Notes: Strategy Consultant Intern
My name is Joshua Abbott and I am currently an intern at a strategy consulting firm in Brisbane, Australia whilst concurrently finishing my studies at the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Commerce and Economics, as well as a Diploma of Languages, majoring in Chinese, which I have recently finished.
Why did you choose to take up Chinese?
My family and I emigrated to Australia in 2004 when I was 11 years old. A bit of a culture shock ensued at my new school when instead of offering French (that I had learned at primary school in England), the languages offered were Indonesian, Japanese, German and Chinese. During Year 7, my school gave tasters of each of these languages to help students choose their preference moving forwards into their senior years. I sadly missed the vast majority of this year at school with the move and blindly chose Chinese with the reasoning that it was Australia’s most powerful neighbouring country. I stuck with my Chinese throughout high school.
What made you want to continue studying Chinese at a tertiary level?
I wanted to study Economics and Commerce at university, but knew that there would be a lot of competition for jobs within that field. So I thought about what would give me a competitive advantage with potential employers against everybody else? Why not keep studying the language of the growing super-economy, China?
How has this helped you with potential employers?
I wanted a point of difference between myself and other job hunters. It is a brilliant conversation starter with not only employers but also anyone you speak to. Someone may ask me what I study, to which I reply “Commerce, Economics…” (cue bored looks), “…and Chinese” – suddenly the whole feel of the conversation changes. When speaking with the average person, this tends to be a genuinely interesting fact. To employers I find that it leads to a ‘foot in the door’ type scenario and the conversation progresses on to a much more sincere and interested discussion.
What do you want to do in the future with your Chinese?
In the future I hope to use my Chinese skills to help me get a job in Asia working in the finance industry. There is a naïve approach by many of my peers that learning a language is pointless as English is becoming so widely spoken, but to be able to have a true affinity with a culture I believe it is absolutely necessary to learn the language.
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