Monday, February 16, 2009

Since when do people turn down free labor?

My Internship Search

My Internship search this past fall semester wasn’t half as peachy as I had hoped. Looking back, it’s easy to find fault in the way I went about my search, but I’m not sure if I would have changed the way I went about it.

After my internship with Gen-Probe over the summer, I realized a good place for me to start my career would be with a marketing agency; as big as possible (global), with a fast paced atmosphere. After receiving some good advise from a friend’s colleague, I began my search on WPP’s website. WPP is a holding company for marketing agencies, many of which are global agencies and have offices in Hong Kong. I created a list and began review each agency as a possible fit.

Turns out that most of these company, which on WPP’s website appear as separate companies, actually occupy the same office space. So when visiting Hill & Knowlton, Young & Rubicam, and Ogilvy, the agencies I was most interested in, I realized their offices incorporated five to six other agencies as well (though their addresses were similar, I didn’t realize they were literately connected). So the number of agencies I could actually apply to was cut dramatically.

After calling, emailing, and visiting numerous times, I was hardly received a phone call back. As I should have known, but over looked, was that agencies as large as the ones I had picked out, all have internship or fellowship programs that make spur of the moment internships highly unlikely. Additionally, obtaining a work visa from the HK immigration office is uncommonly difficult. Companies must show that they have been trying to fill the proposed position with a local employee. To do this, they must provide HK Immigration with months of documentation highlighting advertisements for the position as well as demonstrating how the possible labor that was interviewed was unable to meat the requirements of the position.

Many of the connections I made from the American Chamber of Commerce meetings didn’t go much better. I was so popular during these gatherings (haha)! And yet, after emailing all my new found friends, little came about from the connections. The situation was similar when I visited the ECO EXPO Asia late in October.

In late November, I emailed Patrick, a friend of mine who lives and works in Macau, to ask him if he had any possible connections that might help me find an internship. He responded quickly saying that he would get back to me tomorrow with an answer. Not knowing how well Patrick would do, I then asked all of my teachers in HK whether or not they had any connections that would be interested in an intern. Ms. Fransesco quickly responded to me saying that she was aware of a Non-profit that had an intern finish with them and that they might be in need of another intern. Within the span of a couple short days, I had not only an internship, but two!

Patrick was able to help me find an internship with DHL and Ms. Fransesco helped me find an internship with the Non-Profit called Community Business, who’s focus is corporate social responsibility.

After interviewing at Community Business, I liked the work pace, small business environment and team members I’ll have the chance to work with. Additionally, corporate social responsibility is something I had prior experience with when I worked at Gen-Probe. This might seem surprising, but I found it very enjoyable.

I leave for Hong Kong February 25th. My internship will start on the 16th of March. Community Business’s office is in Shueng Wan (right next to Central on Hong Kong Island. Remember, I stayed in Kowloon when I went to school last fall). I’m searching right now for an apartment to stay. Expensive! But I’m sacrificing size for proximity to my work place.

I can’t wait to get back to Hong Kong!

1 comment:

  1. haha :) reading this really makes me feel like going through the internship searching again.. yeah exactly, one day before, no internship at all; all of a sudden, there were two! Quite a magic! but anyway, truly happy for you! Cheers to your incoming happy hong kong life! cannot wait to ask you "how's your first day?" =P