We are one of the world’s most recognisable, with more than 130 years of product innovations and marketing campaigns across the globe. But what’s it like to actually work at Coca-Cola?

We sat down with four summer interns from Coca-Cola South Pacific – Belel, Evgeniya, Kimberly and Sabrina – to find out exactly what they discovered behind the scenes.

How did you find out about the internship?

Belel: As a third-year food scientist I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities but when my university emailed me about this one, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes.

The application process moved so quickly it was all a bit of a blur. As I left the final interview all I remember is the montage playing in my mind of all the awkward things I’d said in the hour just gone by.

“When Coca-Cola South Pacific’s technical director told me Coke is one big family, I initially didn’t believe him, but now I honestly can’t describe it any other way.” – Belel, technical intern.

But all of that was silenced by the phone call I received a few hours later, the first of many “I’m dreaming” moments. I had to put my phone on speaker so my mum could verify I wasn’t hearing things incorrectly.

I’ll spare you the details about the embarrassing fist-pumping and dancing around the house that ensued, but suffice to say I was excited.

What did you expect it would be like working at Coke?

Evgeniya: I expected the internship to be challenging and rewarding and honestly that’s exactly what it was.

I was part of a diverse team not only in terms of role and responsibility but my teammates were literally from all around the world. Many lived and worked overseas and were able to share with me a global understanding of the industry, the company and all its international markets.

“As an international student, finding an internship was really tricky. After days of searching I applied for just one – the summer finance internship at Coke.” – Evgeniya, finance intern.

As a finance intern, I was able to gain valuable experience in commercial finance but I learnt a lot more than that. Workplace leadership is a skill you just can’t learn at university.

How would you describe your experience?

Sabrina: It was really unique for me as I worked across a large range of projects rather than just a few. It was awesome to be promised projects that we would own, be accountable for and learn from throughout the three-month period.

All of my projects required that I work with various departments, agencies and suppliers. Every person I contacted or spoke to was always willing to help, which really said something to me about the culture at Coca-Cola.

“My advice for future interns: be bold in your work, brave in asking for help and believe in yourself.” – Sabrina, marketing intern.

As soon as you walk through the office doors you can tell it’s the people who make this place so special. I was nervous coming in to work with such an experienced marketing team but I soon discovered them to be the most hilarious, lovely and clever bunch of people I had ever met. It was an amazing opportunity to learn from the minds behind some of the brand’s greatest campaigns like ‘Share A Coke’ and ‘Colour Your Summer’.

What surprised you about your experience at Coke?

Belel: It was no surprise to find that Coca-Cola is a company with ambitious goals but I never imagined the business to hold ambitious targets in relation to the environment or consumer wellbeing.

“It was fantastic that we were able to have frequent interactions with Coca-Cola South Pacific’s senior leadership team. Learning about their experiences was inspiring and motivating.” – Kimberly, finance intern.

As an intern in the technical department I was able to work with teams that dedicate themselves to meeting these targets.

From replenishing the equivalent amount of water the company uses back to nature and communities (a goal the company achieved last year) to enabling the economic empowerment of 5 million women around the world, I was surprised by the amount of good work the company does that I’d never heard about.

What was most memorable about the experience?

Kimberly: It was a 40-degree day in December but that didn’t stop 40 members of the Coke team heading down to Lane Cove National Park to help regenerate bushland.

Interns Sabrina and Kimberly enjoyed the collaborative environment at Coca-Cola.

It was a great highlight being able to give back to the community by volunteering with Landcare, which just goes to show that Coca-Cola is trying to not only make a difference in the industry but also in the community.

It was fantastic to see this diverse and talented workforce imbibe the values of Coca-Cola in their day-to-day work. That is something that will always stay with me.