Ashley Payne, Shanghai Internship

ShanghaiInterned at Ogilvy & Mather, an international advertising, marketing, and public relations agency as a Public Relations intern in the OgilvyPR department. 

Internship: As an intern I was given many hands-on opportunities to learn about PR. I primarily helped to write case studies and press releases as well as create content for Chinese social media. I worked closely with the Shanghai VP of Corporate PR who pushed me to learn and gave me a lot of responsibilities, such as writing an application letter for the CEO of Tishman Speyer addressed to the International Business Leaders Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai. I was also given the opportunity to help create social media content for the introduction of Lincoln Motors into the Chinese market, as well as work with other big name brands such as Chanel and Ferrari.

I Learned: Besides learning two semesters of Chinese in four months, I learned a lot about Chinese business culture, which is very different from American practices. The Chinese value strong relationships so it takes a while before you can gain their trust, whereas Americans value their time more than anything. It was enriching to experience this firsthand at my internship and it has prepared me for a possible future career in China.

What Surprised Me: I didn’t realize how international Shanghai is. I was meeting people from all over the world who were in my classes, lived in Tonghe (the international dorms at Fudan University), and interned with me.

Hardest Part: The hardest part for me was the language barrier. Going to China with no previous Chinese language lessons, it was hard to connect with the Chinese natives I worked with, and to communicate in general. I often had to rely on hand gestures and my classmates to help me get around. After a couple of weeks, I was exploring the city on my own and didn’t feel so uncomfortable communicating with people. I was able to practice the Chinese I had learned and they were able to practice their English.

Best Part: The best part was being able to go on trips around China thanks to the BU Shanghai Staff. They planned every trip and made exploring China so easy and so much fun. I loved being able to toboggan down the Great Wall of China, have authentic Peking duck, climb 10 km up Huangshan, and watch Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon with the villagers of Chengkan. Also, bargaining at the fake market is super fun.

My Tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to walk around and explore on your own
  • Always order eggplant