Hong Kong

University Spotlight: Indiana University


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:

Alexandria Stone

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.”

Alex and members of her cohort in Hong Kong, China.

Alex and members of her cohort in Hong Kong, China.

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!

Interning abroad provides valuable experience that employers love to see. Join the less than 1% of college students gaining international work experience today.

University Spotlight: University of Pennsylvania


As a Penn alum, I’m admittedly biased whenever I get to brag about those students in our global entrepreneurship program. Years later (I won’t date myself), I still vividly remember my time on campus, and of course my semester abroad in Spain. After graduating with degrees in Spanish and International Relations, I then spent a year in South America. These global experiences later inspired me to build a law career representing Latin American clients. But, when I was a 22 year old living in Buenos Aires, I never imagined that I would one day commit my career to helping students from my alma mater (and 75 other universities) have their own global experiences.

Since launching our program in 2013, we’ve had 29 Penn students participate, with 7 in our summer cohort this year. After Sage Corps, these students have gone on to incredible professional opportunities at consulting firms, top tech companies, VC funds, Fortune 500 companies, and of course startups. Others have even started their own companies — shout out to Woveon and co-founder Adam Rawot. But today I’m excited to share the experiences of two Penn students, Nicole Profit and Eric Zeng, currently abroad in our 2017 summer cohort.

Nicole Profit

Nicole, a junior in the Wharton School, is a data science intern for Northraine, a predictive analytics R&D and consulting firm in Melbourne, Australia. Her client projects this summer include: (1) researching different platforms for creating chatbots for Facebook Messenger and storing user interactions with the chatbot; and (2) working on a biotechnology project for which she codes functions that can efficiently detect and remove all of the extraneous features in the scans of pregnant women.

Name one of your biggest wins of the summer.

"My biggest win this summer has been successfully presenting the research I had been doing on chatbots to a client who was interested in using a chatbot for her company’s Facebook page."

Name one of the biggest challenges you’ve successfully overcome this summer.

"The biggest challenge that I’ve overcome this summer has been learning how to write simple functions in a new [software] programming language."

What is the most valuable lesson/ most valuable skill you’ve learned or strengthened during your internship?

"This internship has taught me how to write code in Javascript and Python, two languages I didn’t know at the beginning of the summer."

How has this experience helped you get closer to achieving your post-graduation/ career goals?

"This experience has helped me get closer to achieving my career goals by providing me with invaluable experience in technical analysis." 

What's the most fun/ coolest thing you've done with your cohort so far this summer?

"So far, our cohort has gone to the Eureka Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world. The view of Melbourne from the top of the tower was truly amazing. We also went to see the Twelve Apostles, a beautiful collection of limestone stacks by the Great Ocean Road. Seeing a kangaroo hop across the road on our road trip to see the Twelve Apostles was one of the coolest moments on the trip."

Upon graduation, Nicole hopes to work in business analytics role.

Nicole and her cohort visiting the Great Ocean Road.

Nicole and her cohort visiting the Great Ocean Road.

Eric Zeng

Eric is a rising sophomore in the Engineering School studying Electrical Engineering. He is currently in Hong Kong working as an electrical engineering intern at Ampd Energy, which offers a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery energy storage solution across home, commercial and industrial applications. At Ampd Energy, Eric performs a variety of testing on components in the company’s electrical system.

What is the most valuable lesson/ most valuable skill you’ve learned or strengthened during your internship?

"To always ask questions, no matter what. If you sit by and do not ask, you will not do anything meaningful. Even if you think you are bothering your coworkers, it is better to have the right information than to work in the wrong direction."

Why did you decide to participate in Sage Corps?

"I chose Sage Corps because it offered me a vacation and work experience in one. I could explore a city that many of my friends had recommended to me while experiencing my first professional tech environment."

What is the most valuable lesson/ most valuable skill you’ve learned or strengthened while abroad in your city?

"Enjoy the view. Foreign cities are beautiful in their unique ways. Being able to slow down within a hectic schedule is essential to maintaining a feeling of balance in an unfamiliar environment."

