Education in practice

Vega student heads to the Big Apple for international internship

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Vega School of Brand Leadership, an educational brand of the Independent Institute of Education, encourages its students to not only think out of the box when it comes to creative executions, but rather in all that they do. One student who has certainly taken this to heart is Thato Kgatlhanye who, because of her creative thinking, is joining American best-selling author and entrepreneur, Seth Godin, as an intern in New York.

I am beyond excited to have been chosen for this opportunity and I am looking forward to learning every single thing that I can from my fellow interns and from Seth – so much so that if anyone even coughs, it will be recorded!” laughs Kgatlhanye, a third-year Brand Building and Management student at Vega.

This will be the fourth time that Godin is assembling a team of interns to brainstorm in New York. The team will be gathering together to sketch out and possibly build a new online concept, with 17 people from all over the world having been chosen to participate.

The first intern project happened more than eight years ago, and the group built changethis.com, which has just published its 100th issue. The second intern group created Squidoo, which to date has received more than a billion visits and paid more than $16 000 000 in royalties to charities and to members. Two years ago, the third intern project launched The Domino Project, which published a dozen best-sellers in a row. Clearly, Kgatlhanye is going to be in good company.

I am looking forward to all the challenges that will be presented during this internship. I applied not only because it’s an exciting opportunity, but because I feel there are not a lot of black women role models in the creative industry. So instead of worrying about it, I stopped looking, decided to become a role model to others and this was my opportunity to be heard,” continues Kgatlhanye.

She applied for the position after seeing an advertisement on Godin’s blog and set about ensuring her entry followed his philosophy of ‘don’t wait for other people to pick you, but pick yourself’. Kgatlhanye created a video application in which she focused on the moment that she realised she had a creative mind, and further positioned herself as a 'current' intern part of Godin’s team.

This strategy obviously worked well, as Kgatlhanye will be heading to New York in July to participate in the programme as the only intern from Africa. It is her hope that when all is said and done, her work will add up to more than just the intern portfolio.

I have no doubt that my time in New York will broaden my knowledge and I am looking forward to being able to share my experiences with my fellow students and lecturers when I am back. It would also bring me great pleasure to share the story of how a girl from a mining town close to Rustenburg was selected out of one billion plus people on the African continent for this remarkable journey.

"I have no doubt that Vega’s inspired teachings will position me as the right intern for the job, and that the internship itself will open up even further opportunities for creative development and expansion,” she concludes.

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