By: Mary Rosage, Assistant Director, UNC UCS
Today, we bring you Damian Walker. Damian is a Senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Entrepreneurship. Damian was interviewed by Mary Rosage, Assistant Director, UNC UCS.
Internship: Marketing Intern at NIU Technologies in Shanghai, China Career Competencies: Global Perspective, Technical Application, Career Management
Rosage: How did you get this internship?
Walker: It was a joint partnership between the Study Abroad Office and the UNC Shuford Entrepreneurship Minor Program. I applied to it through the Study Abroad Office and was accepted, and it’s kind of where it began. From there I went through 3 different grants: the Covenant Office, The Carolina Global Initiative (CGI) office and Entrepreneurship Minor. I applied to the grant through the Covenant Office and CGI, and the Entrepreneurship minor gave every student about $1,500.
Rosage: So, tell me a little bit about what your internship entailed and what you did on a day-to-day basis.
Walker: I worked at a company called NIU Technologies and they are a smart scooter company in China. What they’re trying to do is disrupt the scooter industry by making them more advanced than they are now. What I did on a day-to-day basis is work with the international marketing team in analytics to try to figure out if paid advertisements in the expansion to Western Europe work. I would put the information into a comprehensive Power Point presentation to present to the co-founder to let them know what they should or should not do. I also did customer personas. Customers would sign up for test drives in Western Europe. My job was to look up their personal information through Google search to find out who these people were, what their interests were looking at their LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. We would create character profiles of these people and what that would do is show you who your potential audience is.
Rosage: What did you learn about working in another culture?
Walker: It’s similar but different. I think one of the biggest differences from the start was how they handled their business cards. The business card is me. I’m handing you this business card: respect it, take care of it, take it with two hands. Don’t just throw it in your pocket. It’s an extension of them. Just like any other office they have that team chemistry, they communicate with one another. It’s entrepreneurial environment so they try not to create silos between one another. There are whiteboards everywhere. Another culture difference is that you can sleep at work in China. So right after lunch, around 1 or 2pm, people pull out their plane pillows and blindfolds and kick back and take a nap for about 30minutes to an hour. But hearing from other interns, I hear this isn’t as common with international companies.
Rosage: How did this internship inform your career and what you wanted to do next?
Walker: My interest in China overall and entrepreneurial business potential in China has grown. It’s a market of over a billion people, so why not? Part of my experience influencing where I am now and where I’m trying to go is finding a way go back to China. Currently I want to go and learn more of the cultural ways and business aspects, so of course right now I’m taking more Mandarin classes, Chinese 101. I’m taking Chinese 102 and a Cantonese Language and Culture class next semester. I also want to work at a start-up at some point in time but I do recognize that I’m a very structured person. What I’ve seen at that start-up and others is that they’re still new and are still trying to create systems. They use Google analytics but because they are less than a year old some of the coding was wrong so it made some of the readings wrong. It’s interesting because I have no background in marketing so it was a lot of learning on the job.