Ryan Walker - Intern Hong Kong Director
Ryan is an outgoing self starter who loves to travel and embrace different cultures. He left school at 16 to a gardening job, and by the age of 17 he was working for KPMG in London where he spent seven years in a number of management consultancy and product management roles. After his time in the corporate world, Ryan decided to try working for a smaller company and went to work for a tech company in Silicon Roundabout. Ryan originally moved to Hong Kong to join a tech startup as a director, before joining the Intern Hong Kong team last year.
You’re the Director of Intern Hong Kong, how did you originally get connected to The Intern Group?
Its a bit of a long story, but in short, I heard about The Intern Group’s Hong Kong program through a friend. I loved the concept and the values of what they were doing and decided I wanted to be a part of it. As someone who started work at a young age, I can really appreciate the huge value in gaining successful work experience, and I wanted to help create opportunities for people from all around the world.
What exactly does your role as Director entail on a daily basis?
Every day is different, although my main focus is on ensuring all interns on our program are matched with great companies for their internship. I am always building on our placement company partnerships, so I am often networking, delivering presentations, and having coffee meetings to try and recruit the best companies into our portfolio. I also oversee the Hong Kong operation and team.
What sets Intern Hong Kong’s programs apart from other internship options in Hong Kong?
At Intern Hong Kong we pride ourselves on ensuring each and everyone that joins our program has an experience of a lifetime. The most important part of our job is to ensure that the internship we find for each of our candidates is a great match with their desired area of work and will really help to develop and challenge them. People that join our program come to Hong Kong for for an internship, although we believe its much more than just an internship; it is also about gaining independence, it’s about cultural immersion, and also meeting new people from all over the world. Therefore, we believe that the community is equally as important as the internship itself, and we have a dedicated Community and Events Coordinator who focuses just on this.
What are the most common types of available internship placements in Hong Kong?
The majority of people that join our program are looking for Finance, International Business, or Marketing/PR internships, although we have many great placement opportunities in all industries.
What do you look for in applicants to The Intern Group’s programming in Hong Kong?
The most important things that we look for in our candidates are eagerness to learn, passion, and curiosity. Although it is a bonus, we know that most people who join our program won’t have much work experience, therefore it’s really important that the above qualities are things that Intern Hong Kong and our placement companies will be looking for.
What is the best advice you can give students who are interested in applying to an Intern Hong Kong program?
Believe in yourself. Yes, it can be scary, and yes, you will no doubt have lots of questions, but we have a fantastic team in Hong Kong who will guide and help you all the way.
We do try to encourage people to know what they want to gain from their experience, and I don’t just mean the internship. Setting personal development goals and getting ready to push yourself will ensure you gain as much from the experience as possible.
From your own experience, what is a typical day like for a student interning with you in Hong Kong?
This really depends on the company and the intern. Eager interns can expect to gain real responsibilities by taking on parts of the entirety of projects and tasks. Gone are the days where interns just make the tea; all of our placement companies are ready to provide real work and mentoring.
What kind of excursions or activities do you have for interns while they’re in Hong Kong?
Inclusive as part of every program, interns will enjoy an amazing day trip to Macau (the Vegas of Asia), a day of culture exploring in Hong Kong’s Lantau island, and dinner at the Victoria peak while enjoying the breathtaking views of Hong Kong. Our Community and Events Coordinator also arranges several events and activities every week which all interns are welcome to join.
What’s the biggest surprise most interns experience when they arrive in Hong Kong?
Most people know that Hong Kong is a fast and dynamic city, but when you arrive the energy and pace that possess the city is truly incredible. With such speed and so many people, a good infrastructure is essential and that’s where Hong Kong shines, everything works super well.
What’s the #1 career benefit of doing an internship abroad in Hong Kong with The Intern Group?
With jobs so hard to come by (especially ones that you really want), having an overseas internship in one of the world’s most powerful cities and in a great company will undoubtedly have a huge positive impact on securing a job in the desired industry. The internship isn't all, we encourage all of our interns to use this time to become more independent, confident, and more 'worldly’. All of this combined really sets up our interns for getting their successful career underway.
Do you have plans of expanding your program in any way?
We are always expanding our program. Whether it's gaining new placement partnering companies, more interns joining our program, or even expanding the team so that we can continue to run a quality program.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of your role as a Director with The Intern Group?
The greatest sense of achievement is no doubt seeing interns grow and develop throughout their time in Hong Kong. It's also great when interns approach us at the end of their programme extremely thankful for the experience and everything they have gained during their time in Hong Kong.