Business students gain real work experience
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In an effort to bridge students’ studies to the real world through professional education, six constituent departments of the Business Faculty sent 177 second-year students to work as interns in 37 leading companies from June to August.
Having spent three months developing and maintaining a database for the Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Ms Phan Hoi-ning, a student from CityU’s Department of Information Systems, said she was given a precious opportunity to apply the theories learnt from textbooks to practice.
“I learnt about the principles of a content management system in class,” said Ms Phan. “During the internship, I had to use the system to help organize information for the company’s data centre. This experience increased my understanding of the theories I had learnt.”
Not only did the internship increase students’ practical knowledge, but it also helped them understand better their career goals. “I know more about my strengths and weaknesses after the internship,” said Mr Andrew Lam Chi-yui, a student in the Department of Management Sciences who worked at Walt Disney World in Florida. “As a frontline employee, I greeted thousands of customers every day and I realized that my career could be best developed in a customer service related business.”
“I also met people from around the world and had exposure to different cultures, which widened my horizons,” Andrew added.
Students’ professional performance was highly praised. Ms Cheung Lai-fong, a marketing student who worked at the Wing On Department Stores (HK) Ltd., received five compliment letters from the company on her customer service skills.
“Some customers referred their friends to me because they were satisfied with my service,” said Ms Cheung. She believed that working on the frontline helped her understand more the operation of a company and she could provide better consultancy advices to companies, a core competence in marketing.
To help students get familiar with the workplace before internships began, the Faculty of Business offered a two-day pre-internship training workshop on business ethics, business etiquette and interpersonal communication skills. During the internship period, representatives from the Faculty visited the companies to inquire about students’ performance.
Other business students going out to gain real work experience included those from the Department of Accountancy. They worked at local and Singapore’s accounting firms in the summer. Marketing-major students learned more about the operation of the business market on the mainland. Some were placed in private enterprises in Zhejiang while others helped conducting assessment researches and compiling a management report for the China Best Call Centre Awards 2006.