Strategy and Sustainability: SAIS Nanjing’s Winter Internships

HNC LC InternsRUI ZHONG
STAFF WRITER AT SAIS HOPKINS-NANJING CENTER

Over the past winter break, SAIS Nanjing students took part in career treks, travels and Lunar New Years’ celebrations. For some students, winter break offered the opportunity to learn innovative insights on careers, culture and business through various internship programs.

Ryan Murray, a first-year certificate student at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, interned at KPMG China, a global consulting firm that has an office in Beijing. He learned of winter internship opportunities at KPMG China from SAIS alumnus Luke Treloar (HNC 06’), who visited the Hopkins-Nanjing Center last autumn to offer advice and insights on consulting.

At KPMG, Murray worked on projects “examining data trends in Chinese outbound investment, regions and industries.”
When asked about SAIS coursework he found most applicable to his internship position, Murray said, “Investment Law in China and the United States” and the “Economics of Strategy” were helpful in formulating strategies for his clients seeking to enter the Chinese market for the first time.

Throughout his internship, Murray found the “SAIS community [within KPMG] was helpful.” A total of 350 interns worked at KPMG during the winter, with two SAIS Nanjing students contributing to the firm’s projects.

First-year certificate student Ethan Prizant interned at Aperian Global, a consulting firm in Shanghai, which specializes in leadership training and professional networking from China, India and America.

“I worked on a research project that involved going through interviews with a variety of [business] professionals in China and India,” said Prizant.

At Aperian Global, he was able to work on different aspects of research and contribute to intellectual property that was invaluable to consulting operations.
“Research brings a lot of leverage to [Aperian’s] consulting work,” said Prizant. Through extensive interviews and projects, Aperian advises businesses that seek to enter Asian markets.

This enables them to “function as leaders in dealing with cultural analysis of corporations and establishing programs to tackle cultural integration into a multinational matrix,” said Prizant.

Outside of the consulting sector nine HNC students also interned at the Linden Centre, a boutique hotel inside Xizhou village in Yunnan. The Centre, founded by SAIS alumnus Brian Linden (HNC 88’), provides tourist accommodations with a focus on sustainability and the cultural heritage of ethnic minorities within the village.

During their stay at the Centre, they engaged in teaching projects, environmental upkeep and infrastructural restoration of the Yang Family Compound that houses the Linden Centre. In addition to these responsibilities, Linden Centre interns were also able to work on individual projects benefiting the Centre and a nearby village. Student interns took the opportunity to organize a local food festival.

“We first had to meet with the local government and present a PowerPoint in Chinese to win their approval and support,” said Anne Meredith, a first-year MAIS student. The idea was to give locals, as well as Chinese and foreign tourists, the opportunity to be creative and infuse new ingredients into traditional Baba, which is also known as “Xizhou pizza.”

The interns eventually coordinated the event with shopkeepers and accommodated one hundred guests, who made their own Baba cakes. The festival also hosted Bai minority dancers, who performed for several hundred additional attendees. Overall, Meredith found her experiences at the Linden Centre provided insight into project management and cooperation with local business owners and government officials of Xizhou.

First-year student Dai Lei also shared his experiences on establishing cultural exchange salons with Yi minority youth.

“We had students from the American Foreign School in Shanghai and Sidwell Friends School as guests,” he said. “By hosting these salons and exchanges, we provided a great opportunity for local students to practice English and discuss experiences with students from overseas.” The salons, which SAIS interns established, remain a cultural program at the Linden Center.

Five weeks of winter break offered many internship opportunities for students in consulting, hospitality and other sectors. As these students return to SAIS Nanjing to resume classes, they return with new insights, skills and perspectives that will have a lasting impression on their future experiences.