by Donald Lam | Interviewer: Donald Lam | 11 November 2013Tony Lam is a Year 3 Computer Science student from the Faculty of Engineering who had a summer internship in the IT department of AIA Pension and Trustee for 10 weeks.
TecHKU’s interview with Tony provides an insight into an internship experience straight from one of our students at the University of Hong Kong.
Q: Can you tell us more about where you had your internship?
A:I worked in the AIA Building in Happy Valley for AIA Pension and Trustee, which is a local subsidiary of the AIA Group. The company mainly handles retirement funds for businesses under the government MPF scheme. There were about 40 or more employees in the IT department of AIA PT.
Q: What can you tell us about the application process for the internship?
A: I applied for this internship rather late, in around May or June last year. I think candidates were first shortlisted based on their transcripts and CVs. I got shortlisted with a GPA of around 3.3.
I was then invited for 2 rounds of interviews. I had to first meet representatives from the IT department who asked me some general questions about what I had learned in university and what skills I had. The second round was with recruitment officers from Human Resources.
Bachelor of Engineering, Computer Science
Internship Quick Facts
Type of Internship: Summer Intern, 10 weeks
Company: AIA Pension and Trustee
Department: Information Technology
In my interview, they specifically asked about what was taught in some of the courses that appeared on my transcript. For example, they asked about the object-oriented Java course and whether we had group projects for that. I think they place great value on teamwork.
Q: What kind of projects did you work on during the internship?
A: I was involved with a project on upgrading the company’s internal software which is used by employees across all the different departments to manage client data. This in-house software was actually built on a fairly old version of Visual Basic, and my job was to rewrite some of the codes so that it could be recompiled with a new version of VB.NET.
I also had to update many versions of the code. The original documentation was not very detailed and I actually spent 2 days or so just trying to understand it.
Q: Were there any particular skills that you had learned from HKU that were useful at the workplace?
A: It is written in the job description that interns should be familiar with the VB language. There is no actual course in the Faculty for programming in Visual Basic, so it is a good thing I had the opportunity to play with it a little back in secondary school.
In fact there are so many different programming languages in the world, you won’t learn them all at school. You (need to) learn the skills to adapt to a new language and the ability to figure it all out with the manuals.
Q: What else have you learned from your entire internship experience?
A: I think they have a fantastic internship program there and they did very well in helping us prepare for our future careers. Aside from giving us opportunities for hands-on working experience in the office, they organized a couple of workshops for all the interns where some corporate big shots?came to talk to us and shared their experiences. There were cross-department gatherings where I could meet interns from marketing or finance.
They also had a mock assessment workshop where they let us try out their corporate entrance tests, which include mock group discussions, an academic numerical test and a time management test where we arrange a simulated business schedule.
Q: Do you have any advice for other students who will be applying for internships?
A: Don’t just walk into your interview without knowing anything; make sure you have a clear, organized list of what you know — your relevant achievements, qualifications and experiences — so you won’t stutter as much or walk out of the interview realizing you should have said more.
Oh, and don’t get a crap GPA of course.