​AKU Virtual Internship Programme | Intern Spotlight: Alisha Bhimani​

The AKU-VIP began in May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pa​ndemic. Since starting the programme 136 students have virtually interned with 8 AKDN agencies (AKU, AKES, AKF, AKFED, AKHS, AKTC, AKAH, and AKA)  in 14 countries in East Africa, South and Central Asia, Europe, and North America.

Alisha Bhimani is a recent intern of the AKU-VIP programme where she worked on data visualization at the Aga Khan Education Services (now known as the Aga Khan Schools) in Aiglemont. The graduate from Dartmouth took on the internship to gain professional and personal experience and learn new skills and knowledge. On completion of her virtual internship, she got a job working as an Evidence Generation Associate with Roche in Canada.

Trained as a healthcare researcher, data scientist, and educator, the internship allowed Alisha to put into practice what she had learned. Her internship focused on evaluating the Aga Khan School’s quality standards to ideate on key performance indicators (KPIs). Further, she planned their immediate, short, and long-term implementation while assessing the feasibility of the related data collection to the KPIs. This tied in with standardizing exam performance data collection across 18 examination boards within Aga Khan Schools. By collating this research and presenting it visually, the key stakeholders at AKES were able to use this data for quarterly and annual reports. Another project she supported during her internship was assisting in conducting market research for AKES’ educational profile in East Africa by visualizing and presenting this information to all key stakeholders.

Reflecting on her internship, Alisha notes that “this placement was instrumental in expanding my knowledge regarding global educational systems. I had the opportunity to connect with various AKES leads, who provided unparalleled insights into the projects and help with my own personal and professional development.” The virtual internship program allowed her to take the first steps towards understanding her strengths, learning new skills, and building her core networks. Learning to work remotely was a plus as it forced her to be more organized and in tune to excelling in a global environment. 

On advice to incoming interns, Alisha advised, “Be a sponge and ask!” According to her, the reason she was able to get the most out of her internship was that she was an active listener and asked questions about things she did not fully understand. The AKU-VIP encourages interns like Alisha to work with people from different departments and in different roles. It enables students to sit in on meetings, learn various ways of working, communicating, and interacting, and engaging in diverse and different ways.