Maria Tirnovanu, '20, Intern at CJ Entertainment and Media in Seoul, Korea Summer 2018

September 6, 2018
Image of student, Maria Tirnovanu, Intern at CJ ENM in Korea summer 2018

         Before the internship at CJ E&M, I was incredibly excited and yet the concerns I had were also many: would I be able to do marketing, would I fit in well, would I be able to deal with the language, would I be of help to them, would I be able to handle the work, and so many more. And while I think it is always good to ask yourself many questions before starting something and evaluate as many things as you can think about in order to be prepared, it turned out that I should not have been concerned at all.

        First of all, the work was really interesting, as the internship had me getting involved directly with the work of the team; I got the chance to understand how doing research and writing reports works, as well as participate in preparations for meetings and understand partnerships with various other companies. The work of the team was very internationally-focused, and thus I believe that my experience as a millennial living in the US was potentially helpful in judging what the market is like, and giving opinions about potential paths to follow. Apparently, I felt able to do marketing and handle the work, as well as hopefully be of help by bringing in new insights; I truly felt like my voice was heard and my opinions were listened to, and I had the hope that the reports and the projects I have done would be helpful in the future as well. It was a fantastic experience, to understand and help with corporate decisions at such a high-level, and I have truly walked away with a much deeper understanding of the needs and the impact of the work corporations do, which has made me both more excited, as well as significantly more prepared for doing such work in the future.

         My second biggest issue was whether I would be able to deal with the language as well as be able to fit in the team, however that proved to be an non-issue. As the work was international, the team was very international as well, very open to new ideas and culture opinions about the US and outside and open to me as well, chatting to me about everything I wanted to know, as well as listening to what I had to say. At no point in the internship did I feel confused, bad or disappointed about anything, as my supervisors and bosses were always open with the issues at hand; I truly feel that because I was open and willing to listen, I had this returned to me, and if I have one advice to future interns, it would be: go in with an open mind. Listen to what people have to say, during work and outside as well; I have had the chance to forge relationships with my colleagues that I will definitely keep in the future, as well as talk to wonderful people from outside my team that have been incredibly happy to talk to me about larger ideas, corporate work culture, their lives and experiences, as well as give me advice about my plans for the future. If everybody says Korean corporate culture is hierarchical and stifling, it might be, however my experience was absolutely nothing of the sort. The language was also not an issue, as everything was mostly in English, and listening to Korean around me was actually incredibly helpful for my language skills, which I believe I have improved.

         In the end, thinking back on it, I feel very motivated to continue with my dreams of maybe working in Korea, as well as studying something related to it; and now, I have a fantastic experience that has taught me directly a lot of things I wanted to understand: how work culture and the corporate culture at large is like, what people are desiring and willing to change, and I believe I have figured out my potential place in it as well. I encourage interns to also have a grasp on work-life balance, and take all the possible free time to experience everything that they can, from culture to food, sights and concerts, festivals, trips, meeting people, nightlife and more. Overall, this summer was a fantastic learning experience that I will definitely recommend to everybody that is the littlest bit interested, as it is an experience that cannot really be summarized easily, but which will definitely prove to be worth it once you experience it, and change your grasp on a lot of things about yourself and about Korea as well.