Enabling Internships with Sustainability Monitor

EIRA supported Kent-based company SusMon to deliver internships for their students who were interested in various machine learning processes.

Sustainability Monitor (SusMon) is a start-up research company providing competitive monitoring services. SusMon analyses the sustainability strategies of global multinationals and is developing ground-breaking research products in the subject area. The company has previously been awarded an EIRA Innovation Voucher to work on a project that researched digital asset managment systems, but has also benefitted from EIRA through the Innovation Internship scheme.

The University of Kent’s Employability Points team and EIRA worked with SusMon to deliver internships for their students who were interested in various machine learning processes. We caught up with some of the interns to find out what projects they worked on and how their activities had a positive impact on both the business and themselves.

Rutendo Gotora was a final year Multimedia student studying at Kent when she was given the opportunity to intern at SusMon. Her experience of working with the company was transformative, helping her make key decisions about her future. She is now starting an MA in Digital Marketing and Analytics at Kent Business School.

The objective for Rutendo’s internship was to help find the best way to implement a new, more accurate, categorisation method that could be integrated with SusMon’s research database. The methods used to complete the objectives consisted of coding in Python and using Jupyter as a platform for coding and testing, as well as exporting the results to excel as a spreadsheet.  Rutendo was given a few distinct tasks to work on as part of her internship, including researching text analysis and machine learning methods; and researching, designing, implementing and testing software programs.

“This internship has inspired me greatly to want to work in a similar field when I graduate. I have had the privilege to work with amazing people who challenged and motivated me, as well as taught me not only machine learning skills but also business and research skills that are helping me immensely in my postgraduate studies.” – Rutendo Gotora, University of Kent

SusMon also took on Keerttana Sankaran as an intern through the Kent Employability Points scheme. Keerttana said:

“I was involved in tasks that included qualitative and quantitative research and analysing data to produce reports using my excel and business analytics knowledge. For most tasks, I had previous knowledge and skills, but I needed a bit of a professional polish, which I picked up very quickly whilst working with the team. This ultimately aided in increasing the pace of the research and helped things move at a faster rate.

As this was a remote internship, certain tools and skills were learnt in addition to the usual knowledge one may acquire from an internship. For example, communication through means other than the usual Zoom or Jitsi (a similar application used for video calls). I also used Slack, Trello, and Slight which were all tools that were introduced not only to me but to the whole team to master due to the remote working environment. In terms of the work, I learnt more in-depth use of Microsoft Excel and how one can perform Taxonomy on data and present it in a way that can be used for further analysis. I have also accumulated insights on other topics, such as research database and machine learning. The newly learnt skills were very easily transferable to my current third-year modules and I am sure will be very useful in my career in the future.”

As a result of Keerttana’s internship, SusMon offered Keerttana a part-time role as a Research and Digital Marketing Analyst that was flexible around her studies. This is a great outcome not only for Keerttana, but for the business who are able to take on extra resource and boost their team’s productivity.

Ronnie McBryde, CEO of SusMon said:

“EIRA interns have enabled SusMon to progress our research development  work at a much faster pace than otherwise would have been possible. Our interns have not only brought very specific skills – machine learning, business analytics and digital design – they have enhanced the company’s global perspective and been a joy to work with.”

You can find out more about how EIRA have enabled internships with businesses across the East of England in our new short film, which features Ronnie McBryde and Keerttana sharing their experiences.