IST-Malaysia internship blog by Jacqueline Bazzo

Malaysia IST Blog Entry by Jacqueline Bazzo


copyright owned by the author (2016)

I have completed a Bachelor of Business – Public Relations and applied for the study tour in Malaysia to challenge myself personally and professionally. From an employability skills development perspective, I particularly wanted to improve my business literacy of the PR industry and develop my intercultural communication skills. Key employability skills sought by the industry include high level written and verbal communication abilities to convey messages, research skills to inform approach and creativity to reach and engage target publics.

The PR skill-set is multi-faceted and any individual task will be influenced by the demands and expectations of the stakeholders for whom you both represent and the ones for whom achieving the PR objectives rely. While such tasks may differ, for example, internal communications within an enterprise versus publicity campaigns aimed at business promotion, they are always influenced by a need to proactively maintain relationships. As I found myself working within a newly formed team of people within a foreign workplace, I realised that perhaps more importantly, maintaining positive relationships within the workplace is vitally as important as those with external stakeholders. While the benefits of a harmonious workplace may sound obvious, I had previously thought it either occurred or it didn’t, and that as an individual I could not really influence my attitudes towards its existence.

Time pressures, multiple clients and competing deadlines left little time for my colleagues to provide me with any guidance. Naturally, I found myself in a daunting predicament. While learning to adjust to a new job and a foreign culture I was able to utilise reflective practice to assess the expectations of those around me and adjust to the requirements of individual tasks through identifying and evaluating previous methodologies. More importantly, I was able to use reflective practice to assess my own attitudes and approaches. This helped me to identify the motivations of those around me as I sought to understand where I fit in and how I could best contribute, and provided guidance for my future conduct.

As my experience during my internship in Malaysia has shown, professional development and employability skills attainment within varying disciplines relies on a common approach. That is, through maintaining our business literacy, being accountable for the work we do, and in developing a positive attitude. During my internship, I developed my business literacy skills through gaining an insight into how a PR agency responds to client briefs and develops media coverage strategies for a diverse corporate clientele. My professional development can also benefit from ongoing reflective practice that supports integrating prior knowledge and experience with a professional approach. Such evaluative efforts should be rewarded with greater confidence in my professional abilities, enhance understanding of my academic discipline, and improve my productivity through acknowledging and cultivating integral workplace relationships.

On reflection, my internship was very challenging but I believe the experience I have gained has improved my PR business literacy and will be transferable to my ongoing professional development as I integrate the theory I have learned in my studies with the reflective practice skills I have learned.

Written by Jacqueline Bazzo