My name is Cyntia Ismael (class of 2022) and I am planning to major in Business Studies. For my 2019 summer I had the opportunity to intern at Associação Nacional de Jovens Empresários, which translates into National Association of Young Entrepreneurs (ANJE) in Maputo, Mozambique. Guided by values of creativity, innovation, leadership, excellence and ethics, ANJE is an organization that advocates for the establishment of a National Entrepreneurship Policy and Program capable of guaranteeing the inclusion, sustainability, diversity and competitiveness of businesses in Mozambique. Besides promoting business consulting services for young entrepreneurs, ANJE also focuses on delivering entrepreneurship programs, mobile financial management apps, campaigns and other projects to help and inspire young Mozambicans start and manage their own businesses. I was pleased to be part of this organisation because, more than acquiring experience in the business sector, I was helping young Mozambicans like me to structure their own businesses in a efficient way. My internship had the duration of nine weeks, where I had the pleasure to work with a team of seven people, including another intern in the administration and international relations department. My main function was to assist with the elaboration of final drafts of business consultation reports for different business areas. Besides that, I was also responsible for delivering procurement research for the next national conference of entrepreneurship, elaborate meeting reports to the president of the organization, the newsletter of the organisation as well as answer and update the social media platforms of the organization.
Interning at ANJE was beneficial in different ways. I had the chance to practice and experience the ‘Office life’. During the first weeks of work, I and other teammates did a brainstorming activity about projects such as campaigns about entrepreneurship and the next conference. The ANJE team was an absolutely amazing team to work with and interact. While brainstorming, we exchanged different opinions and ideas to be put into work. They thought me specific and valuable skills and thinking process to develop sustainable project ideas and project budgeting. In the following weeks, I and a teammate represented the organization by participating in the annual meeting for small and medium business, the entrepreneurship fair at Escola Secundaria da Josina Machel and other events taking part in other parts of the city. During these visits, I had the chance to widen my network and meet organizers and representatives of multifaceted functions in Maputo. By interning at ANJE, I met people that believe in the development of Mozambique and show availability and willingness to make positive change. More than discussing about fundamental topics, we settled a business solutions for problems faced by Mozambican Communities. The project is called Healthy life at School, which is a project that seeks to end descrimination and the stigma that teeanagers with HIV/AIDS go through in high school. Together, we identified the root cause of the problem and came up with a project as an alternative solution. Currently, the project is in the stage of requesting for funding.
During the first three weeks of the second month, I finalised internal projects on ways to finance business in Mozambique, delivered a external business consulting projects and participated in the internal project management training. Consulting reports are based on intensive research and knowledge about the current market in Maputo and writing about them was helpful to get to know more about how business run in the capital. In the following week, I worked on elaborating and finalizing the monthly budget for the organization and one more budget for an internal project. ANJE’s president, who is also a university professor of business studies, taught me a lot about elaborating and organizing budgets for new and continuing projects. Besides that, we had valuable conversations on defining and differentiating leadership and management based on real life examples. I was happy to learn so much in an interactive way. With this, I had the chance to put into practice a few lessons that I took from my statistics class, in elaborating graph reports and my business and management class, with Excell budget generators.
The Megan McAdams-Roldan ’08 International Community Service Award was fundamental in helping me to take part of this experience and set specific goals to take out from the internship at ANJE. I want to encourage future interns to go through this same process and search for institutions that offer services that you are interested in working with in the future and follow up with them. More than gaining experience, it is also important to look for the purpose and values of the organization and check if those match with your own work ethic. It is important to create a set of objectives and goals that you would like to reach while interning so that you can fully ‘simulate’ working. I believe that positivity and engagement are key factors to ensure that both you and the organization gain as much as possible from the internship. Finally, I would advise future interns to put effort to leave a good ‘legacy’ in the institution, so that more Skidmore students can be accepted for the same position or you could be accepted as a permanent worker in the future.
The internship was an effective way to gain experience and start developing concrete ideas of sectors through which I can work and help Mozambican communities. Besides experiencing the pressure and teamwork, I also had the chance to give back to my community and help young Mozambican entrepreneurs. For that, I would like to thank Skidmore, the CDC team, and the McAdams-Roldan Family for motivating and helping students to engage and take part in innovative internships and volunteering programs that make a significant difference in their academic and professional journey. In specific, I would like to thank the McAdams-Roldan Family for offering me this opportunity by covering transportation costs, which was crucial to help me intern at ANJE.