As my time as an intern at Henkel Shanghai is coming to an end it is time for drawing a conclusion: What have I learned? What are the most important experiences in this country and in this business culture? And would I take the same step again?
To start with the easiest one: YES, I would love to do it again! And the reasons for that are the answers to question one and two as well: I have learned a lot and were able to make great experiences here in Shanghai. I learned about new and different management styles, a new way of collaborating with each other as colleagues and I learned a lot about myself! For me it was a time of self-reflection. To “watch” yourself from the outside and your behavior in a new and different environment is a possibility to learn a lot about yourself. And to have the opportunity to do this as an intern – which means that mistakes and questions are more accepted as part of the learning process as in other positions – is a very good preparation for similar situations in the upcoming professional life.
Apart from this it was very interesting to see the processes, decisions and initiatives of Henkel from a regional and local point of view. I believe every global company sometimes struggles with the right balance of managing from a corporate perspective or leave the power of decisions to the local people in charge. To act successfully in a “think global – act local”-manner it is a very important experience to see how global initiatives are proceeded locally and what hurdles may occur.
Besides all these interesting insights in a different business environment also living in a different country – especially a country where conversation with locals is very difficult for somebody who can not speak Mandarin and many locals are not able to speak English – is sometimes an adventurous experience! Getting eight beers instead of two in a bar (be aware that different cultures show the numbers in different ways with their fingers!), praying to god on a very fast taxi trip with a driver who’s most favorite activity is honking the horn or being overwhelmed by the amazing view from one of Shanghais skyscrapers – every day is full of new experiences! One thing I can definitely promise after my great time here: Shanghai, we will see each other again!
I would like to thank all the wonderful colleagues and friends who really made my summer in this amazing city!