"The Work Experience in an International Company and Skills Gained via Internship Cannot Be Overestimated"
2nd year student Valeria Shabellova tells about her internship in China.
Getting practical experience is a mandatory stage while studying at the Master's programme "Business and Politics in Modern Asia". As a part of research and project work, Master's students have pass an internship in Russian or foreign company. Some students find opportunities to apply their knowledge by themselves, while others receive a chance to get practical experience in the constant HSE partner companies.
At the end of her first year of study, Valeria Shabellova was invited to the company of Sergey A. Kolesnichenko, who is a Senior Lecturer and Professor of Practice at the HSE Saint Petersburg. In his company, Valeria had been working for more than six months. Specially for HSE media Valeria shared her impressions of this experience.
– Valeria, how hard was it to find a company for the internship?
– No one offered me a job, I found it myself, just asking Prof. Kolesnichenko after the exam: "Well, may I join your company?". And I was invited! This is how my journey into the world of business and metallurgy began, though unknown and complex but an interesting one.
– What were your job functions?
– To be honest, at first it was unclear what was going on, what they wanted from me and why all of that was so necessary. But gradually – thanks to the help of colleagues, their attentive attitude to my work, timely and fair criticism and introduction to the business – it became easier. It was a difficult work overall, but I would like to note that the pleasant feature of the internship was the attention paid to me, the clear and professional guidance under which I worked all this time, the possibility to ask for help and advice at any time. My area of responsibility included both paperwork (technical translation, accounting reconciliation, checking suppliers on a Chinese online platform) and full-fledged field research. Thanks to this internship I have gained experience in not only work with official documents in Russian, English and Chinese, but also in Chinese business communication.
– Could you please tell us about your Chinese work experience and businness interaction?
– The business trip to Liaoning province, China, the first one for me, was a punchline of the internship. The preparation, the trip itself, and writing the report took a lot of time, but turned useful for both me and the company. During my business trip, I visited three companies engaged in the extraction and production of refractory materials. The purpose of the trip was to find a supplier of a specific product for a Russian metallurgy plant. My tasks included not only representation of the company, acquaintance with the Chinese management, but also inspection of the production process, which was the most difficult for me, since the technical part is not my strong side. During the trip, I had managed to show my knowledge and skills, to get an idea about the extraction of raw materials and the production of refractories, and finally, to see for myself all that they tell you in the books, all that I had been doing for six months – namely, how the Chinese business world operates and how the production process works.
– What are the results of your internship? What of advice would you give to the future students?
– I believe that the importance of the experience of working in an international company cannot be overestimated. I am grateful to HSE for the opportunity to gain practical skills that will be relevant not only for an orientalist or metallurgist, but also for an employee in any field. Over the past six months, I have become convinced that the desire to improve, focus on the future, the ability to become involve into the details, the ability to analyze and ask questions, and the willingness to work when required, are qualities that any highly qualified specialist should possess. These are the skills I have learned during my internship. I hope that the experience and knowledge gained will help me to develop more actively in the professional sphere. As for me, I would say that HSE provides various opportunities, but it depends solely on you how to use them.