Thinking Through Ambiguity

My internship has come with many challenges but it has helped me grow professionally and personally. At times, it was difficult to perform work that would add value to the company because of communication issues and extreme ambiguity. It seems that employees, especially my supervisor, infrequently are familiar with details that are imperative to work being finished in the office. This can sometimes cause us to work less efficiently, because my co-intern and I are not sure which project should we should be investigating, and what details our employers are looking for. Especially in the beginning of our internship, many of the China Capital executives who determined our workload were out of the office with a business trip, but we were told many conflicting dates of when they would return. It was frustrating to deal with this lack of communication, because we did not know what we should work on and what the time frame was.  Employees seem unaware of many details they should know about–when we questioned them about the financial figures of a company they were considering investing in, they were not familiar enough with the company to answer our questions, but they did not seem bothered.

Although this ambiguity makes our work challenging, it has been a huge benefit of my internship. It has provided me with the flexibility to work under many different conditions. Before coming to China, I was a bit of a control freak, because I liked controlling, or at least being aware of everything that was going on. Now I have a more relaxed mindset that allows me to work even when some of the details aren’t figured out, because if I do my part well, I know other things fall into place in the office. Additionally, it has allowed me to quickly switch from task to task. Sometimes we are working on a project, and we are told to switch to another, and we have to drop everything we are doing to focus on another task. I can now change my focus much more quickly than I could before this internship.

The ambiguous corporate culture at China Capital has also allowed me to have my proudest moment as an intern. Employees were not fully aware of what projects should be focused on, and seemed not to know enough details on the companies they were considering investing in. My co-intern and I, however, worked very hard to learn everything we could on the companies that China Capital was considering investing in. We put in hours of time researching and synthesizing our findings. Therefore, when we met with employees regarding a possible investment, we showed them flaws in the company’s financial projections that China Capital employees did not notice. China Capital then investigated their financial projections, just like we suggested. Ultimately, they were interested in the potential for growth in this company, and they invested. I was very proud of the contribution that my co-intern and I made to one of China Capital’s largest investment projects.

Photo:  Weekend trip with CRCC Asia to a Chinese orphanage.

Liam orphan

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