An Unexpected Journey

By Jonathan Lu

Jonathan Lu, is a Year 4 Business Operations Management student, currently on a CB Student Exchange Programme in Oslo. Jonathan has made extraordinary efforts to organise a series of internships whilst at CB. Here he describes his rich and varied experience.

Never could I have ever imagined a university life so fruitful and so diverse when I first joined CityU as a freshman three years ago. But, since then, I have taken three internships locally and internationally in three totally distinct fields where I have acquired extensive experience and knowledge. Here, I am going to share some of my experience in the hope that this is going to give you insights into how your university life can thrive!

Everything is leverage

Last year, I was very fortunate to be offered my very first internship position at the Asia-Pacific headquarters of media company NBCUniversal in Singapore, as Marketing and Public Relations Intern for six months. I learned a lot about how the business world works, of which the most important is "Everything is leverage." Be it products, services or promotions, every business leverages on something to maximise their profit. In this case, NBCUniversal, as a TV channels owner, leverages on its large viewership and negotiates an agreement with cable operators in which the operators pay NBCUniversal for broadcasting its channels on a pay-per-view basis instead of a lump sum. The same leverage philosophy holds true for securing job vacancies!

Independence, Integrity, Diligence

Earlier this year, another opportunity presented itself, an audit internship with Deloitte. One of the challenges of working at Deloitte, other than the technical side, is that it is not unusual for interns to have to face the CFOs and directors of our clients alone, so we had to stay smart and vigilant at all times. Also, even as interns, it was very critical to be independent and critical in thinking because as auditors, the audit team engages the client as an independent third party to review their accounts and ensure that they present a true and fair value. As audited financial statements have a wide usage across the business world, independent auditors play an important role in establishing a firm's credibility. Lack of independence can be devastating. This is, after all, how Arthur Anderson went out of business in the Enron scandal.

Own the numbers

Then this summer, I was in Sydney for two and a half months for an internship with a boutique business improvement consultancy called Sandwalk Partners, founded just four years ago but proving to be very successful. Some of my many tasks there included conducting a performance review of the firm, and forecasting. I was trusted with the firm's bank account and sales data to carry out these tasks. As I progressed, I realised that owning the numbers is critical, no matter which industry you are in. By that, I mean simply passing on data and numbers that are already there is not good enough. The only way to add value is by contextualising and putting them into perspective so we are passing on analysed information and taking people on a journey in terms of what the data means.

Journey on

When I look back, one of the things that helped me to achieve all this was my attitude: be led by opportunities, not boundaries. And of course this is not the end, as I continue to take on challenges and write new pages of my university life and career.