Beijing skyline with large skyscrapers overlooking a river

International Internship Experiences: Beijing

International studies and career development are two core pillars that define the Heavener School of Business experience. Through internships abroad, many of our undergraduate business students have impactful, unique and real-world experiences while developing their career and global acumen at the same time.

In fact, 121 Heavener School of Business students are doing just that as they complete internships abroad this summer. Of the 52 students in London, 35 in Dublin, 25 in Beijing, 6 in Madrid and 3 in Paris, we asked nine of them to reflect on how their month-long internships abroad have made an impact on their lives. Read more from three of them, Ana Rocha, Mark Edwards and Trey Fritz, about their time in Beijing below.

Ana Rocha

Ana Rocha – Riviera Events

I recently began interning for Riviera Events, an event management agency specializing in services for the high-end hospitality industry and luxury brands. They streamline and manage the entire event production process for their clients while also providing internal design services to create key visuals for each event. In addition to their office in Beijing, they also have offices in Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macao.

The office itself is fairly small with only about 10-12 people working there, all of whom except the area manager work in one room. We all sit in close proximity to one another, so we don’t even have to get up when we ask for help or clarification. There are event planners, graphic designers, a show manager and an area manager, but everyone asks each other questions. The culture of the office is shaped by the comfort level that everyone has with each other. We get lunch together every day. Conversation over food is a great way to get to know one another and to build a good rapport. I have had a solid conversation with almost every other person working here and felt comfortable around them, including the actual owners of the company. They came to visit from Shanghai on Thursday and Friday. I am thankful that my internship is in a company that is so welcoming.

My main role as an intern is to assist with event proposals. The aspects of a proposal include everything another company or hotel would want to see, including venue details, goals for the event, theme elaboration, table signage, entertainment, performers and badges. Everyone is involved in elements of a proposal, from the interns to the area manager, and we all rely on each other to finish each task in a timely manner. Usually I will be given a skeleton or draft of a proposal and be told to change and add certain elements until it is ready to be approved by the head Event Planner and Area Manager. On a normal day, the Event Planner will brief me on an event and I will begin working on the proposal.  I receive ongoing feedback from the Event Planner until he is satisfied with the proposal. The next step is show my work to the Area Manager and make any changes he wants before submitting the final product to the client.

One of my favorite parts about this internship is how much hands-on experience I am getting. Being a small company, I get to work directly with proposals, have control over what exactly the client sees and have the opportunity to attend meetings with our actual clients. Just last week, I attended two meetings at five-star hotels in Beijing and traveled to Tianjin by train with my supervisor to meet with another prospective client. It is often my final PowerPoint that is presented to clients. One of my proudest moments this summer was when a proposal I created got positive feedback from the general manager of a hotel we were courting. The highlight of my internship was seeing one of our events come to fruition. It was wonderful to see the guests arriving and enjoying every aspect of the event that we had worked to set up. I was especially proud to be a part of Riviera in that moment.

Mark Edwards Mark Edwards – For Her and For Him

The firm that I’m interning with is called “For Her and For Him.” This company manufactures, sells and markets bridesmaid dresses, mens ties and related garments and color swatches primarily to English speaking countries. “For Her and For Him,” abbreviated as FHFH, focuses on women between the ages of 22 and 32 that live in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. FHFH operates six websites to increase its reach.

Upon arriving at FHFH, the two other interns and I were given a brief yet thorough description of the company and what it does by the co-founder. The firm and its 15 members then treated us to a Peking Duck lunch to welcome us to the team. As soon as lunch was over, my supervisor showed me the two websites that she oversees and exactly how I would assist her throughout the internship. Within the same hour, I was called into the co-founder’s office and he described his goals for me. He told me that I would publish Facebook posts for my supervisor’s two websites, create my own advertisements with Photoshop, design and send newsletters to subscriber emails, and learn to track the progress of my advertisements and the use of the marketing budget through Google Analytics.

