Rigo Selassa was studying for his own Global Executive MBA when, in 2018, he singled out fellow RSM student Shiraz Hussain (MBA, 2019) as someone with great potential. “The company I’d launched six years ago, LaNubia Business Consulting, already had a traineeship programme created to hire straight after graduation. But through my own experience, I realised MBA students had some time before graduation to participate in internship programmes. I saw this as an opportunity for our relatively young, but growing, company to target talented individuals who were considering a career in consulting, but weren’t sure if they were a match.”
So Selassa (MBA, 2019) turned to RSM and found Hussain, who says he wasn’t anticipating an internship as he had already had plenty of work experience both in the Netherlands and in his home country of India. “But Rigo’s approach was really unusual,” says Hussain. “I was sceptical about joining such a small company, but he talked to me from my own perspective, rather than that of an employer. He concentrated on the potential benefits to my personal development of becoming an intern at LaNubia, and stressed the importance of learning and character-building rather than what he wanted from me.”
Selassa is aware that there is plenty of competition for the most talented. “The year we offered Shiraz his internship I also looked at two other global candidates, but concluded he was the best fit at that moment in time. And, happily, that’s how it turned out.” And he knows what he wants. “The ideal intern needs to be looking for personal development, eager for motivated leadership, committed to continuous learning. Hard skills we can always train for, though I was especially attracted to Shiraz because of his IT and process analysis knowledge. But it is the soft skills, the cultural match, the emotional values that allow interns to fit into the company that are hard to measure until you are working together.”
That goes both ways, says Hussain. “I knew I wanted a different kind of work experience from my previous jobs in large organisations, with less hierarchy and more flexibility. But at the same time, I was not sure how I would react to greater freedom at work, with less formal structure. So initially I thought of the internship as a trial period. I soon found that I was getting great client exposure at senior level, working with people with different work backgrounds whom I could learn from.”
After graduation, Hussain was only too happy to take up a full-time post at LaNubia. “The MBA course led me to want to apply my newly acquired skills in a different setting and to find out where my true interests lie.” Selassa is only too happy to help. “It really is a win-win situation,” he says.
Do you have a story of an internship you took while studying at RSM? We’d love to hear your story at email@example.com