What's the most fun/ coolest thing you've done with your cohort so far this summer?

"Getting dinner. Really, the food is so good here."

How has this experience helped you get closer to achieving your post-graduation/ career goals?

"It has given me a taste of industry-level work and what electrical engineering is like in the real world. It has helped me decide what my major is, as well as what kind of a worker I am."

Eric is considering several paths after graduation, including graduate school or joining a more established tech company. Now that he has a taste of the startup life, he’ll consider that option, but he’s not quite ready to launch his own venture, he says.

It has been great to watch Eric and Nicole grow both personally and professionally this summer. My team and I are excited to see what lies ahead for these two fellows as well as our other Penn fellows!

Interning abroad provides valuable experience that employers love to see. Join the less than 1% of college students gaining international work experience today.

The Endless Summer: Hong Kong Edition

This post was written by Emily Labattaglia, a member of our 2016 summer cohort in Hong Kong.

It’s unusual to reveal the reasoning for a story’s title at the very beginning. However, if I could truly encapsulate my experience this past summer in one word, it is endless. Although summer has come to an end, and we’re all well into another year of classes, what I’ve learned and experienced this past summer will stick with me forever. I call it the endless summer, for many reasons of which I am about to dive into.

I embarked on this journey to Hong Kong with an open mind, an eager heart, and an ambition and passion to see more and do more. What I came back with is more than words can adequately express. With Sage Corps, I was given two obvious opportunities: 1) to immerse myself in the startup scene and 2) to experience a different culture and what it’s like to live in a city abroad.

However, with these two obvious opportunities and the right perspective on things come endless opportunities. At my startup, Steel Available, I worked alongside the CEO and two co-founders on a daily basis. I learned the ins and outs of launching a startup - their struggles, milestones, successes, and failures. I was given a great deal of responsibility, and really felt that I had complete ownership of my projects and it was my company too. It’s definitely exciting and made me want to go to work each day and check the next tasks off of my to do list. There were even nights that I stayed later in the office just because I wanted to, the environment was energetic yet comforting. My startup was based in an accelerator and co-working space called Blueprint. Being surrounded by high-energy, motivated, entrepreneurs and hearing their stories truly instilled in me a sense of determination and a feeling that I could do anything I put my mind and energy to. There were always other entrepreneurs next to me with the same mission. My experience led me to realize and value the importance of the people by my side. My bosses became my friends. It was a sad farewell, especially after a summer filled of team bonding activities such as squash, swimming, family dinners, sushi and sake, and even karaoke! 

Members of the Sage Corps 2016 Summer cohort in Hong Kong

Members of the Sage Corps 2016 Summer cohort in Hong Kong

So at the end of the work days, I would make the 15 minute walk back home. And there is nothing more exhilarating than walking on unexplored streets, hearing people speak a language you don’t know, and seeing signs you can’t read. You’re opened up to worlds you don’t know and haven’t yet explored, and it pushes you to keep learning and experiencing. Hong Kong is rich in culture, food, and geography. We would spend the weekdays working and the weeknights exploring the city, meeting new people, and eating delicious food. The city is home to cuisines from all over the world, but my favorite was definitely going out for dim sum and eating xiaolongbao (soup dumplings)! On the weekends, we were hiking mountains and riding speed boats to secret beaches. Hong Kong is an extremely diverse city - in people and geography. I encountered people from all over the world, speaking many languages. It’s a buzzing city with endless things to do and see, but then there is beautiful untouched nature close by. A break from the bustling city is only a subway or ‘minibus’ ride away, and you’re in a beach paradise or at the beginning of a challenging hike to the top of Hong Kong.

The combination of being abroad and working at a startup makes for a powerful one. You are exposed to unfamiliarities that force you to exit your comfort zone. It’s being faced with trying new foods, learning new customs, networking with people from across the world, and seeing breathtaking sites and views that give you the sense of motivation and inspiration. The intangibles I learned from my experience with Sage Corps has taught me endless lessons and opened up endless possibilities for my future. I can’t wait to see what’s next.