Michelle’s China Internship Review
A properly researched and designed marketing strategy is the best requirement for any multinational organization looking to break boundaries to increase global market presence and revenue. Let any organization entering its multinational stage doubt this and they are reassured to fail 100%. I am confident about this because I had the opportunity to try and test this fact through CIP’s China Internship.
Let’s assume that China is not an economic superpower but has just a mere 1.4 billion people and I will have still chosen it as a place of doing my Marketing Internship to gain international experience.
Going international to gain experiences is never cheap and will never be cheap. I decided to intern abroad but the reality dawn on me when it was time to pay for the entire project which cost me a 4 digit figure. I did what I could do just to remain safe, but my parents still doubt my choice but eventually, I took the risk.
The placement process was rigorous as I had to go through a 3 stage Interview one with CIP Placement department and two others with my host Company. It was a learning process which I never had in University. It was strange to me because I thought CIP had to do all those cover-ups. I have never heard that internships in China got that competitive and selective. In entirety, the process reassured me that this was a professional program and not another Chinese mass production factory.
I was finally placed into a renowned Marketing Research company based in Shanghai, China tasked with the responsibility of assisting the Market Entry Department. This is a team of 18 people doing different things. I am supposed to be part of the research squad and my role formed the basis of my superior’s task. Anytime, I make mistakes, he was definitely going to do same. Although I passed the interview, I panicked at this new job because this was my first major experience at doing any serious research aside School projects and my Thesis.
I was tasked with the responsibility of collecting information identified outlets such as super and hypermarkets, consumer agencies and other governmental institutions like Ports and Harbor Authority. This information was dissected and manipulated to get signals of the seasonality of demands, recent trends in demand and competition statistics. I did this on 23 brands from countries such as Italy, UK, US and Saudi Arabia. So what do you expect? I can just see mastery.
One major project which I managed and drove my motivation high was when I was tasked to collect consumer perception index for a Jewel Brand which was looking to expand its market share in China. I was appointed the head of the team with other interns coming from CIP and other agencies we could not speak Chinese, but we sailed through with very minimal assistance from some Chinese native speaking colleagues. My Chinese speaking skills were enhanced after 3 months of study and this I will confess was essential to my success. This project went successfully as I was awarded separately for it.
My working morale was high likewise my other colleagues because there was always a weekly reward for hard work and deadline massacre. The term deadline massacre was coined from a team meeting we had was asked to try to meet deadlines. So any time an employee finishes tasks before the appointed time, the TIME MASSACRE AWARD was given. This included 1000 RMB and a treat to Spa and Dinner with the department head on next Sunday. Haven worn this once, I felt it was an opportunity to network with my BOSS which I nailed perfectly.
This internship was not relevant on any continent, country or city than Asia, China, Shanghai. I got deep cultural insights from studying Shanghainese (Shanghai Residents). Shanghai is more cosmopolitan than you could ever imagine. They are also getting rich day by day and enjoying shopping as their pastime. So consumer goods are heavily represented. Name any internationally recognized brand and they have it.
I noticed that Chinese have a unique taste for quality and price. The perception is that the higher the price, the higher the quality which I do not necessarily agree but that’s the reality in Shanghai. This is a relevant pricing strategy for most brands. So I just laid a free tip J. Cultural issues entangle the work of a marketer in China and you cannot override it. For example, when a brand is seen to be associated with the wrong colors, people, animals etc which culture does not favour, the brand suffers. These facts are very petty but vital for success.
Chinese social media tools as a marketing zone is a different atmosphere for marketing. I already knew about Twitter, facebook, Instagram etc but they all were blocked in China so I had to learn about WEIBO, WE CHAT and Renren. It was worth it too because I could confidently lead a campaign on these platforms in addition to what is in the west.
This is more than just a review it is actually a memo and I hope you enjoyed it. If you are looking to develop your skills and get relevant, I prescribe CIP 100% for anyone without any reservation. Their teams are solid from Program design, Placement to Customer service.
I have been transformed and I will launch my career in China because I am addicted to the experience and way of life now.