Through participating in the 2021 Japanese Language Speech Contest Victoria, I was lucky enough to be selected as a candidate for an internship at Mitsui & Co., Ltd Australia through the JCCIM Internship Opportunities Program. Mitsui & Co. is one of the largest trading and investment firms in Japan, with subsidiaries around the world. Their presence here as the fourth largest exporter of Australia meant that it was the perfect opportunity for me to gain work experience in the Australia-Japan space, which I am eager to work in the future.
My internship began in November 2021 during my university summer holidays, after passing the interview and onboarding process. Although I was two years into my double degree in Commerce (Business Analytics major) and Arts (Japanese major), I had no prior professional experience in the corporate world. Hence, the whole process from interviews, HR inductions, IT inductions to getting used to working full-time hours was new and exciting to me.
Although I was assigned to the Infrastructure & Energy division, I was also fortunate enough to be given an introduction to each of the different departments at Mitsui & Co., Australia. Prior to the internship, I did not know how diverse Mitsui’s business is, stretching from food, minerals, steel, machinery across to renewable energy. I was surprised at not only the diversity of Mitsui’s business operations, but also the corporate culture. Although Mitsui & Co is a Japanese company, many of the employees come from various backgrounds and experiences which may be completely unrelated to Japan. This allowed me to gain insight into the stories and experiences of diverse individuals, which is one of the aspects that I really appreciate working at a company which operates on an international scale.
In my particular division, our focus was on clean energy and fuels, energy storage and distribution infrastructure. I learnt that there is a lot of growth and opportunity in the energy and infrastructure sector, particularly as the Australian government is aiming to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Most of my tasks include market research, data collection and information sharing, as well as attending webinars and meetings relevant to my division. One of the major projects that I worked on was a research presentation on the situation and prospects of Hydrogen energy in Australia, which I presented to my team online.
Due to COVID-19, I only went into the office around twice a week, with the rest of the time spent working from home from my work laptop. This meant that there was less chance to see how the company operates on a daily basis in person. However, through the company’s Summer Soiree and team dinners, I enjoyed connecting with many colleagues and was able to broaden my knowledge of Mitsui’s culture and people.
Overall, my experiences at Mitsui have helped me develop my professional skills and industry knowledge in the fast-growing renewable energy sector. I am extremely grateful for the insights and experiences I have gained working at a company that greatly promotes Australia-Japan relations, as it has made me confident that I want to continue working in this space in the future.