University: University of Michigan (commonly referred to as Michigan, U-M, UMich, or U of M)
At home, I am a: Undergraduate student
Location: Shanghai, China
Type of office: Headquarter
Industry sector: Business in Management Consulting
Key assignments: Initiated contact in both English and Chinese with over 100 potential clients to help facilitate new sales for firm. Created spreadsheets to organize and sort client data in order to determine how to best communicate with potential clients. Researched companies in architecture and interior design industries to find potential targets for expanding client base. Contacted company leads in China, Japan, and South Korea to help develop business throughout East Asia.
My name is Lizzie and I just finished my sophomore year at the University of Michigan. I am majoring in business and minoring in Chinese, so I decided to come to Shanghai for an internship so that I could get practice in both of these areas.
What are you doing in Shanghai?
I interned with a consulting company that helped different Italian furniture brands enter the Asian market. I am interested in international business, so this was a good opportunity to learn about and interact with companies from all over the world. My boss taught me a lot about how the business practices in many countries are a reflection of their culture.
My boss had just returned from a large global furniture fair, so I spent a lot of time sorting and organizing the business cards he had collected. Then I sent emails to the different companies and followed up with phone calls to see if they were interested in buying products from the brands we represent.
Why did you choose China?
I knew that I wanted to come to China so that I could improve my Chinese skills. Once I decided to do an internship, Shanghai was the obvious choice. It is the best place for business on mainland China, and one of the most commercial cities in the world.
My first recommendation to students would be to try to learn and practice your Chinese as much as possible while you’re here. If you don’t know anything, take classes or have a tutor to start learning. It is very useful to know even a little bit of Chinese. Chinese people also often appreciate your effort and are willing to help you improve. No matter what your starting level is, speaking with natives will help you improve your language skills.
My second recommendation to students is to take this opportunity in Shanghai to travel to other parts of China. You can find very cheap trains or flights to places all over China. I was only here for a month but I took weekend trips to Beijing, Nanjing, and Hong Kong. It was amazing being able to discover not only Shanghai, but other parts of China as well.