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Opals gem Marianna Tolo completes Virtual Internship on the road

06 March 2023

As they begin to wrap up their placements with companies based all around the world, the inaugural class of the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) Virtual Internship program is encouraging all athletes to apply for the 2023 intake.

Left, Marianna Tolo studies from a laptop on a tour bus, right, Tolo competes for Australia in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup Semi Final match against China on September 30, 2022. Photos: Supplied/Getty Images

Launched in October 2021 and delivered through the Australian Institute of Sport Professional Development Team, the program aims to prepare participants for their post-athletic careers. This accessible internship gives athletes the opportunity to gain firsthand work experience in their field of study while allowing for the flexibility to fit the placement around their demanding schedules.

After winning bronze at the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in October in Sydney, Australian Opals superstar Marianna Tolo took her internship across the world. While competing for Girona in the Euro Women’s League, Tolo committed to both basketball and her internship through a strict schedule.

“One of my challenges was to get all the work squeezed in, but I have been able to get a lot of my internship work done whilst on the road (by bus) as I can access the internet and have a tonne of time just waiting to arrive at the destination,” said Tolo who would balance work among her demanding 15 hour days.

“I started a stopwatch whenever I started work, to make sure I stayed focused and kept track of time. I had to aim for around 3-4 hours each day, so if I ended up short that day, I had to make it up on another one.

Tolo, who holds a Bachelor of Sports, Coaching and Exercise Science, and a Graduate Certificate in Business (Philanthropy/Non-Profit), completed an Entrepreneurship internship with Pleonert & Partner.

“I feel like the main benefit for me has been the change in focus to a world outside of sport,” said the four-time WNBL champion.

“Sometimes it can be tough to go through the ups and downs of sport and having something else to focus on has levelled that out. It has also been nice to apply myself to something else, knowing that I am gaining experience and knowledge which will help me in my life after basketball.

“A large part of this experience, for me, was centred around trialling out an area of business in which I am not experienced in. It has been a great insight for me into the world of marketing and sales. I will be able to take this experience and learnings into whatever workplace I enter or create in the future. It was a nice little stepping stone.”

The veteran Opal and double World Championship medallist is encouraging other athletes considering the program to apply.

“My workplace was great with being flexible with whatever hours I needed to work. I would also say that if you are searching for a job, you never know what opportunities may present themselves from being a part of the internship, so align your fields accordingly, and give it your best effort when you are in there!”

Get Involved

EOIs for the next Virtual Internship intake are open until Friday 9 March.

Please contact or your current AW&E Adviser for the link and further information.

Visit the AIS website for more on our athlete personal development programs.

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