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People

International appeal

From Madrid and Seattle to London, NTU undergrads spill the beans on how they landed that dream internship overseas
by Kayce Teo

No pain, no Spain

  • NTU student taking a selfie on a snow-clad mountain in Spain
  • NTU student with international colleagues in Spain
  • NTU student posing with a friend at work in Madrid, Spain
  • NTU student sitting in front of a laptop holding a microphone
  • NTU student filming in front of a camera

Olivia Higgins

  • Third-year Communication Studies student
  • Six-month internship at LOLA MullenLowe, a leading creative agency in Madrid, Spain

“Months of planning, starting from when I was on exchange at the University of California, went into securing this internship. I attended career events, worked with NTU’s Career & Attachment Office to improve my cover letter and resume, reached out to individuals on LinkedIn, and even sent direct messages on Twitter and Snapchat. I spoke to over 50 companies and had intense online interviews and aptitude tests.

On my first day at LOLA MullenLowe, I was asked to appear in a short video made for social media. These days, I work in front of and behind the camera. I am involved in video production, online journalism and public relations.

I arrived not being able to speak a word of Spanish, but within two months of total immersion, I could order food and start my emails in the language.

Work is fast-paced, but the Spaniards value their work-life balance and know how to unwind. People bring their children and even their pets to work. The office gym is always full and during breaks, people take their children to the park or simply sit under the sun with a good book.

On a recent company trip to Cerler, near the border of France, I met the LOLA MullenLowe team from Barcelona. I had fun interacting with everyone in a relaxed, social setting, and I even found myself on a snowmobile with my boss!”

High-flier

NTU student in front of a lake and snow-clad mountains in USA

Brandon Young

  • Final-year Business student
  • Year-long internship at Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, in Seattle, USA

“Boeing is huge, and being in the Everett Factory, which assembles the 787 Dreamliners, puts into perspective how small we are. But it also shows how the impossible can be accomplished when hundreds and thousands of people work together.

I work in the Flight Services Data Analytics department, where I support the streamlining of operations through data analysis. I interact with staff from other departments as well as the leadership team to understand the overall business.

Location was my top priority when sourcing for my internship. I’ve worked in both China and Singapore, and since I’d lived on the West Coast of the US as a child, I wanted to find a company there.

I’ve always loved the concept of aerospace and the ingenuity of human engineering that allows us to take to the skies. My experiences in NTU and previous internships, coupled with my deep reverence for the aerospace industry, convinced Boeing to offer me an internship and subsequently extend it to a year.

Working here gives me a taste of life after I graduate. I have to budget for rent, transport and food–a big difference from when I was on exchange at Curtin University in Australia. Other than that, there’s been no major culture shock, although I really miss my Hainanese chicken rice, bak kut teh and laksa.”

Banking on steely nerves

  • NTU student in a ski resort in United Kingdom
  • NTU student on a bridge across a small river in the UK
  • NTU student in a historic site in the UK
  • NTU student sitting on the front end of an old aeroplane
  • NTU student having drinks with international colleagues

Darick Chen

  • Third-year Accountancy and Business student
  • 10-week internship with Goldman Sachs in London, UK
  • 15-week internship with JP Morgan, Singapore

“Preparation and persistence are key when applying for internships. I remember frequently checking the job portals of the firms I was eyeing.

Before bagging the internship with JP Morgan, I attended campus presentations held by the firm and got acquainted with its team members. I found the opportunity with Goldman Sachs through the Nanyang Business School’s career portal. The job scope was similar to my stint at JP Morgan, so I had an advantage.

There were multiple rounds of interviews to go through in both cases. Nerve-racking as they were, I learnt that interviewers look for candidates who can articulate why they fit a particular role in a simple yet engaging manner. At times, I felt like I was having a casual chat with the interviewers.

At Goldman Sachs, I was involved in equity investments within an internal hedge fund. I was tasked to interact with company management teams, brokers and industry consultants to build financial models. Beyond coffee catch-ups with seniors, the company also planned weekly dialogues with senior management.

I was fortunate to have met several big guns at dialogue sessions: Lloyd Blankfein, the Chairman and CEO, investment banker Gary Cohn, who left the company to become chief economic adviser to US President Donald Trump, and Michael Sherwood, the former co-CEO of Goldman Sachs.

Working in London as the only Singaporean intern at the firm was an intriguing experience that was both refreshing and challenging. Beyond that, London is actually similar to Singapore. Both are bustling financial hubs and cultural melting pots that attract talents from across the region.”