Completing an internship in China on the CRCC Asia program has been the best summer I have ever spent. On my final day of the program I reflected back on my 2 months working for Omate; a wearable technology start-up company, (which previously raised $1m on Kickstarter) and revisited in my mind with a smile, the countless new skills gained coupled with the amazing CRCC Asia interns and Chinese co-workers I can now call close friends.
Rewind to two months previous and I had just completed a 4 year degree in Computer Science at Aston University. Having completed various internships at large corporations such as Deloitte and Fujitsu I had become disheartened at times with the length of time it takes between putting an idea forward and having it approved by management. Therefore stepping off the plane in late May I was enthused to be joining a start-up technology company with the ambition to analyse the quick decision making required to steer a fledgling company in the right direction.
My expectations were smashed by far; having the opportunity to report directly to the company CEO was an unforgettable experience; I was able to observe his incredible ability to make extremely quick decisions within days on the production of future product lines, whilst learning how to maximise partnership terms and negotiate the best deal from potential buyers. Ingredients that will prove invaluable when establishing my own company in the next few years.
Due to the size of the business I was entrusted with immense responsibility whilst given the freedom to put forward ideas at any opportunity on new product concepts. During my role as a Marketing Coordinator I conceived new pattern designs for a smartwatch and collaborated with the design team to help shape drawings of a wearable smart ring just announced in partnership with the major fashion brand Ungaro. As with any organisation there were days when there was less work scheduled for completion, but during this quiet time, it is important to take the initiative and identify departments where you can lend a hand. Not only will this add depth to your experience but it gives you greater visibility of the work carried out by the company as a whole; an important leadership skill. It was during this quiet time that I gained experience of how to upload details of products on Alibaba and the procedure and paperwork required to file a US patent.
My two pieces of advice to anyone contemplating joining the program is this, first of all sign up straight away without hesitation and secondly whilst in China utilise every spare moment available to build your network. By taking the initiative to contact and meet up with a few inspirational people relevant to your field, whilst out there could mean that you gain mentors for life. Whilst in Shenzhen I contacted start-up company founders, factory managers and business accelerator organisations to gain a view of all the steps in the chain required to launch a business from conceptualising an idea, gaining funding through to production.
I promise you will never forget your experience when reflecting back on it at home as I am now; simply because from time to time you will be reminded of it, as the person on the opposite side of the table leans their body inwards with great interest whilst scanning your CV/resume during job interviews.