Notes from an intern: Nicole Celia
This internship story relates to intern Nicole Celia who joined Star Anise in the summer of 2023. Hailing from Indonesia, she is a sophomore (second-year) student majoring in Business Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Intrigued by what a career in marketing entails, Nicole applied for a marketing internship role at Star Anise. In this blog, she'll share her key takeaways from her internship.
How was the internship at Star Anise?
I felt I adjusted well to the office culture. Star Anise office has a mix of top down and bottom-up management approach. The internship offered by Star Anise was like an opportunity to go to the backstage and see behind the scenes of the legal and recruitment industry. I was given various tasks to help with and during a catchup talk with one of the directors, I was able to receive feedback and give my own opinions. The autonomy given to me gave me the motivation to do my best but also to experiment freely. The feedback I received was motivating and objective, and enabled me to gain more knowledge in the relative short space of time.
What did you learn?
In short, I learned a lot! I quickly had to get accustomed to frequently-used terms in the legal and recruitment industry, understanding what goes into customer relationship management and event management, and generally how to get business done. I also learned to be more proactive in working on my tasks and daily interactions with other colleagues. The frequently used terms I learned, to name a few, were placements, secondments, CRM, ALSP, candidate sourcing, new law, FTC (fixed term contract), FTE (full time employee), PTE (part time employee), and outsourcing. For event management, I had an opportunity to assist one of the colleagues who was responsible for organsing the food and beverage for an in-house event with clients. From the food and drinks preparation to the planning and event arrangement for a networking event to attending the event itself and interacting with new people, it was all fun and a memorable experience.
"The internship offered by Star Anise was like an opportunity to go to the backstage and see behind the scenes of the legal and recruitment industry"
What did you do?
My tasks as an intern were varied and numerous! I managed to generate nine articles on various recruitment industry and talent management related topics, created graphic design content for social media, conducted independent industry research, helped with daily posting of job entries to the company's database, carried out intermittent candidate sourcing using CRM software, and conducted analyses on job advert performances and creating a report with observations. I completed all of my tasks effectively and on time and contributed positively to the company's social media footprint. It was unexpected, but I really appreciated receiving positive feedback from my supervisor, which was a great accomplishment.
What did a typical day look like?
Usually, I would begin the day by working on the daily updates on the company's database as often it would work in tandem with another colleague working in sales and research needing the information updates. As the company was strategically located in Central it was very easy to find food at lunchtime. It was great to try different restaurants within walkding distance, either with a colleague or a friend who worked nearby. Catchup time with one of the directors, in my opinion, was the most interesting part of the day. It wasn't an everyday item on my shcedule, but we would hold these at least once or twice a week. What I enjoyed about it was that it was quite interactive and just as importantly, it made me felt heard.
What were the challenges?
The initial challenge I faced during my internship was being the only intern at the time (there were some who came before me). My anxiety quickly subsided as the team was super supportive. Every team member acknowledged this and it comforted me when they pointed out that whilst it could be challenging, it can also be seen as an opportunity. For that, I was really grateful for the team. They show their hospitality and encouragement. Being the only intern at the time meant I was receiving a huge learning exposure, from marketing, salesforce methods to industry research. For instance, I didn't expect to get as much creative freedom one designing social media content (posts, articles, graphic designs). As there are three companies within the Star Anise Group (Star Anise, Yuzu, and Star Anise Leadership Training / SALT), I was involved equally in supporting three company’s social media presence. To make use of the opportunity, I conducted extensive research about each company to understand each of their core businesses. It motivated me to persist on revising and reviewing my research and designs before asking for feedback from others.
What were the perks and highlights?
Two of my favorite perks were having a personal desk and self-serving coffee machine. As it was my first internship in Hong Kong, a personal desk is a privilege to create in my own working space. Also,the coffee machine was huge benefit to enjoy in the afternoon as a little treat with cookies or crackers!
The highlight of my internship at Star Anise was the daily interactions and tasks I had with each member of the company. I learned that, although getting jobs done is important, human connections are still crucial and should be prioritized. My best moments were when she had lunch with other colleagues, attended a team lunch, and joining a networking event. These moments would not have been possible if I hadn't joined Star Anise's internship program. To sum up, my key takeaways from the internship included having the skills for increased productivity, gaining legal recruitment industry insights, job market insights, realising what is needed to make impactful work, and the value of interpersonal connections. I really am grateful to Chris and Annie for the opportunity and I'm excited to use the skills and knowledge I gained with my internship with Star Anise in my future endeavors.
My one-month internship at Star Anise provided me with valuable insights into the marketing industry in the legal and recruitment industry. I developed numerous practical and business skills and had the opportunity to work on various projects while receiving motivating and objective feedback. My experience also taught me the importance of human connections and the value of being proactive in my work. If I didn't understand a task or had difficulty in completing it, I appreciated that it was important to ask for help and receive guidance, and that helped me achieve my tasks more efficiently.
What tips would you give to other interns?
“One step at a time, take your time” – from a colleague on my first day
Generation-Z is a very active in everything — sports, self-exploration, hangouts, career, etc— and most of the time they forget to rest properly. In my first day at Star Anise, I found myself trying to be busy and quickly buried myself with tasks. I approached my work with the thinking of, ‘the more she does, the more she learns’. However, the most important thing is to get to know the people and to adapt to the new surroundings. You can worry about the work later, just take it one step at a time.
“Bring your notebook and always read to jot down some notes” – from the director
This principle is sort of lost in the younger generation. However, taking notes in any way (notes on the gadgets, or notebook and pen) is essential, for it helps you to stay focused and avoid missing information. During training, this method is really important, because the manager does not like repeat himself.
If you have had a similar internship experience, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or ask any questions you may have.