hong kong seminar

Business Strategies and Savvy Finances: An Internship in Hong Kong

Preparing to study abroad requires entering the mindset that your experience will be both challenging and rewarding. After all, the wave of excitement and culture shock is likely to hit. But what happens when you intern abroad?

When Ryan Fisher ’19 (pictured above, second from right) landed in Hong Kong in June, the next few months hung in a cloud of mystery as he waited to receive his internship assignment. He wasn’t alone. Only after he and nine fellow Gordon students set foot in their summer housing did they learn of their exact placements. Ryan would be the new summer intern at the branch office of a major global commercial real estate company.

These 10 students were part of the Hong Kong Finance Seminar, an eight-week immersive experience in the center of one of the world’s biggest financial hubs. Not only do students complete a course and competitive internship in the city, they get to call it home for the summer.

Ryan was situated in the residential department of the host organization’s facilities management division, working primarily for the owners of the properties up for sale. One of his jobs was to create condition reports for the properties before and after the residents move in or out of their homes.

During one assignment, “I spent a day visiting the properties of our competitors before collaborating with a colleague on a PowerPoint presentation that my boss presented to our clients,” he says. Researching and providing direct support for his supervisor are just a few of the ways he is putting into practice the skills and strategies he has acquired as a double major in business administration and finance at Gordon.

In addition to working full-time for their internships, exploring Hong Kong’s various districts and enjoying a wide variety of delectable food, Ryan and his seminar peers devoted their evening hours to an intensive investment class at Hang Seng Management College taught by Alice Tsang, professor of economics and business and director of global partnerships at Gordon. Ryan played the important role of Professor Tsang’s teaching assistant.

While the finance course greatly enriched the experiential learning happening through internships, students encountered another practical learning element: the impact of exchange rates on their personal finances. “Managing your wallet is always challenging,” Ryan says. “It takes time to get used to the price differences and the exchange rate. I spent a lot more during my first few days just because I did not know what to do.”

Back in the U.S., Ryan reflects on the rewards of his summer experience: “You get to explore a new city and all it has to offer. You are exposed to a completely different culture and gain new perspectives on how the world works.”

By Alex Rivera ’16, English language and literature