Interning in Hong Kong

7 February 2019

Following her studies at HKUST, Charlotte rounds off her year abroad with an internship at a design agency in Hong Kong.

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My exchange at HKUST ended, and yet I was not ready to leave Hong Kong just yet. So here I am, starting a two-month internship in one of the major design agencies in Hong Kong. After one year spent on campus, moving to the centre was quite a change. I got caught by the city’s rush, discovering the expat lifestyle. Afterworks on Mondays, roof toping on Tuesdays, Horse Races on Wednesdays, Ladies Nights on Thursdays, partying on Fridays, hiking on weekends: time flies ! Although I was very sad to say goodbye to all my friends from university, I got to meet many international students interning in Hong Kong, and again it’s been a blast. 

Working in Hong Kong is also very interesting from a professional point of view. I am interning in the commercial team of Malherbe Paris, and got the opportunity to experience how business is done in Asia. I am dealing with clients from Vietnam, Thailand, China or Korea, from major groups or smaller entities. And well, things seem to move way faster on this side of the planet. I started less than a month ago and we have already closed several clients and kicked off many projects. When writing an e-mail, I know that I will have an answer within the next few hours. But when dealing with Europe, that’s another story. 

I have witnessed how Asian cultures differences transcribe into making business, and how understanding local customs and etiquette is paramount for building successful relationships with clients. And well, having travelled so much around Asia during the year definitely helped me in that sense! 

I am receiving a valuable training here, and the experience I am gaining gives me a taste of the industry. The agency handles projects from various sizes and with different focuses. This gave me the chance to learn about a wide range of topics.  I have built up my network and strengthened my knowledge in various fields. I am given more and more opportunities as the weeks pass, and I might even lead the next meeting with our new prospects! I also participated in the 2018 Asia Retail Conference, and was interviewed by the Inside@Retail journalists.

I have both local and international colleagues, from a design or business background. The team is young and dynamic, and everyone works very hard. Although I am supposed to finish at 6:30pm, that rarely happens. 

My exchange in Hong Kong is coming to an end, and I cannot believe it is soon to be over. I had the time of my life here, away from university pressure, career and job competition and all. I feel so blessed for the time I had. We are organizing a Hong Kong reunion in Berlin in September, to make it last a bit longer.

By Charlotte de Klopstein