How to turn an overseas internship into a full-time job offer

By Thomas Koratty

Set the scene: Beijing Capital Airport, December morning; outside sub zero degrees; dawn was just cracking and the apartment buildings were coming into light. That was my first sight of Beijing. My two months interning there put my career into the pathway of securing a full time position with one of the big players in the financial services industry in Australia.

I was part of CRCC Asia’s China Internship Program where I was placed with an investment consultancy that mainly provided advisory service to Beijing Based SOE’s and firms listed on CBEX Stock Exchange. My daily responsibilities included providing investment summaries to Chinese clients on foreign projects seeking investment opportunities. I was the major communication point for Western companies seeking Chinese investment. During my two months, I was entrusted with evaluating an investment proposal from a prospective Thai Agribusiness. This project was my first real challenge as I had to conduct financial analysis with documents written in Thai language. I was able to translate these documents with help and succeeded in preparing a report evaluating long term prospects of the proposal. After seeing my report on this matter, my firm assigned me to prepare a report consisting of entry strategies into the Australian Beef Industry. This project consisted of elements regarding the recent legislative changes in Australian Investment Landscape.

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After two months, I felt sad that I left a fast-paced lifestyle in Beijing and friends I have made from all over the world. But I felt that I gained an international outlook and learnt many life lessons that I have been able to translate into really quantifiable skills. My internship prepared me for meeting project deadlines and developing a professional work style which was molded according to Chinese guangxi outlook. I was able to learn new ways to adapt into different work cultures by building on different cultural practices. I was able to develop my outlook as I was able to see the great economic changes in the Australian economy through the projects I completed during my internship and from the events happening around me in Beijing.

Beijing being the epicenter of Chinese cultural identity provided idyllic hutongs, monuments testifying achievements of the times gone by, modern architectural masterpieces heralding the new ambitions of the middle class  and scenic parks & temples to reflect the serenity of Confucian tradition. So after work and on the weekends, there is enough to keep the curious mind and a fit body entertained in Beijing.

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An internship provides an early insight into the industry sectors and gives graduates a taste of the demands of a professional career. The more interesting an internship, the more differentiated you become against the competition and more varied things you can bring to the table for a prospective employer. I was able to bank on my experiences during my internships to secure a full time position with Macquarie Group by harnessing my work and life experiences in Beijing during those two winter months.

I shall end this article with an old chinese proverb: “if you don’t scale the mountain,  you can’t view the plain”.

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Thomas Koratty is a recent graduate of the University of Newcastle. He undertook the BUSN3500 course in his final year and now works at the Macquarie Group in Sydney. 

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