What is the organisational culture like?
K International is a language service provider which provides services such as translation, localisation, transcription, and interpreting in more than 150 languages for organisations all over the world. Rather than referring to K International as an organisation, to me, K International is a big family. At K International, everyone is friendly and are there for each other whenever anyone needs help. We’ve eaten Chinese take away together, we have celebrated birthdays and big events together and have bought in foods to share with each other, one day we had curry day. Also, the company encourages us to unlock our full potential, so we can continuously grow and develop together. Employees trust and respect each other and we collaborate across different departments. My favourite are Friday events — where everyone has the chance to share their highlights of the week and say thank you to those that helped them during the week.
What has been the biggest challenge?
One of the most significant challenges for me would be the cultural differences. This is the first time that I have worked for a foreign company and I was the only Chinese girl in the team or maybe even the only one in the company. The language is one of the biggest barriers, and the way we work is also different, but luckily, I have a supportive team. They explained the things that I didn’t understand and were patient with me all the time. Sometimes, when I was focusing on my own jobs and being quiet, they would ask whether I needed any help rather than just trying to finish their own jobs. Another challenge is the task itself. Even though social media is such a big part of our daily lives, I didn’t have much knowledge of social media especially in the B2B context. Again, fortunately, my team trust me and have fully supported me during my whole internship. I have been improving in this area since having discussions with different social media experts while working on my projects. Every discussion helped me understand social media more and helped me feel more confident.
How are decisions made?
It depends on how big the decision is and what the impact would be. The decision is not just made by management, each decision needs a lot of communication and collaboration within the company. The whole company will try to make a decision that is of benefit to both the customers and the company.
How do teams work within the organisation?
All the departments work closely together. Employees communicate with customers, colleagues, and vendors to achieve the best outcomes. We all collaborate across the departments to create value for the customers. My manager and colleagues gave me feedback and commented on the tasks I completed, and together we discussed how to process my project. They were always there when I needed any help, no matter how big or small my questions were.
What have you learnt?
I’ve learnt a lot from K International. One of the main areas that I have developed is that I am more confident and prepared when I am allocated tasks. In one of the first weekly catch-ups the CEO; Richard, asked me what I was going to work on during the following week , and I said ‘I didn’t know’ a few times. I realised that I can’t do that again. After recognising this, I started to prepare more for each meeting. Before every meeting I reflected on what I worked on during the previous week and what would be the priorities the following week. After that, I didn’t say ‘I don’t know’ in the meeting again, and I started to be well-prepared for all the tasks ahead. Moreover, throughout the internship, I had a chance to network with different people and companies. I was getting more and more confident because I was aware that I was representing the company and I have learnt more from the different discussions that I had.
What do you think are the benefits of internships in a large/small organisation?
When I was applying to different internship projects, I tried to avoid applying at a large organisation. I think in a large organisation, people are more focussed on the results and competition, although it is great to have a big name on your CV. Based on my experiences, I believe that within a small organisation, the teams are more supportive, which allowed me to learn more and grow faster. Fortunately, I would say that I made the right decision because K International has given me the experiences that I wanted.
How have you found your year at Cranfield?
Time flies! This is not my first year in the UK, but it has definitely been the most fabulous year of my life. The highlights of this year for me have been that I have had the chance to self-develop in both my personal and professional life and that I have made lifelong friends. The first few weeks were tough, but I was encouraged to learn time management and I have learnt that I have much more potential than I thought. Another achievement that I am really proud of is being a student ambassador of Cranfield University. I promoted Cranfield University by sharing my own experiences and answered questions that the new incoming students had. It’s a fantastic experience to talk to people all around the world. On the first day of Orientation Week, the course director asked us all to introduce ourselves and to talk about our expectations of studying at Cranfield . I still remember that I said I hoped I could make some lifelong friends here, and I have. We worked on projects together, encouraged each other and learnt from each other! Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
What has been the best experience of your Master’s course?
All the group projects, the class trip to Granada and the internship project were the best experiences of my master’s course. For example, during the consulting project, we worked on real business problems issued by EY and had the chance to talk to the employees within the company. I didn’t expect to have this opportunity. I was proud that our team did such an excellent job within limited time and with the information we had. The internship itself was a consultancy project for me, and this time I was doing this alone without my Cranfield team. What I experienced and learnt in the consulting module helped me during my internship which made it go smoothly. It’s a shame that we were split into two streams and there is limited time to get to know each other, but the exciting class trip to Granada was a great opportunity to get to know more about our classmates and our professor.
Why do you think the internship is important?
The internship is a great opportunity to link the knowledge we learnt from the course to real-life business problems. During the internship, I not only received support from my supervisor at Cranfield but I also received support from the whole company. The internship project helped me grow, become more confident and to think critically. I wouldn’t have learnt what I learnt from the internship in a textbook. It also allowed me to think clearly about my future career and how to tackle challenges.
What skills from the MSc have you applied during your internship so far?
I have learnt a lot of different tools from the Strategic Management and Marketing Strategy modules, but I didn’t get the chance to apply them to real business problems until the internship. To gain more of an understanding of the company and develop a social media strategy, I applied the tools I learnt from these modules to carry out the internal and external analysis. That’s one of the most exciting things during the internship. What I learnt from the course is not only theory, but also tools that I can apply in the real world.
What are your aims and goals for the future? How do you think your time at Cranfield will help you achieve those?
My goals for the future are quite simple. I would like to get a job I love and am proud of. I didn’t want to study a masters course only because I need the qualification to get a good job. I would like to work somewhere that will help me be a better person and meet people that will inspire me as well as encourage me to grow. The main purpose of this masters course for me was to develop my career path. During the course, I have learnt about different areas of management and have completed various projects; all these areas have helped me to think more clearly about my future plan. I thank Cranfield for making me be a better person and for helping me to feel more confident about my future.8