Foreigners in a Chinese Office: 2017 Edition

The OCA team meets with two NYU Shanghai sophomores who reflect on their time interning in Shanghai this past summer.

Often, international students can feel overwhelmed by the idea of interning in China. Language barriers aside, there also seems to be conceptions regarding the “Chinese work environment.” So, the OCA team met with two NYU Shanghai sophomores who reflected on their time interning in Shanghai this past summer.

Masaki Kagesawa, originally from Japan, interned with a Japanese company, YCP Holdings, for two months.

He obtained his internship through networking at various events in Shanghai. During his time at YCP Holdings, he made market research reports, built margin analysis models, translated documents, and more. Furthermore, Kagesawa was required to speak Mandarin on a daily basis.

“Although it was a Japanese company, the working environment was much more easy going than what it’s like in Japan. For example, in Shanghai, employees didn’t have to leave the office when the boss left. I worked overtime very frequently and sometimes on the weekend too,” Kagesawa said.

He believed he learned useful, physical skills during his internship, including researching fast and accurately and how to use Excel to build financial models.

Brittany Miu, from California, U.S., interned for three months with Pullpath, a marketing consulting startup. The company’s CEO came to NYU Shanghai to give a presentation for the Undergraduate Business Association and mentioned they were hiring interns, so Miu applied.

Pullpath is the leading provider of “Voice of the Customer” reporting and consulting services in China. Miu worked directly with the CEO and COO to improve their current client programs, including companies like Lorna Jane and MISSY SKINS, develop and research for potential client programs, and create content for clients including Starbucks and Coca-Cola.

Interestingly enough, the working environment of her office was very different compared to Kagesawa, because she had no office.

“There was no office. This internship was half remote and half meetings with the CEO and COO. it required a lot of self motivation to work on tasks individually and report them,” Miu said.

She described her internship as “definitely a learning experience.” Miu was exposed to a fast-pace environment with many hardworking and ambitious people. She also noted she was able to work with people from different backgrounds, including Chinese, Japanese, and American. Miu did not have to speak Chinese during her internship.

“I was able to make connections with people in the marketing industry in Shanghai and I think it will be helpful with future internships,” Miu concluded.

Interning in Shanghai is as diverse as anywhere else. Various companies in various fields are looking for bright students to work in their offices regardless of background.

This article was written by Isabel Adler. Please send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lou Demetroulakos

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