible for client solicitation; preliminary project scoping & formulation; team formation; project skill training; project assignment, monitoring, and coordination.
Participating universities will be responsible for undergraduate nomination, field work insurance coverage (as part of the students’ external studies), general liaison and support where and when necessary during the field work period, and granting of study credit, awards or any other recognition as the individual institution considers it appropriate.
Client organizations are responsible for providing the needed information, feedback and material support throughout the project duration to the undergraduates so as to make it feasible and developmental for the undergraduates to complete their project work generating feasible recommendations to the mutual benefits of both parties. Client organizations do not need to pay any fee to any party, but they will need to bear the travel, meal and lodging costs of the undergraduates for project work outside Hong Kong,
Who are Eligible?
All undergraduates starting their third or higher year of study after the summer of the year nominated by their universities are eligible to participate. In case the number of undergraduates nominated exceeds demand, IIM reserves the right to select applicants according to their study, leadership track record, career aspiration and the nature of the projects on hand.
As for client organizations, Corporate Partners of IIM, Management Excellence Award winning companies, and members of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Small and Medium Business will first be approached. Other business and social enterprises will be invited in case the number of projects proposed by the first group falls short of the planned target.
As a pilot scheme, to ensure success and quality support, ten organizations/projects will be entertained. IIM reserves the right to accept or reject proposed projects according to the scope, nature and demands of the client, balancing the time available, undergraduates’ capabilities and other constraints.
What are the Deliverables and Controls?
Each undergraduate project team will elect a team leader and deputy team leader to serve as the key contact point between the team and other stake-holders, particularly the client and the IIM Scheme Coordinator.
Depending on the nature and requirements of the project and agreed project plan, team members need not all attend clients’ office and clock their in’s and out’s every day. However, they are expected to devote full-time (Mon-Fri) to their project work during the six weeks’ period, individually or collectively. Team members not behaving or performing up to the expectations of team members and their clients will be reported to the respective universities and may subject to disciplinary action/sanction. Each team will meet with its assigned Scheme Coordinator on a weekly basis at mutually convenient time. IIM’s Scheme Coordinators will also maintain on-going close contact with client organizations.
Project teams will need to discuss with their respective clients to produce a detailed project plan/proposal outlining the objectives, scope, approach, resources/input needed and what the team plans to do and achieve week by week till project completion by the end of the first week.
By the end of the third week, each team will need to submit a mid-term report to its client and copy to the IIM Scheme coordinator informing them of the progress and any needed modification/fine-tuning of the previously presented and agreed plan.
By the end of the sixth week, project teams will need to submit a final project report to their client detailing the findings, analysis results, conclusions and recommendations.
An oral presentation would be held (either at the client’s premises or in campus, to be agreed), with the all team members, client’s representative(s), IIM Scheme Coordinator,
and the respective university’s representative(s) all present. Clients are expected to feedback on the undergraduates’ project output as well as the interaction and experience during the six weeks’ period.
What about Confidentiality?
Before project commences, participating undergraduates and IIM will sign a non-disclosure letter agreement assuring the client organization that all the information and data provided and collected belong to the client, and that no content would be disclosed to third parties, not even for university class teaching or case writing purposes.
Recognition and Award
Undergraduates completing the Practicum will be awarded a Certificate of Competence by IIM acknowledging their learning and achievement. The university where they come from may further award study credit and/or state their learning experience on their graduation credential/testimonial. An allowance of $5,000 would be granted to undergraduates successfully completing the project assignment. Other awards, in cash and/or in kind, are being negotiated with sponsoring bodies. These will be publicized to undergraduates when they are confirmed.