An Intern's Perspective: CUHK student Nicole Celia

by Guest contributor in Blog

DatePosted on August 29, 2023 at 02:08 PM
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This is the story of our recent intern, Nicole Celia, who joined us in the summer of 2023. She is a sophomore student majoring in Business Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In this blog, she'll share her key takeaways from her one-month internship

How was your internship at Star Anise?

Star Anise is a leading legal and compliance recruitment firm based in Hong Kong, and whilst this was my first experience of working in an office in Hong Kong, I felt I had adjusted well to the office culture. I soon discovered from my internship that Star Anise has a mix of top-down and bottom-up management approaches. As an intern, I got a good feel for the dynamic of the working culture. During my time, I was given various tasks to help with and during daily catchup talks with my supervisors, I received invaluable feedback on my work and was given a lot of opportunities to give my opinions, too. The autonomy given to me in doing my work motivated me to do my best and to experiment freely. Also, the feedback I received, in short, had been motivating and objective, which made the experience all the more rewarding.

What did you learn?

I learned a lot during my internship, including getting accustomed to frequently used terms in the legal and recruitment industry, customer relationship management, event management, and how to get business done. I learned to be more proactive and organised in working on my tasks and daily interaction.

"The internship offered by Star Anise was like an opportunity to go backstage and see behind the scenes of the legal and recruitment industry" 

The frequently used terms I learned, to name a few, include secondments, CRM, ALSP, flexible law, candidate sourcing, new law, FTC, and outsourcing. For event management, I had the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge from one of the colleagues who is responsible for events. Here, I learned the importance of food and drinks preparation when arranging a networking event. From the preparation to actually attending the networking event itself, it was all fun and a memorable experience!

What did you do?

I was involved in numerous projects and took on many responsibilities, including generating nine articles and presentations with various topics, creating graphic design content for the various group company LinkedIn profiles, conducting independent industry research, daily posting of job entries to a database, intermittent candidate sourcing using CRM software, and analyzing job ads' effectiveness and creating a report analysing their performance.

What does a typical day look like?

9am 10am 11am 12pm 1pm 2pm 3pm 4pm 5pm 6pm
Tasks Tasks Catch up with team members Tasks Lunch catch up with supervisors Tasks Tasks  Tasks End of day

Usually, I began the day by working on my daily database updates. I would start the task at the beginning of the day because another colleague that works in sales and research needs it. As the company location is strategically situated in Central, during the lunch hour it would be very easy to find a great array of food! It was great to try many different restaurants, either with a colleague or a friend who worked nearby.

Catchup time with team members, in my opinion, is the most interesting part of the day. It is not an everyday agenda, but catchup is about once or twice a week. Many of my catchups were with one of the directors to receive feedback and discuss new tasks. It was quite interactive, and it did make my voice feel heard.

Projects and responsibilities

The projects and responsibilities I would be involved in were diverse, challenging, and rewarding. I generated in total nine articles on various topics, created graphic design content for social media, conducted independent industry research, posted job entries to the company's database, carried out intermittent candidate sourcing, and analysed job adverts' performance.

I completed all of my tasks in a timely manner and felt I contributed positively to the company's social media footprint. It was unexpected at first, but I felt grateful for receiving positive feedback from my supervisor, which was a great accomplishment.

What were the challenges? 

The major challenge I felt initially was being the only intern in the office but my early concerns were quickly addressed as all the team members were super supportive. Each one of them acknowledged this and gave me great comfort by pointing out that whilst it can be challenging, I can also see this as an opportunity. For that, I was really grateful for the team for showing their support and their hospitality. 

Being the only intern in the office meant I was getting exposed to a lot of learning opportunities, from sales methods to industry research. For instance, I created social media content (posts, articles, graphic designs) and learned why this was important for the company's branding. As there are three companies trading under the Star Anise group banner, I was tasked to equally support all three companies' social media. To make use of the opportunity, I carried out thorough research on each company until I understood each of their core businesses. I would persist with revising and reviewing my research and designs before asking for feedback from others. 

What are the perks and highlights?

Two of my favorite perks were having a personal desk to myself and having a self-serve coffee machine! As this was my first internship in Hong Kong, a personal desk space enabled me to have my own space in the office. Also, the coffee machine was a huge benefit to enjoy in the afternoon as a little treat with some pieces of crackers!

The highlight of my internship at Star Anise was the daily interactions and tasks I had with different members of the firm. I learned that, although getting jobs done is important, human connections are still crucial and should be prioritized. One of my best moments was having lunch with other colleagues, attending 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. Overall, my key takeaways from the internship include increased productivity, legal industry and legal recruitment insights, job market insights, impactful and meaningful work, and the value of interpersonal connections.

Nicole Celia

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 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.

I can see how my internship will help me to develop numerous skills that will be useful in my future career. Some major takeaways from this internship include learning productivity hacks, legal recruitment industry insights, job market insights, interaction moments with colleagues, and understanding how my work had an impact on the firm. I am very grateful to Chris and Annie for the opportunity and am excited to use the skills and knowledge I have gained in my future endeavors.

Tips for other interns

One step at a time, take your time” – from a colleague in my first day

Generation-Z people are very active in everything they do, from 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 finding myself buried with tasks. The mindset I had was, ‘the more I do, the more I learn.’ However, the most important thing is to get to know the people in the business and to adapt to your new surroundings. You can worry about the tasks later, just take it one step at a time. 

Bring your notebook and always read to jot down some notes” – from one of the directors.

As a new joiner to a business, you will inevitably have a huge amount of information or data to digest. This principle is sort of lost on 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 what manager does not like is to 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.

About the Author

Guest contributor

Thought leadership articles and blog postings on careers, recruitment, professional life, or the legal and compliance industries, from guest writers. Opinions expressed by guests do not necessarily represent those of Star Anise, its employees or other representatives.

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