Rebecca Demicheli

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Internship Experience

Ali Narlioglu in Taipei

My Pagoda Story

My name is Ali. I’m studying Computer Science at City University London. I’ve been in Taipei for 12 months. My internship lasted for 12 months, and it was focused on the Technology sector.

Ali

What were your tasks and responsibilities?

I worked at UKEAS group as a Full Stack Intern Web Developer. I had to get familiar with their technology stack in addition to helping achieve their strategic goals. I participated in developing functional requirements for the production stage of the website. Furthermore, I helped to manage the web server along with their cloud. I have learnt many things working at UKEAS. It has been a fulfilling experience and I have met some great people!

Did you enjoy your time in Taipei?

I had a great time in Taipei. I went on many trips around Taiwan with friends, from scootering through the coast to snorkeling on an island near the western coast. I met some amazing locals who even treated us. The locals in Taiwan are super friendly and accommodating. Furthermore, Pagoda Projects also organised trips and weekly dinners. It was enjoyable and fun. The lantern festival in February was especially breath-taking.

Ali in Taipei

Final thought?

I had an amazing time in Taipei. It’s a life-changing experience, and I recommend it to everyone!

Internships Advice

Women in Business – Entrepreneurship Webinar

On the 11th of August, we hosted a fantastic event: Women in Business – Entrepreneurship.

Introduction of the event

Even though there has been a lot of progress regarding Women in Business, there’s still a lot to do. According to the statistics, the percentage of women in senior management positions is growing, but there is still a lot of disparity between men and women (Catalyst, Quick Take: Women in Management, August 11, 2020).

“It’s important to think about female leadership on a global scale. In the UK, of course, there are still problems but there are far fewer than our counterparts in the developing world”. Harriett Sheffer

It is always good to hear the perspective of women who are pursuing their dreams and achieving great goals.

It has been insightful and rewarding listening to the experiences and the thoughts of three truly inspiring female entrepreneur guest-speakers:

Adina Deacu

Adina Deacu – Environmental Psychologist at “Tianmei’s World” Environmental Psychology Consultancy. She is now on a mission to change how people view education and turn the world into one big classroom through all the research projects and workshops she designs and delivers.


Harriett Sheffer

Harriett Sheffer – Founder and Design Director at Studio Hu. She is a design strategist that seeks to bridge the gap between strategy conceived and strategy executed. She is passionate about new frontier start-up environments, community building, and is the Co-Founder and Program Director of the Chengdu Women in Business Network.


Lydia Jones

Lydia Jones – Founder and CEO at Housemates whose mission it is to make student travel frictionless. She described herself as “obsessed with building products that solve real problems”.


Pauline - Pagoda Projects

Meeting chair of Pagoda Projects:

Pauline Barba, Qingdao Branch Manager.


Topics discussed

The topics of discussion have been many. We heard how diversity makes teams more innovative, as well as what the current trends and challenges of being a woman running a business nowadays are. We listened to how the current global situation has given these women a real opportunity to innovate and test their flexibility as start-ups in their sectors. They also discussed the crisis of leadership and thinking of a new way forward, and even what sets you apart from the competition in your market. On top of this, a hot topic was the importance of building a support network.

Lydia - Women in Business event

Top quotes:

“Entrepreneurship is identifying a problem and thinking about how to provide a better solution to that.” Lydia

“My mission is to surround myself with people who know more than me in all given areas. We all live in a digital world, there are lots of podcasts out there with female founders and it’s how you use the content out there to your advantage. Everything is feedback and it’s having the confidence to go out and speak to people and understanding what to listen to.” – Lydia

“Diversity needs to start from the top level of management. If your board isn’t diverse, I think you’re at a disadvantage.” – Lydia

“For me, what matters, is the ultimate goal that I have and when I couldn’t find a platform for the problems I wanted to solve, I created one.” – Adina

“Diversity moves things forward and it’s about that curiosity and wanting to know what other people think as this is what gives you personal growth. For anyone, a willingness to grow is a mandatory part and if you’re not willing to grow, you can’t go very far, and diversity gives you that. People are afraid of diversity and disagreements… I’m happy to see younger generations are trying to break out of that and it’s great to have companies like Pagoda Projects who are trying to do this.” – Adina

“Having women on your board, they represent over half of the world, leading you to see industries that you haven’t seen before.” – Harriett

“Not just for women but for everybody, the disadvantage comes early on in our confidence. As young people in an increasingly weird workplace, always be positive and confident and take every opportunity you can. You will learn something from everything you do and don’t be put off by doing things that don’t sound like ‘what you thought you’d do’.” – Harriett

Adina - Women in Business event

Conclusions

Sometimes the drive to achieve goals comes from a strong will, from a lack of resources in the current market, or from the need to find a solution to a question.

Entrepreneurship is a challenge that leads to personal and professional growth and allows you to gain versatile skills that can be applied to many types of jobs. It means having decision-making autonomy but also critical thinking and relying on those who know more than you in certain fields. It is also about making the most of the worst situations and demonstrating flexibility and agility by turning a period of crisis into opportunity.

What matters is to grasp the lessons from all experiences however big or small, never stop at the first result, and always look for improvements. Furthermore, what is a huge plus in a company is diversity. It is vital, as it brings competitive advantage and it gives the opportunity to see things from different perspectives and to have challenging conversations that lead to innovation.

Harriett - Women in Business event

Golden Tip

 With a will, commitment and passion you can go anywhere!

Further readings: Women in Business – 2020 Trends, by Guidant Financial.

Internship Experience, Vietnam

Sharukaa Uthayasekaran’s remote internship

If you’re thinking of completing a remote internship, it’s always best to hear from like-minded peers who have already had the opportunity to experience a remote internship firsthand.

Sharukaa Uthayasekaran, a Pagoda Projects alumni, is from the UK and has just completed a remote internship as a research and development intern with our host company CL2B, based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 

It’s a pleasure to see young professionals being provided with a programme that goes beyond work experience and allows people to network, understand a new culture, share experiences, and gain expert knowledge.

About the internship

My internship experience at CL2B, a Circular Economy consulting firm in Southeast Asia, Vietnam was a great opportunity to understand the daily process of how targeted services were provided for each individual client and the various projects that were undertaken. I applied for this internship with the support of the Pagoda team as they acknowledged that with a particular interest in Material sciences, I would be able to benefit from interning at a consulting firm with a key focus on environmental impact measurement and evaluating material perspectives.

Vietnam

My tasks

CL2B have provided me with the unique opportunity of being part of a consulting firm where I worked on a plastic recycling project even though my studies of Chemistry had only provided me with a basic knowledge of environmental and material science. My tasks were predominantly based on conducting research for the firm on specific recycling methods and looking at the technologies currently available in Europe and expanding it to the market in Asia, particularly Vietnam. The study focussed on analysing potential key challenges faced by NGOs with regards to Chemical recycling and finding a circular solution to this issue. Through regular meetings with members of the team, I gained insight into how technical, economical and legal cases were processed and what projects were then implemented to further develop an existing problem.

Internship workspace
Sharukaa’s workspace

Final feedback

This remote internship was an enriching experience and the skills I have developed through this placement, such as communicating on various platforms as well as both independent and collaborative work across different time zones, have been invaluable and will certainly influence my future professional career. Additionally, the programme organised by the Pagoda team in conjunction with my internship was beneficial as it provided opportunities for networking and meeting people, both professional and old alumni, who had interesting experiences to share.

Sharukaa Uthayasekaran, Cardiff University