An Internship in Beijing

Talking to Technoport, two Norwegian students share their opinions and experiences on how it is to work in one of the world’s largest economies.
Norwegians Working in Beijing

Two Norwegian economics students from Trondheim Business School, Jakob Matthiasen (25) and Hilde Bøe Tjøm (23), have both been undertaking an internship at the investment company Origio Partners PLC in China´s capital, Beijing.

Talking to Technoport, they share their opinions and experiences on how it is to be a part of a working environment in one of the world’s largest economies.

Origo interns

Why did you choose to undertake an internship in China?

Hilde: “I applied for the internship because I wanted to challenge myself in a country and a culture totally different than Norway. China has rapidly grown to become one of the world’s largest economies, and the country is an important trading partner for Norway and the rest of the world. Having the opportunity to work in a Chinese company for one month was therefore very appealing.”

Jakob: “An internship in China is a rare opportunity, and when you come across such possibilities, you have to grasp them. To dive head first into the second largest economy of the world is a privilege.”

Politicians are often out in the media to talk about the significance of studying or working in China, yet we have not seen Norwegian companies highlight the same importance. What can you offer compared to students that have not been to Asia?

Jakob: “I believe that China will play a central role in world economics and politics in the future. Having actually worked in China, and experienced Chinese business life first-hand will come in handy, as China is gradually internationalizing. Furthermore, having worked explicitly with Chinese equity markets and their importance and development, I might have a better understanding of anticipated shifts in global asset management.”

Hilde: “I am studying economics. In this context it is interesting to experience Chinese corporate culture and learn about Chinese business models that apparently has been successfully. I think everyone has something to gain from working or studying in a country outside the Western Hemisphere.”

Jakob and Hilde in traditional Chinese formal clothes

Could you see yourself working in China in the future?

Jakob: “Maybe. China is bound to be one of the most important countries in the world in the near future, and to live in and experience the development China is undergoing will be fascinating,” Matthiasen said. However, there are downsides. “The pollution. I don’t think I can live in a city where I cannot see the sun and sky, or sometimes four, five blocks ahead, on a regular basis due to smog.”

Hilde: “Having spent two weeks in China without speaking a single word of Chinese, I realise that if I were working here I would definitely have to learn the language. However, if an opportunity were to appear at the appropriate time in my life, I could definitely see myself working in China for some years.”

Why would you recommend China to other students?

Jakob: “Beijing as a city is exhilarating. There is so much to do and experience, and never a dull moment. It is what you make it; you can sit in your apartment and watch series, which is nice after a hard day’s work, or you can go outside and embrace the unknown.”

“I did get around a bit, and got to do the mandatory tourist attractions like the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Silk Market and I even tried eating scorpion. On the other hand, Beijing is enormous, and we’d probably need years to really get to know the city.”

How would you would you describe working in Beijing compared to Trondheim?

Jakob: “Beijing as a working environment surprised me. It was a lot less formal than I thought beforehand, and just not that different.”

“Beijing is a major international business hub, with nationalities from all over the globe, yet it felt like I could have been at work back home in Norway. Which was comforting; there is no shortage of feeling lost when you move outside the international business areas.”

Do you have the mindset to succeed globally?

Join us in Trondheim, Norway, on 18 & 19 March as we seek to awaken the entrepreneurial mindset at Technoport 2015.

Featured image credit: Trey Ratcliff

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