Marina Lai - Testimonials - CRCC Asia

Marina Lai

This is strange for me as I have to rewind just 7 months back to July 2012 and the last 7 months have flown by in a way that I cannot put into words as it was fast, magical and surreal but I will do my best to translate it into written word for you.

The education system in the UK is extremely solid and it is pretty much foolproof, especially now that even if you do not fall into the category of being an intellectual there are many 6th form colleges that will allow you to polish your expertise for you and after a few years you will leave with a qualification. I fall into the category that didn’t have a particular interest in a specific field, I knew that I loved English Literature and I knew that I wanted to make money doing something that was true to my interests. I ended up taking English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, a decision which at first was something that I regretted almost instantly when my peers started applying for graduate schemes. True, I chose what I loved, but it didn’t look like it was going to make me any money and approaching my final year exams it became more and more clear that those who had chosen Finance or Economics had a much more clear-cut path.

Having applied for a ridiculous amount of graduate schemes to find that my A-Level Math skills were failing me during the numerical test, I turned to the solution of taking a Masters degree in Communications and Entrepreneurship in the hope that it would make me a more valuable employee in the future. But before I was going to settle down for another year of exams, revision and funky tasting takeaways my friend suggested that I take some time off during my Summer to have a break from education. He suggested that I look at CRCC Asia as he had been on the Beijing programme the previous year. I had a look at the website and I became more and more curious about it, although I have Chinese heritage, I spoke little to no Mandarin, which made me question whether or not I was willing to throw myself into a deep end that deep.

Anyway, I signed up on a whim, believing that sometimes in life things happen for a reason and that I knew this had come up at this point of my life for a reason. I ended up choosing a month internship Events and PR in Shanghai because I wanted to be in a fast paced city, working amongst people who could help me in the future with my career.

CRCC Asia took away the things that your parents and friends worry about for you, they collect you from the airport, give you an introduction pack that contains the most useful items, from a local sim card to a friendly guide that tells you places to visit and how to speak basic Mandarin. They even give you a culture talk which was probably the most useful part of the programme as the customs and practices in the workplace in China are really quite fascinating.

My internship was everything that I could have asked for and I was offered a paid opportunity afterwards and am still in touch with the senior management from the company who are now good friends and we are working together with my new company on a new project. After 3 days in Shanghai I knew I wanted to stay, it is a vibrant city with a magical expat community and nearly everyone you meet is doing something fascinating with their lives and I recognize that this is because it takes a certain type of person to pack their bags, leave the comfort zone of their home town and start from scratch. By the second week I had made more valuable work contacts through networking events and social parties than I had in years in London. I am now working for one of the most exclusive private shareholders organizations in Asia, I declined my place to do my Masters and continue to build on the wealth of network and connections I have made here every day. Yes, I am here on my own without my home comforts but I have built a pretty good situation with the help of CRCC and in the short space of 7 months I have jump started my career.

CRCC deals with the boring stuff, holds your hand, gets your foot in the door and the rest is up to you. Put it this way, if you want to do something that is going to separate you from the herd and if you are willing to be whisked away into a world that doesn’t judge you paper but on what they see you have to offer and what they can offer you, pack your bags now.

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