Everything you need to know about interning in China. Dheeraj Lamkhade from Welingkar Institute of Management, Mumbai interned at Mattel Inc. (China) and shares his experience along with some fun-facts.
Two unique experiences being a Business Consultant just for 90 days, I had to make sure I do not get too much involved in their routine work. From the first day I said one thing “I am not an intern, I am an outern”. When you say this the management is bound to provide you smart resources to work with you, so that they can do the work once the intern is gone.
My internship objective was clear, “I am here to learn and implement various systems which are for the company and therefore should be designed by the company employees, where my task is to facilitate the progress in the right direction.” You should use a Design Thinking approach which says “I will not just gather the customer requirement, rather I will do a detailed analysis of the current state and will come up with the required unarticulated needs of the customer keeping all stakeholders in mind”.
Aim that by end of your internship you should have made 1% change in the organisation that is helping them perform their work. If you achieve that 1% change, then aim for 2% and so on. I was able to achieve much more than what I had expected, that gives great satisfaction. At end of your internship even if your contribution was 0% the company will depart you with a certificate, a parting gift and a big smile same as other interns. But that should not be the case with you; even if you are unable to work it is important to learn the business process. There are multiple departments in a business, you will surely find your area of interest where you can learn and implement something.
No one stopped me from taking up multiple projects, especially if you deliver consistent performance you will be assigned to new projects. I remember staying back late till 11pm, working 15hrs without break to get my analysis in place. Hard work is just 30% contributor to success; a lot lies behind the success. People management is a big thing that most of us struggle to achieve. I remember spending 10x more efforts in making people understand the functionality, importance and usability of a system.
Over the period most of them understood what is expected out of them and got in line, rest started pretending they cannot understand English.
The 5A approach I followed for my internship is:
• Acquire, detailed process knowledge by doing a Gemba. In operations first hand information is the only information you can rely on. So it is very important to visit the shop floor once in a day that keeps everyone in the value chain realise how concerned the management is.
• Assimilate, by getting involved with the company employees in the decision making. This is an important part in a project. If you have a good communication with all the stakeholders and keep them well informed, there is less chances of future resistance to change.
• Analyze, the situation using various tools and come out with a future state map. Involve all stakeholders in analysis and keep them updated on the process future state.
• Apply, the solution and get it accepted. This is the most critical part of the project implementation, here you will face all kind of resistance related to functionality, feasibility and coverage. So as mentioned in point 2, it is important to keep the teams involved in change. As per Organisational Change Management one should involve all teams 4-6 weeks before the actual Go-Live of a project.
• Articulate, the information to the teams in forms of Knowledge transfer sessions, SOPs and various visual trainings. Pilot phase is the most important, here you can see how your baby is walking and based on the movements you can decide what help it requires.
“If the project fails after Go-Live it is not their failure, it is your failure.”
Now, let me tell you why internship in China is a good option:
• The fun fact is, since they are not good at English they prefer to do what is asked over resisting to the change.
• The world is looking towards two major economies in coming times that is India and China
• There is a lot to learn from Chinese manufacturing companies
• Employers look out for individuals who have links in the Chinese market, who have done business with the Chinese and who understands their work culture
• It shows that you are ready to work out of your comfort zone to get a good international exposure
• Chinese have a steady life, the day usually starts at 6am and ends by 10.30pm.
• Working hours are from 8am – 5pm which is usually in most of the developed countries.
• They have dinner at 6pm, which will be unusually for most of us in India. Since we are used to having dinner after 9pm (even the restaurants serve dinner after 7). But, factually most of the countries have dinner from 6-7pm including USA, Europe.
• Time after dinner is usually dedicated to family or for some recreational activities.
Finally as part of a business opening if you are ever asked to cut roasted pork? Do it! It’s part of their tradition for luck through ritualistic spiritual offering. No matter where are you going to intern there is always a lot to learn and perform which you cannot do when you become an employer.
You must remember that an intern is paid for giving outsiders perspective where as an employer is paid for performance.
If Dheeraj’s experience motivates you, you can check the latest International internships.
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