What position do you hold at TIC TWO? What has been your career path so far?
Nick: At TIC TWO I am a Commercial Development Manager with a primary focus on the UK Market. My role is to bring high quality internship placements to UK students and graduates looking to gain international work experience in Shanghai.
Prior to working at TIC TWO I was a Marketing Manager for a Business/Market Entry Consultancy in Shanghai. My remit within this role was to redevelop their entire marketing strategy, manage a small marketing team and implement the new strategic direction for our China operations. In addition I would look after new and potential clients helping them strategise their market entry options.
Prior to moving to China I worked within financial services in the UK. Through this experience I bring the knowledge I have gained within sales, marketing, consulting and finance to the TIC TWO team to help young students and graduates identify exactly what they’re looking to achieve abroad.
Did YOU intern abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?
Nick: During my year in Industry I had the opportunity to spend 3 months carrying out an internship in Shanghai.This time in China allowed me to realize that working abroad was something that I wanted to explore further upon my graduation from University. During my internship I worked hard and was fortunate enough to be offered a full time permanent position and was able to return to Shanghai once I had completed my degree in the UK.
Since returning to Shanghai I have realized that having international experience has vastly helped me grow both personally and professionally. The experience gained here, including my Mandarin, will greatly benefit me,giving me a wider and stronger skill set that my peers back home. One of the best parts of my experience to date has been the opportunity to socialize with people from all over the world and experience a huge variety of different cultures.
What does the future hold for TIC TWO - any exciting new programs to share?
Nick: 2014 has already been a big year for TIC TWO, within a short period of time we have gaud a solid foothold in the US and Canadian Markets, significantly increased our presence in the UK and solidified our position as the market leader in Australia for providing high quality targeted internships in Shanghai.
By having a wider variety of participants it means that our program now provides even greater exposure to a wider array of cultures and people. There’s so much going on at the moment that is new and exciting but I feel the most important project we’re working on at the moment is the TIC TWO program, going through every single detail and looking at ways how we can make it even better.
What about the future of the industry? How do you think intern abroad and international internships will change over the next 10 years?
Nick: I believe the industry has a strong future, especially in China. As graduate job markets become increasingly saturated more students will look for further ways to differentiate themselves from their peers to gain an advantage in the job market.
Aside from students trying to differentiate themselves some students may wish to explore China as a viable option for post-graduate employment, especially in Shanghai. Shanghai has become a hotspot for graduates to come to and gain experience straight out of University. It can now be considered in the same caliber as cities such as London for a thriving business hub that is extremely competitive and very fast paced.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Nick: I believe that the biggest factor to TIC TWO’s success is our continued pursuit of providing the highest quality program available on the market. As far as we are aware we are the only company (if not, one of very few) who tell every single candidate who we have organised their placement with prior to them making the final payment.We believe this transparent and ethical approach as big the largest contributor to our success in China.
What country have you always wanted to visit?
Nick: I have always wanted to visit the most is Cuba. It’s rich in history and culture, which would be fantastic to experience. One of Cuba's most distinctive anachronisms is its roads full of classic cars from the 1950s, something which I have a passion for. I hope to visit before it all changes!
Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?
Nick: Learning the local language and immersing oneself into the culture is imperative in allowing yourself to fully experience what a city or country really has to offer. If you are not willing to fully give yourself over to experiencing the true culture of a new place I feel you will forever be sat on the peripherals of a culture, missing out on possibly what could become the experience of a lifetime.
What language have you always wanted to learn and why?
Nick: I have always wanted to be fluent in Italian; having Italian family is the real driving factor behind this. Whilst I can speak and understand Italian to a low conversational level, becoming fluent is a real goal of mine. For now I’m concentrating on getting better at Mandarin.
What unique qualities does your company possess?
Nick: I feel we have several unique qualities; particularly our passion for high quality internships and high levels of customer service beyond the internship. We strive to ensure that all of our program participants gain both an excellent professional experience while soaking up as much of the culture and social activities Shanghai has to offer.
Our four founding principles are Business, Culture, Language and Career Development; as such every part of our program features one, or a combination of these principles.
What changes would you make to the intern abroad industry?
Nick: We want to give everyone, regardless of background, the opportunity to intern in China. If I could make one change it would be for more universities and government bodies to provide more funding to allow students from less privileged backgrounds to experience China from a profesional working perspective.
What does your home-country's culture value that is taught in your program?
Nick: One thing that I believe students learn on our program that can be related to the UK’s culture is to understand and relate to different peoples cultural backgrounds and learn how these differences offer an insight it to their cultures.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
Nick: There’s so many great stories we hear so it’s hard to choose. The best stories are always the ones where our alumni head back home after the program, nail a great job and attribute their success to coming on the program.