MBA life: Grabbing internship opportunities in China
Is the internship the final part of your MBA program?
This program (18-month) officially finishes in February. People are finishing internships these days and many of us will go to exchange student programs. After that, everybody comes back to CEIBS to have last classes, in Shanghai.
Is this your first internship while at CEIBS?
This is my second. I was working at the corporate strategy team of Honeywell in Shanghai. After that I came to Beijing to Sinopec. The company is looking for people who can help them expand internationally, and Latin America is one of the most important areas for them.
How did you get two?
In the case of Honeywell, it was through the school. The CEO of Honeywell China is a CEIBS alumnus. He delivered a speech here and then the school posted a position for a project in corporate strategy for Latin America, so I applied for it. In the case of Sinopec, I met a Colombian friend who had internship there some time ago and she recommended it to me. So I wrote to them.
In your team at Sinopec, are you the only one from Peru?
There are some foreign nationals but I am the only person from Latin America in my division at the Beijing headquarters. Most other foreigners work in regional offices. Sometimes they come to Beijing to have meetings.
How is it working in such a large Chinese company?
It’s quite interesting and unique because it’s a state-owned enterprise. It’s a really big thing with prestige. It’s not common to have an internship there, and I think it helped that I used to work in the same industry in Latin America while working as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Do you wish to be employed full-time after the internship?
Right now, I’m not sure. I have to go to Harvard first to finish a paper that I am writing with a professor (Juan Fernandez). After that, I have to go to India (Indian School of Business) for the exchange program. So it’s difficult for me now to decide to join Sinopec after February. Anyway it’s a great opportunity for me.
The exchange student program, is it for everyone?
We have an intake of around 190 students, and I think about 50 percent of us are going to participate in the exchange program. The majority goes to Europe and the U.S. Most of Chinese classmates want experience in Europe or U.S. Nevertheless, they want to work in China. I also have Korean friends and the majority of them prefer to stay in Shanghai, continuing their internships here and perfecting their mandarin.
Then why did you opt for India for the exchange program?
The Indian School of Business in Hyderabad is a pretty young school but is very famous, having been founded by Kellogg and Wharton. The relationship between CEIBS and ISB is really good. Though my focus is on China, I want to complement it with India.
Do you speak Mandarin?
My Chinese was pretty basic. At CEIBS, it was mandatory for foreign students to have a Chinese exam. I have already passed it but to work in China you obviously need more than that. So I have been practicing it and that is what I am focusing on right now.
Interview by Cho Jin-seo