Asia Summer Internship launched
This summer, Queen’s School of Business launched the Asia Summer Internship program, giving a group of students the opportunity to gain experience abroad. With placements in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing, students were given the opportunity to explore global economic hubs. The organizations with which students get to work are also diverse in range, from green energy firms to asset management companies and academic institutions.
The internship program is the brainchild of William Yu, Sc’84, MBA’87, and his wife, Diana Liu. William and Diana are the co-principals of Cansbridge Capital Corp., an investment firm they started in 2000 in Vancouver. In 2007, they relocated to the San Francisco Bay area, but they are now based out of Asia. “I was always very glad to hear of the tremendous exchange program most third-year Commerce students take part in,” says William. “I wanted to do something meaningful for the University. As I thought back to my own days as a student, I remembered how difficult it was to find a good summer job.”
William and Diana then pursued this idea further. Says Diana, “Asia has become an engine of economic growth for the rest of the world. We’ve met quite a few entrepreneurs and one of the common issues they mention is the lack of a ‘world-scale’ mentality.”
Then the idea came together. “It was a bit of a no-brainer that we decided on funding an internship program,” says William. “I sounded out a few people, including Vice-Principal (Advancement) Dr. Tom Harris and the School of Business’s Associate Dean of MBA Programs, Dr. Elspeth Murray. The response I received was overwhelmingly positive.” The Asia Summer Internship was officially launched this year, with nine students from the School of Business and one from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “There is always room for improvement,” says Diana. “We will continue [with Queen’s] to fine-tune all aspects of the program.”
Christopher Brooks, Sc’12, participated in the inaugural internship program this past summer. “Overall, the internship to Asia was one of the best experiences of my life,” says Christopher. His placement was with Quest Trade International in Shanghai. “I learned how to speak basic Mandarin in two months, because it’s necessary when all of your coworkers speak little English. I also gained a sense of independence that will be useful to me for the rest of my life.”
Intern Jane Wu, Com’12, worked for an investment advisory firm in Hong Kong. “It has been a phenomenal eight weeks filled with unparalleled opportunities to undertake interesting projects, play an active role in refining our business model, and receive mentorship from my boss and CEO. Living in Asia also allowed me to develop an authentic, first-hand glimpse of the business climate and cultural lifestyle that no news articles or books could ever give me.”
This was precisely what William and Diana were hoping for. “By helping to internationalize the students, I think this program will help them become more creative in their tackling of a world market,” says William. Diana adds: “The program is also meant to enhance the students’ understanding of Asia, and what’s it like to work in an incredibly dynamic environment, with all its energy and competitiveness.” He adds that “ultimately, it’s about promoting Queen’s students as the world-class students we know them to be.”