12 Sep Success Story - Securing an International Full-Time Position Abroad
We were very excited to interview Emily Zhang, an Absolute Internship Alumnus from Columbia University. Keep reading to discover her success story! A huge thanks to Emily for her time!
Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Emily Zhang and I come from San Francisco, USA. I currently work for Navitas Capital in Silicon Valley. I'm an Associate with a background in venture capital and private equity.
When and where did you take part in your Absolute Internship?
I took part in the Absolute Hong Kong Program in summer 2014.
What were the most valuable things that you learned during your experience?
I graduated in Political Science with a focus on Business Management at Columbia University, in New York. But like most people, I was unsure if it was what I wanted to pursue in my career. So I embarked on my first internship experience abroad at PineBridge Investments as a China Equities Research Analyst.
During those 2 months, I learned so many things about the consulting industry and about life in general in Hong Kong!
What do you remember most fondly about your time in Hong Kong?
I loved having a group of international people from the Absolute program to hang out with. It was so much fun. Looking back at the experience with a new perspective now, I feel like we all grew together personally and professionally!
I loved all of the weekend and cultural activities, my favorites were hiking near Stanley beach, meeting with the other interns after work and nights out.
What advice would you give to someone considering pursuing an internship abroad?
My advice to students is that you should try your best to get out of your country, join the international student community, visit as many things as you can and meet as many people as possible!
Before going abroad, choose the right city for you. Going abroad will have an added value to your resume, choose the location that’s best for your field. Somewhere you are dying to explore and that will allow you to get out of your comfort zone.
"This is one of the few times in your life that you'll have the opportunity to explore and work internationally! As an American, I didn't want to limit myself to interning in the US. There's so much more to explore abroad!"
What happened after you finished your internship?
They made me an offer to continue working remotely as a part-time paid intern while I was still at university, I helped them with some research throughout the year.
Summer was approaching again, and my manager called me. He knew I was keen on gaining experience in other aspects of my field, so he set me up with another company in the investment banking and finance industry. I came back to Hong Kong as an intern for the second summer consecutively!
From there, my work experience has been all in finance.
What had you originally wanted to do when you graduated?
I always wanted to go into venture capital, and that's what I'm doing now!
"Absolute gave me the exposure and helped me understand what I want
and don't want to do in my professional career."
How did your internship help you achieve your goals?
It gave me the opportunity to have an international background, set myself apart from other applicants and highlight my resume. I learned a ton during my two summer internships in Hong Kong!
How did the experience change you?
I’m Cantonese, but in America, I never made the effort to learn Cantonese. Personally, it was a great chance to learn Chinese, immerse myself in my origins, and discover where do I come from. It was very inspiring. And I chose Hong Kong because some of my relatives actually live there. It's an amazing city.
What did you get out of the program?
It’s hard to find such an international internship. The structure of the program is great. I loved the fact that it came all in one complete package, with tours, activities and accommodation.
Now I have friends from Absolute -all of us travelled internationally after the program-, and networking is key because my former boss offered me my next opportunity and he's a good friend of mine now!