In search of fruit­ful in­tern­ships in China

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By YU RAN in Shang­hai yu­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Un­like some of his peers who were ea­ger to se­cure in­tern­ships with ma­jor cor­po­ra­tions, Lane Rus­sell was more in­ter­ested in learn­ing the ropes at small and medium-sized en­ter­prises in­stead as he be­lieved that such com­pa­nies would al­low him to take on greater re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and work more closely with the se­nior staff.

That was the main rea­son why the 20-year-old Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity un­der­grad­u­ate de­cided to in­tern at a small fi­nan­cial com­pany called A Street In­vest­ments in the United States last year, and at China Mar­ket Re­search Group in Shang­hai this year.

“The smaller com­pa­nies have a more per­sonal feel, and they are eas­ier to thor­oughly un­der­stand. Get­ting to know the direc­tors and learn­ing from their ex­per­tise has been the high­light of my ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Rus­sell, who is ma­jor­ing in eco­nomics and will en­ter his third year of stud­ies in Septem­ber.

“Also, the ex­pe­ri­ence with an SME is just as rel­e­vant in terms of work con­tent as a larger firm, be­cause we do the same type of work.”

Dur­ing his eight-week in­tern­ship with China Mar­ket Re­search Group, a strate­gic mar­ket in­tel­li­gence firm, Rus­sell worked as an as­so­ciate con­sul­tant and was tasked with an­a­lyz­ing mar­ket data and of­fer­ing in­sights to clients.

“I got the chance to work on doc­u­ments that were pre­sented to clients and had learnt from the com­pany founder how to be pro­fes­sional dur­ing con­sul­tancy ses­sions and in con­duct­ing my­self in the Chi­nese busi­ness world,” added Rus­sell.

“Only in an SME is it pos­si­ble to have a close re­la­tion­ship with the bosses and the man­age­ment at the com­pany,” said Rus­sell, who stud­ied Man­darin for two years and is plan­ning to re­turn to China to un­der­stand Chi­nese busi­ness cul­ture fur­ther.

China Mar­ket Re­search Group, which has around 20 full­time staff, nor­mally hires three to four in­terns ev­ery year, most of them from top US univer­si­ties like Prince­ton and Har­vard.

Shaun Rein, the founder and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of China Mar­ket Re­search Group, said that in­terns from abroad of­ten pro­vide the com­pany with dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives that can lead to the cre­ation of bet­ter mar­ket strate­gies for clients.

An­other per­son who shares the same sen­ti­ment as Rus­sell is Joyce Wang. The 19-year-old Chi­nese Amer­i­can stu­dent at Williams Col­lege had cho­sen to do her first in­tern­ship at a startup com­pany called Sogu Tech in Shang­hai.

As she is cur­rently do­ing a dou­ble ma­jor in com­puter sci­ence and eco­nomics, Sogu Tech, which deals with tech­nol­ogy and fi­nance, seemed like the per­fect fit.

Dur­ing her in­tern­ship, Wang was as­signed to cre­ate the front-end as­pect of a web­site and got to learn much about ba­sic ma­chine learn­ing prin­ci­ples and Java web ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment.

“In­tern­ing at a smaller com­pany en­tails the as­sign­ment of more re­spon­si­bil­ity and hands-on work that in­volves a lit­tle bit of every­thing. I came in with lit­tle to no prac­ti­cal pro­gram­ming ex­pe­ri­ence and now know how to build web­sites, al­beit fairly ba­sic ones,” said Wang.

“Af­ter com­ing to Sogu and talk­ing to my peers, I re­al­ized how the com­puter sci­ence taught at school is based mostly on the­ory and how there’s lit­tle be­ing taught about prac­ti­cal pro­gram­ming skills. As such, I’m re­ally grate­ful to have had this op­por­tu­nity and gain early-on a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage for fu­ture in­tern­ships.”

The smaller com­pa­nies have a more per­sonal feel, and they are eas­ier to thor­oughly un­der­stand.” un­der­grad­u­ate 20, a Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity

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