How To Find a Quality Internship in Hong Kong? (A Global Business Boost)

Michael MicheliniBlog, Education, Lifestyle1 Comment

Want to take your experience from paper and dorm rooms to real world experience?

An experience is a great way to do that – and especially in a global city in Hong Kong.

For me, internships during my time in college helped me define what it was I liked (and DIDN’T LIKE – which is almost more important) about “work”. An internship is a chance to spend a few months inside of a company without long term commitments of a full time employment contract.

Today’s guide is geared towards Hong Kong market interns, but can be applied to any hungry entrepreneurial minded college student looking to boost their career through internships.

So buckle up, and let’s go through some ideas on how to find your dream internship in HK.

Started With a Question From An International Business Student

I love hearing from readers, especially those who support the Global From Asia movement through purchasing one of our products. I received this email from Julius, a fun one!

I really enjoyed your video course [Hong Kong Supercharged]! Currently I am studying International Business Administration in Vienna. During my summer brake I am planning to go to Hong Kong. Your video course strengthened me in that decision! I am writing you in the hope that you could give me some tips how and where to start looking for an internship. What really interests me is the e-commerce business! I would appreciate some information or contacts from your side a lot! Drinking a beer with you in Hong Kong would be high on my agenda. Corresponding to the beer I would love to bring you a cigar from my last trip to Cuba.

Enjoy your weekend!

Best regard from Vienna
Julius

So he agreed that I answer his message through a proper blog post so that we can help more people in the long term.

First – What Is Your Goal With The Internship?

Before you dive into job directories and start digging deep into it – what is your goal? There are a few I can think of:

  • Get relevant job experience for your CV and Linkedin Profile – we all want to have that line item on our new and growing resume that we have “real world and relevant” job experience instead of just a list of college courses and software knowledge.
  • Get credits in our university – some universities require, or encourage, their students to get an internship. You get points and submit an official letter from the company to the school to prove that you did it and the employer was satisfied. I have done this for a few students in the past.
  • Money – who doesn’t like money? There are paid internships out there, but you need to be clear upfront in your search and expectations.
  • Travel and Test a New City – Why not do your internship in a new international destination? You can have some fun experiences in that city during your summer holiday and also check off an internship box at the same time.
  • Network – If you’re serious about moving to that location, or diving deep into that industry, a relevant internship will help you achieve just that.
  • Get A Full Time Job Offer At That Company – when I interned at Deutsche Bank in my junior year of college, I was targeting a full time offer after graduation. By spending a summer with a company you want to work for, it is a great “getting to know you” period for both sides. Normally companies give first dibs to interns before they go into full time recruitment of college graduates.

Probably you have a mix of requirements above. I would suggest actually writing it down, in a journal, and remembering that during your internship job hunt.

Make a Resume, But Also “Hustle”

I know, I sound like Gary Vee over here – but hustle is important when finding a summer internship. From my own blog, I get quite a few emails from young and hungry college students looking to soak up as much knowledge and experience in their summer break. Its exciting for sure! But just sending a few resumes around will only get you so far.

Stand out!

Like Julius did, send a personal email. Read the company’s blog posts (or take their paid video course – ha!) and then when you reach out to them you’re not just sending them a mail merge study mass message. I don’t think I’m alone when I read cold emails and decide if this person has spent at least 5 minutes reading my company about us page before emailing.

It really doesn’t take that much extra time to stand out!

It still amazes me how most people are so lazy – and probably shy – to spend a few extra minutes on checking for a job opening background.

Make Your Own Job!

All too often, company executives are too busy to think about what kind of tasks to give a new summer intern.

Make your own summer internship.

Review their company website, see a “project” that you can tackle and suggest it to them. This goes for internships, but also full time jobs. The company’s management will be amazed that a young college student can see opportunities to improve their business and it will be a no brainer for them to ask you to come in.

Ask For Referrals

If you go back up and re-read Julius’s email – he asked me if I knew anyone. That’s a good way to start to branch out – as a referral or introduction is great. But you should also suggest what kind of work you’d like to do, and exactly what your goals are. As someone on the internet it is hard to know what their intentions are.

But even if your dream employer isn’t hiring, follow up and ask if they know other companies that may be interested in you for an internship opportunity. This is good old fashioned networking, and should also be included in the #hustle section above.

Leveraging Directories in Hong Kong

Of course, platforms exist to help these 2 sides match – the hungry and able bodied intern with the corporation looking for young talent. There is more opportunity in Hong Kong for internship platforms, but I will list a few directories and resources to get you started

AM-AZED: We had Anna and Constantine on the podcast talking about finding an internship in Hong Kong – they are from AM-AZED which is a platform specifically to help college students and recent graduates (millennials ) find their dream job and achieve their goals in life.

WHUB – A growing community of startups in Hong Kong providing plenty of opportunities to interns in their job platform. Whub is growing fast and I am sure as you read this will have even more opportunities there for your internship.

Start Base HK – More like an Angel List of Hong Kong – this is a database of local HK startups. No job board that I can find for now, but the idea is that you can search through targeted companies you would want to work for now,, and then #hustle and reach out to them manually.

Our GFA Job board – We launched a job directory – where we are gathering more and more job opportunities, from full time to part time to internship. Check it out – create a free profile, and even ask HK startups you find that don’t have a listing to use our free resource!

InvestHK.gov.hk – The InvestHK division of the HK government is a special division servicing local startups. It is worth sending them a note about your interest to come to Hong Kong and do an internship. Their angle is to help the local startup and innovation community, and if you are a technical or marketing talent, they would love to have you add value to the ecosystem for a summer opportunity.

Internships: A Bridge to A Global Business Career

I’m so excited you made it through the intern guide with me today. Thinking back to my own college days and the hunt for the ideal internship, I remember how hard it was. Try to put yourself in the employer’s shoes – you are only able to work a couple months. What is the ROI on that? They need to spend time recruiting, and then interviewing and selecting. Once they find intern(s) they then need to train them and get them work to do. While this may make you laugh – it is a big undertaking! Larger companies have HR department dedicated to this, but if you want to work for a growing tech startup – they don’t have these resources.

So my biggest advice is to reduce the decision making barrier as much as possible. Create your own internship there. Think of a 2 month project that you can start and finish during your time at the company. For example:

  • Update their website – if you know WordPress and other web software technologies, they would love to have you. Tell them you can improve their website and by the end of their internship will have it completed enough to be able to hand off to someone else.
  • Make a competitive analysis – Businesses need to be looking closely at their competitors, but all too often get too busy to do so. You can suggest to spend a summer period doing deep analysis of their competitors.
  • Do business development outreach – maybe a new product they are doing, or want to do – you can find targeted leads and business cooperations and set up calls and appointments.
  • Organize a community event – help them engage with their local community. Organize an evening networking event.

Really, the sky’s the limit. But a goal is to show them you are independent, and can work without too much oversight. Take it from me, as an overworked, underpaid blogger – if you suggest you can take a project and run with it without much management from me – how can I say no?

Best of luck on your internship hunt. Keep me posted with updates, as well as other resources, in the comment section below.