From Overseas Press

Western grads head to China for internships

Updated: 2011-06-03 16:39
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More Western graduates are making their way to China for internships, hoping that their work experience in China will help them stand out in a tough market, says an article in the Wall Street Journal on May 30.

According to the article, applications for internships in China have more than tripled over the past couple of years, based on figures released by CRCC Asia, a London-based recruitment consultancy.

The reason is twofold. First, "The Chinese economy is booming and it's very appealing for graduates to get an insight as to why that's happening by visiting [the country]. With the job market depressed in the UK and the US, China offers a great opportunity to get a long-term career," says Daniel Nivern, CRCC Asia director.

Second, "A lot of businesses realize that if they want to be part of the global economy, they need to be going into China," adds Nivern, whose company has mostly placed recent graduates from the UK and the US, but also from other European countries such as Spain, in finance, marketing and legal firms in China.

"I have been told repeatedly that my work in China looks great on my résumé," says Alexander Lesher, who recently finished a master's degree in Environmental Engineering at the Indiana-based Purdue University and subsequently undertook a two-month internship at environmental company Nanjing Zhuangxun Tech Co in Beijing.

But some recruiters are quick to point out that China isn't the only place that will help students stand out. Chris McCarthy, of London-based recruiter Hays PLC, says it isn't the China experience that employers are looking for but evidence that potential employees are willing to challenge themselves. "If Europe and the US are going to maintain their place in global business, people need to be prepared to put on a backpack" and head for less familiar places, says McCarthy. "It is evidence that people are willing to challenge themselves, not specifically China, that employers are looking for. They want to see a bit of ambition and entrepreneurship."