There have been a few points during my internship in which I basked in a sense of accomplishment. After creating my second newsletter, the co-founder of the company acknowledged my newsletters and asked me to create a newsletter for the main company website. The main company website has nearly 200,000 subscribers whereas the newest websites only have about 3,000 each. After creating and sending the newsletter requested by the co-founder, I was informed that website registrations and purchases noticeably increased for the main website. He told me that I created newsletters better than anyone else in the company! This made me feel very competent and proud of my work.

My biggest professional accomplishment also came about halfway through the internship. The co-founder asked me to learn about Dynamic Search Ads on Google Adwords, something that no one in the company knew about. After learning about Dynamic Ads, I experimented with them by creating a Dynamic Ad campaign for the main company website. I used the existing keywords-based campaigns as a control group to see if the dynamic campaign would be more successful. After two days, the co-founder and I used Google Analytics to measure its success. The Dynamic Ad campaign I created received more clicks for the times it was shown, had a lower cost-per-click, and website visitors both stayed on the website longer and viewed more pages. Overall, it was a much better advertisement that was also much easier to create. Soon after, I gave the whole company a tutorial of how to create a Dynamic Ad campaign.

These activities have given me marketable skills that I am confident about. I can easily build a portfolio of the most successful advertisements I have created and attach the analytics provided by Google to show how they performed. These will go a long way in my future professional endeavors.

Trey Fritz Trey Fritz – EventBank

EventBank was founded in 2013 by a husband-wife duo, one American and the other Chinese, and operates as a tech start-up in the Central Business District of Beijing. EventBank is in the CRM industry and serves as an event management software provider to associations, chambers, corporations and managers across the world. EventBank essentially offers two “solutions” to its clients, the first being event management technology the second being membership management software for its large organizational clients. EventBank has a wide-range of clientele including Facebook, Deloitte, Cornell University, AmCham, National Geographic and many more.

My office is a new, energetic experience every day. I work with the most diverse team of individuals I have ever experienced. There are 62 individuals in my office all under the age of 50 representing 16 different nationalities. At least 90 percent of my coworkers are trilingual and have been living abroad for at least two years. As the company is still a start-up, the office is very flexible and operates under a flat structure of management.  It has been such an incredible opportunity to work with such a talented group of individuals who all are united in making their customer’s lives better.

My official title is APAC Sales & Marketing Intern under the Business Development department. I am primarily focused on developing marketing research for four new markets EventBank is planning to enter in the near future: Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. I have conducted SWOT analyses, gathering media contact lists, and researched marketing strategy for B2B companies. This has been very rewarding work! I even had the opportunity to present my research and suggestions to the CEO of the company. I was most proud of spearheading EventBank’s HR endeavors in Singapore! I researched the prices of Singaporean co-working spaces, PR agencies to promote our entrance into the market, and even had the opportunity to write job descriptions and manage some of the company’s accounts on job posting sites. I have never had the opportunity to be involved in a job hiring process. I am really appreciative of the experience because it has given me insight into where employers look for candidates, what they look for in candidates, and how I can best position myself as a good candidate, especially when applying for jobs abroad!

Towards the end of my internship, my team started calling me the “Swiss Army Intern,” which I find flattering. My supervisor, who coined the name, was referring to how I have helped the Human Resources and Customer Success teams in addition to my role in the Marketing and Sales team to whom I am assigned.  It was so encouraging to hear that my co-workers were appreciative of the work I have done this summer. This simple name encouraged me work hard and meet challenges with an open mind.

With 22 other students completing internships abroad in Beijing this summer, there’s more to read on the UF in Beijing Internship: Chinese Commerce and Culture blog. Read about all of the students’ experiences.

We also asked Heavener School of Business students completing internships in London, Dublin and Madrid to reflect on their experiences. Read more from Addison Burley, Hunter Williams and Ian Milaski about their time in London and Dublin, and from Jacob Hehn, Victoria Arguelles and Nikolas Nazario about their time in Madrid.