There is an old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times” and over the last couple of years this cliche has been borne out around the world. We exist in a reality where the unthinkable becomes orthodoxy within months. For those of us who live in Britain we are having to re-assess where future careers and investment is going to come from and this leads millions of people to be looking to the world’s emerging economies when searching for their future prosperity.
However these new markets often present radically different ways of doing business and so without expertise in these new markets we can see businesses fail to fulfill their potential. One way that those people who seek a career in these emerging economies can gain this experience is by undertaking an international internship.
The benefits of gaining experience, particularly for those students and graduates looking to take the first step on the career ladder, is widely understood Beijing as shown by a recent CBI survey that revealed that 82% of employers saw prior experience as a top priority in making recruitment decisions. The benefits of student internships, the opportunity to test out career paths, gain practical experience and meet valuable contacts, all of which provide candidates with an edge in this ever more competitive job market.
These factors are all multiplied, when that internship is offering an opportunity to experience the business culture of another country. This is something that CRCC Asia can attest to in the many years of business experience that we have inChina. The radically different way that the Chinese do business, relying on the principles of ‘Mianzi’ and ‘Guanxi’- or face to face contact- can be an alienating thing for those who are more used to a culture where communicating by e-mail or telephone is seen as acceptable. These are discoveries that are better made on an international internship than when you are making the first steps in your chosen career, they will enhance your knowledge and understanding of cultural differences and lead you on your way to success.
In the west the gap between the knowledge and perceived importance of these emerging markets can place the international intern at a distinct advantage. Being able to offer your potential employer an understanding of the business practices of markets that they may be interested in breaking into can place you in a position of some expertise even very early in your working life in the UK.
As the patterns of the global economy’s future remain shrouded in a fog of uncertainty, and business leaders scramble to discover the most lucrative new markets around the world, those people who can show their adaptability and gain the extra knowledge that an international internship provides stand out more than ever before.