Global BBA - Internship experience in Nagoya
The global job market is becoming increasingly competitive as universities around the world are creating international talents who are going beyond borders in search of new challenges. To distinguish yourself from other candidates in the job market, diversification through international and professional experiences play a crucial role. With such a demand, the number of interns is increasing and more companies are offering internship positions; to accommodate this nurturing of talents, universities are also making internships an integral part of their programs.
In our Global BBA program, students are given the opportunity to do internships from the Year 1 itself: up to 1 month during Summer break or up to almost 3 months during the Spring break. And in the Year 4, students have the opportunity to have an even longer work experience with an internship of 5 - 6 months during the final semester.
Maho, a Year 3 Global BBA student, joined us to share her recent internship experience that was carried out in Nagoya during the Spring break.
How did you find this internship?
I found about Stella Innovations through a group of expats in Japan, in a post where someone was asking for companies where to do an internship.
I went into Stella Innovations’ website and I couldn’t see any internship related post or offer, however, I was very interested in the company so I decided to send an email asking for any opportunities for internships. I got a reply and was kindly invited to visit the office and talk about what opportunities they had for me.
How was the experience with this company?
The experience was really great! I felt really comfortable and well received since the beginning. The team is very international which I enjoyed, I was able to speak in Japanese with the Japanese staff, in English with the 2 owners, in Portuguese with the Brazilian staff, and even in Spanish with the Peruvian staff. The environment was casual and relaxed, everyone working close to each other in the same office, without any feeling of a strong hierarchy. I was encouraged to join the discussions and share my ideas while being given the freedom to take on tasks that I was interested in, and I was also given challenging tasks to develop new skills.
What kind of missions were you given?
- Being part of Stella’s new project planning phase (defining the services, website development, pricing strategy and plans, administrating trainers and teachers, collecting schedule and availability data from trainers, website’s layout design, establishing the required payment methods for the website, etc.).
- Doing research on competitors in the language services business area and presenting findings.
- Brainstorming ideas for the new project (services, prices, target customers).
- Helping with actual translation jobs from existing clients from Japanese to English and Portuguese (I had the opportunity to first practice translation with past documents in order to compare my version and the one translated by Stella, receiving feedback from the translator and the proofreader).
- Supporting the setup of a new website: taking charge of the website development, providing orientation to the rest of the management team on how to manage the website (gave an on-site presentation, prepared document with visuals and an explanation video tutorial).
- Preparing promotional material (service description, communication of value proposition) in both Japanese and English.
- Visiting a Japanese university in Gifu together with the CEO in order to witness a live interpretation and moderation session. The CEO interpreted and moderated an online meeting between this university's professors and researchers from a Chinese university where they shared some research results and negotiated a collaboration between universities.
- Having an HR orientation with the HR Manager to learn about communication styles, real situations and conflicts when communicating with employees, techniques to talk when there is a conflict or someone has made a mistake, and the importance of emotional intelligence.
- Having an orientation and Q&A session about Stella’s Consulting Services with the CEO to Understand the flow of the services, the value provided, examples of past customers, the services provided and the results obtained.
What were your main learning points and takeaways from the internship?
- To experience what it is like to start a project from scratch, and understand the importance of the very first steps.
- To experience how it is like to do research in order to actively apply the acquired knowledge into a real decision or project. Also, to better understand one of the industries Stella is part of, and how are other companies providing value.
- To be part of a discussion where the shared ideas are actively applied into a planning phase and to experience how small and different ideas can slowly become a more structured and interesting idea.
- To have an opportunity to apply my language skills and to develop them even further. To improve my Japanese skills by translating documents with new vocabulary and more complex texts. To get familiarized with some translation techniques and understand that it goes beyond just translating literally what is written.
- To apply my marketing knowledge and skills into Stella’s new project, practicing putting myself into the customer’s shoes and communicating a value proposition.
- To understand more about Stella’s philosophy and culture and how it is related with the work environment and interpersonal relations within the company.
- To understand more about business consulting, to go deeper into the areas that I have interest in and identify what kind of tasks I would like to be part of in the future.
Did you acquire new skills or particular knowledge?
My takeaway is that doing business in Japan is very different from doing business anywhere else. Especially for a service provider, it is very important to know how to deal with your clients in order to build and maintain the trust and relationship. Also, the quality of and commitment towards the service you deliver is what will differentiate you from the competitors.
I was able to be part of a new project and to develop my planning skills, achieving the very first phase in the development of a new project. I acquired new knowledge related to service development and planning, pricing models and promotion techniques for the Japanese market. I achieved successfully the completion of some translation tasks that I really enjoyed. When comparing my translation with the original version, I could see my improvement task after task. I gained a new skill that allows me to think further than just literal translation, and allows me to think of better ways to express the same ideas in different languages. I successfully collaborated with my coworkers, applying my knowledge on different communication styles and my previous experiences with international and intercultural teams.
How did the experience contribute to your career project?
With this internship, I was able to explore all the areas I had already interest in (design, languages, marketing, sales), but from a completely different perspective, sometimes out of my comfort zone and it allowed me to see all the opportunities and paths that exist for me.
I am definitely interested to keep exploring the business consulting industry, and if possible, to get more involved into business consulting tasks and projects. I really want to experience the process of delivering a business consulting service to a client, from the very beginning of the process to the end, and to be able to see the results of the service in the client's company performance. I am excited to get to know all the different companies that can require business consulting services, and how to same service can be adapted depending on the industry we are working with.
Of course, while being involved in this industry, I want to keep focusing on my areas of interest, to keep learning about marketing and promotion in Japan and other countries, and also continuing to apply my language skills since it is something that fulfills me.
What is your next step?
After this internship, I was offered to join Stella Innovations' management team, in order to keep supporting them with their new project, and to also work on the company's promotion and marketing while being involved in translation and consulting projects along the way. I think this experience will continue to be extremely valuable for my future, and it will keep me motivated while I study and also get to apply my knowledge outside the school too.