This post was written by Sarah Rudd, Sage Corps' marketing intern.
Across the world from Bloomington, Indiana, we have two fellows repping Cream and Crimson in our summer program this year.
We checked in with one of our Hoosier fellows, Alex, to see what she’s been up to in Hong Kong this summer:
Alex is a rising senior in the Kelley School of Business studying Marketing, co-majoring in Social Media and Digital Applications, and minoring in Psychology. She is also considering another co-major in Sales.
Alex is currently working with Well Being Digital Ltd. (WBD101) as a marketing intern in Hong Kong, China. WBD101 is a startup that uses technology to create accurate and dynamic hearable and wearable devices for applications ranging from the consumer to the healthcare industry.
What are some of your main responsibilities at work?
“Currently I am in charge of creating an Amazon store for one of our consumer products. This includes writing forecast/planning reports that go straight into the hands of the investors, setting up fulfillment operations to reach the U.S. market from Hong Kong, dealing directly with Amazon reps in the U.S., participating in strategic product pricing, creating a promotional plan for the product on social media, building an analytical model to measure the digital promotions, and managing the continuous operations of the storefront.
I also am in charge of the company newsletter and ensuring that it reaches a multilingual audience. In addition to my marketing duties, I help product test some equipment and then interpret the results of the test in Excel for my founders.
I have a lot of responsibilities and it’s pretty hard work, but it pays off. I’m able to sit at a table with our founders and learn directly from them. I will also walk away knowing that my daily work truly contributed to the company in a meaningful way.”
Name one of your biggest wins of the summer.
“A big win in my internship was when I completed a couple market research reports for my founder and he told me I was going to present it to our investors. It meant a lot that he appreciated my work and trusted me enough to include me in discussions with investors.”
Why did you decide to participate in Sage Corps?
“The Kelley Business School has a really intense/competitive environment, which is one of the reasons it is such a fantastic program. Kelley also goes above and beyond to prepare the students for recruitment, through advising and curriculum. So as I entered recruitment season of my junior year for my summer internship, I knew I was ready. I went on a lot of interviews and even received a couple offers, but I just could not match the enthusiasm of my classmates. Everyone seemed so sure of the paths they were following. I mostly just felt anxious/scared because the internship after junior year sets the foundation for a career and nothing felt right. As the school year went on and the months passed, I never had an interview or potential job that inspired me beyond the salary potential. Finally in early March, I was about to give in to an offer when I saw a Sage Corps post on the Kelley Connect board.
Everything about the opportunity excited me. I wanted an internship where the intern’s work is meaningful to the company. I wanted to learn and grow, to experience a new city, to be challenged in new ways, and most importantly I wanted an experience so different from those I encountered in the recruiting process. I knew I made the right choice when my anxiety about starting my career was replaced with excitement.”
At this time, what are your post-graduation plans?
“I’m still discovering exactly what my dream job will be. I’m absolutely stoked that this is the position I am in as I start my senior year. From the way my internship is going, I think I’m going to chase full-time employment outside the U.S. These next 5-8 will be the greatest years of my life in terms of opportunity. I don’t plan on being safe and practical in my approach to business, but I do plan on working hard and jumping on all the opportunities that come my way.”
How has this experience helped you get closer to achieving your post-graduation/ career goals?
“As I mentioned, I still don’t know exactly what I am doing, but I’m getting closer. I feel so much better about the uncertainty of my future because I know everything will work out if I continue to work hard and seize opportunities. It has always been a goal of mine to be successful in business, but now I see a different way of reaching that goal.
This experience also has given me a reality check. I am seeing first hand how much hard work it takes to reach your goals. It’s easy to think that you will be successful as long as you take a risk and show up. Taking the risk is only half the battle. I now know how difficult success is, but I know that it can be done. I’m likely to have some huge failures, but moving past them is what is important. This is insurmountable knowledge because it removes any lingering entitlements I might have had while preparing for post-graduation.”
When we asked Alex if she had a favorite professor back in Bloomington, she confidently gave us Professor Roberto Garcia’s name.
“Professor Garcia made a resounding impact on my college career and life and he probably doesn’t even know it. My sophomore year I took the Global Core (G-Core) classes, as it is required of all students in the Kelley School of Business. G-Core is comprised of international business classes and it’s one of the things that makes Kelley School of Business so unique. Going into the class I honestly had no interest of taking it seriously, past the point of getting a good grade because I’m not an international business major. Professor Garcia taught the class and I walked away with a totally different world view. Through his lessons he demonstrated the massive amount of opportunities that hide from us when we take an egocentric and xenophobic approach to other cultures. I had never even considered living outside the U.S. in a million years. But thanks to KSB and Professor Garcia, I’m working in Hong Kong and I’m fairly certain I will be seeking full-time employment in Asia after graduation.”
We reached out to Professor Garcia to see if he had any insights about the importance of traveling and interning abroad. Here is what he had to say:
“Every year I work with hundreds of students in the classroom to help them understand how doing business internationally differs from business in their home countries. Many of these topics are surprising and interesting to them. However, once they return from studying abroad in a foreign land they actually “get it” because they experienced these differences first hand. Students frequently tell me how their global perspective on business has changed greatly and for the better after studying abroad. Often, they cannot wait to experience another country in the near future. It is always interesting for me how my students change after studying and living abroad.”
It is clear that Alex does “get it” after having spent nearly eight weeks abroad in Hong Kong. We are impressed with all that she has accomplished in this short time span, and we are excited to watch her continue grow professionally as she enters her senior year!