Having spent two years as an investment banking analyst in London- I had come to the conclusion a career in finance wasn't for me, so I decided to look at all possible options of a 'career reset'.... Jason
Health & Safety
Great overall experience- that I still think about today!
Submitted by Jason - London United Kingdom - | July 16, 2017
Having spent two years as an investment banking analyst in London- I had come to the conclusion a career in finance wasn't for me, so I decided to look at all possible options of a 'career reset'. Upon doing some research I came across CRCC Asia and the opportunities they offered for guaranteed internships.
I felt this was the perfect chance to try a marketing role- despite having no previous understanding or experience in the industry- and also to add an international dimension to my CV. During my initial advising telephone conversation, I outlined a long-standing interest in the airline industry and the advisor mentioned they had just secured a partnership with airline host company and that I could be put forward for a possible internship in their marketing department.
The entire process was professionally handled, and whilst I was made aware they were no guarantees with that specific company- it was great to know that CRCC Asia would ensure I was placed in one of my sectors of choice. It completely eradicates the most stressful aspect of job-hunting- the process of finding and applying for jobs!
About 4 weeks before going to China, I was informed I had successfully been placed at the aforementioned airline- and it happened to be Virgin Atlantic! I was extremely impressed by the strong placement and the fact it was also within the marketing team (as per my first choice).
When I arrived in Shanghai- it was for the Feb 2013 intake- so there were fewer participants than the summer- but if anything this made the experience even more rewarding as all of us got to know each other a lot more and became a very close knit group. In total there were about 15 participants - mainly from the UK, Australia, and the US.
Socially, the experience was unbelievable. Outside of work, the group went out at the weekends, explored the city, took day-trips to Hangzhou and Suzhou, and generally become inseparable. Everyone has their own personality, but the best thing is that everyone is like-minded. We had all given up jobs/studies in our home country to come half way around the world to explore a new and different culture! And fundamentally this made it such a joy to spend two months with people who to this day (4 years on) I still consider many of them my close friends (our 'China crew' still has it's dedicated WhatsApp group- and we still meet up regularly to remember the experience - and the oh so many stories!)
On a professional basis, the experience was equally rewarding for me as I was given an insight into the variety of projects and campaigns the Virgin team were involved in. During my 2 months, I was involved in several Virgin- sponsored events including the Shanghai F1 Grand Prix, Shanghai Fashion Show, and James Bond Skyfall Exhibition (where I got to meet the Bond producers!). From the event-management side, I was also given the project of organising a dedicated Scottish-themed event for 50 of Virgin's agency clients to launch its new routes to Aberdeen/Glasgow- the autonomy of this project had me sourcing suppliers, venue, arranging the actual on-the-day logistics, and working the London marketing team to ensure relevant PR. Alongside this, I was exposed to day-to-day implementation tasks for Virgin's high profile 'Flying in the Face of The Ordinary' campaign- whereby I learnt how digital and physical marketing channels were tailored to a Chinese audience. In addition my time at Virgin coincided with the airlines 'April Fool's' PR prank- whereby the airline claimed to have developed a 'glass bottom' plane- and my manager was responsible for launching the PR aspect of this in China which got picked up by CCTV and reported as a genuine news story - thus generating worldwide attention! Overall the work experience was invaluable in terms of its insight and the fact I got a glimpse of the various marketing strands of a major organisation.
Throughout the program, CRCC Asia also organised various events for us - notably a KTV and dumpling-making session, which to this day my friends and I still talk about! Whilst I needed to rely on the CRCC Asia team for support- I always felt they were there and available if I ever required them. The communication on the ground between the team and the participants was clear but not overbearing- which meant participants still had a sense of independence without feeling patronised.
Overall, I cannot speak highly enough about the experience. For some, the biggest issue will be the funding concerns- which is totally understandable, but if you can secure the funds it's such a great experience - socially and professionally- it's something you will never regret.
How can this program be improved?
The only improvement I would suggest is actually the post-program aspect. Having had a such a great experience I was keen to share this with others, and also meet other participants on the program, but so far the opportunities to do so have been limited.