02 Feb My time in Shanghai has come to an end
After a month my time in Shanghai has come to an end. The program has been an amazing experience from the internship itself to the social events to just the experience of living in Shanghai. The internship has been an extremely valuable experience. During my time working in Shanghai I developed and strengthened some key skills in finance, particularly my financial modelling and presentation skills. The highlight for me was developing a pitch book on a cross border M&A opportunity which was then presented to the client by our company’s Managing Director. The work has definitely been a lot different compared to the work done at uni. I think uni can be overly theoretical at times dwelling too much on academic research and not enough on practical outcomes; in contrast the internship has been much more practical with the objective of completing the task, often with no set way of doing things rather the freedom tho use whatever method you regard as best. Sometimes this can be tricky as things can be vague with no simple correct answer, instead it depends on your personal judgement and the underlying assumptions you make.
Work also involved tasks requiring more soft skills. During my time I was required to make calls to clients and institutional investors, this proved challenging at times mainly due to the language barrier, often I was required to switch to Mandarin so the person on the phone could understand what I was trying to say, it certainly was an experience that helped me develop my communication and language skills. I think uni tries to prepare you for this with the emphasis on participation and presentations in tutorials but often this is overlooked by a lot of people when it really should be a greater focus. A unique part of the internship was the focus on networking. Our Managing Director really encouraged us to get out there in the business community and make some connections. On our last Friday at the company we also hosted a presentation and networking event of our own at Morton’s, a steakhouse and bar. A substantial portion of our time during the week was devoted to preparing for the event. It was a great opportunity to work on our presentation skills and also meet professionals in Shanghai and hear about their experiences working in the city.
Another great aspect of the program has been the career speaker events. During my time in Shanghai we had 2 speaker presentations. The first was focused on marketing and looked at the profile of the Chinese consumer. It was very interesting learning about the spending habits and patterns of consumers in China and how they differ from Western consumer characteristics. Our second career speaker focused on career pathways into China and the ways people break into the job market. The speaker shared his own experience of getting into China and discussed the difficulties he and many other people faced on their journey. Both presentations were highly engaging and it was great to have these professional aspects built into the program.
Looking back it’s amazing to think about everything that happened in a month. Shanghai has truly been an amazing place to live in, the city is just so vast and everyday there was something going on. I certainly got a lot out of the program and can definitely say it was a month well spent!