Virtual Internships Abroad Like the Blink of an Eye

September 20, 2021
By Ivory Gao, CAS '24

MOD Group Limited - Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

I can’t believe that this week concludes my Virtual Internship Abroad (VIA) experience. This past month, I acquired skills that have equipped me with a better understanding of the workplace especially in Hong Kong while also building upon quantitative and qualitative skills. As I reflect on this virtual yet global experience, I realized that there are 3 main things I would like to tell myself prior to starting this internship experience.

First, there’s no need to be nervous. Even before the internship began, my interview with my supervisor was not what I had expected. Rather than an interrogation, the interview was a conversation with a back and forth dialogue. We spoke about our respective interests and how they related to the job as well as projects I would be interested in working on. It is quite rare to find such interactions, especially in a setting such as an interview in which I was speaking with the CEO of the company I interned at. Having the freedom to explore various departments within the company and to speak about my interests made me confident in knowing that I was an integral part of the team.

Second, it is important to be proactive. With a 12-hour time difference, I needed to ensure that I was updating my supervisor appropriately with my progress on reports and analyses. Working in a virtual environment can make it hard to focus, so setting aside a specific chunk of time to focus only on the internship was critical. This meant closing off all other distractions and integrating the internship time as a routine. Balancing this with another internship was difficult at times, but being proactive allowed me to manage my time, remain organized, and perform diligent work.

Third, the assignments you will work on will not just be busy work or administrative work. True to my supervisor’s word, one of the tasks I was able to perform was a competitive analysis for the company. This competitive analysis allowed me to research pricing points, key competitive advantages, and perform multiple SWOT analyses. As part of the competitive analysis, I also added a section to summarize my findings through specific recommendations on the next steps that the company can take even after the conclusion of my internship such as improving SEO and adding to their social media/marketing campaign.

Four weeks went by like the blink of an eye but the learning and reflection will continue for a lifetime. The skills, both soft and hard, will stay with me for a lifetime as well. I now feel more confidently equipped to take on future challenges as I explore various career paths. The time for exploration has just begun despite the conclusion of my internship and I am excited for the next step of the journey!

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The Virtual Internships Abroad (VIA) program provides self-directed and motivated Penn undergraduate students the opportunity to gain a fully funded professional work experience over the summer with a global employer, with the added convenience of working remotely.