Graduate Andrea Zyga's China Experience

On 4/2/2012

   
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My Prudential Asia Summer Internship

By, Andrea Zyga

 

The world is getting smaller. Learning about the processes of globalization and their consequences is a must, now a days. 

Lipscomb College of Business offers graduate students the opportunity to develop an international perspective by making Global Studies an integral part of the Graduate Program.

Last year I had the opportunity to experience this from the other side of the world with Prudential Asia.

Why did you apply for the program?

Lipscomb’s MBA program offered me the combination of a strong academic curriculum as well as an opportunity to reflect and determine the type of leader I strive to be. As my time at Lipscomb was coming to an end, I felt the internship with Prudential Asia would be the ideal way to supplement my academic experience. Knowing that the benefits from this experience would not be replicated in the classroom.

Why do you think you were accepted?

As I reflect on my application process I feel both my professional and academic experiences offered Prudential a candidate with a diverse background. With 15 years of work experience I have been fortunate to be involved in both management and leadership opportunities that have helped to develop my strong work ethic, passion for customer service, and personal determination to be successful in any undertaking.

What did you do? Who did you work for?

I worked as a Regional Marketing Intern within PCA’s Regional Marketing Group and reported directly to the Regional Director of Digital Marketing. I was an integral part of the Development, coordination, delivery, and production of a multi-channel financial literacy program in conjunction with Cartoon Network Asia. Additionally, I assisted in reviewing and reconciled key financial literacy research for seven markets to identify common themes and derive educational content for use in branding and marketing.

What was a typical day like?

My workday started at 9am and ended at 6pm, including a lunch break in between. A typical day was filled with coordinating workflow, assisting with compiling and completing project deliverables, conference calls and meetings.

Where did you live while there?

I lived in a small hotel called the Bishop Lei. It was located in an area called mid-levels, a block from the world’s longest escalator. This made for an easy commute to the office, only about a 15 minute walk.

What was your proudest accomplishment from the experience?

My proudest accomplishment is being and integral team member on Cha-Ching, a financial literacy program designed to equip 7 to 12 year olds in the Asian market with the knowledge, tools and practice to make informed financial decisions.

The project was produced in response to key findings from a major research initiative undertaken by Prudential across Asia. The initiative shows that only 13% of parents believe their children possess money management skills – though almost all parents (96%) think it is important to learn them. Children mostly see spending, but they need to understand that Earn, Save, Spend, Donate is a cycle of money and a choice that has to be made every day, throughout life. Check out this program at www.cha-ching.asia.

Any interesting human interest stories you would be willing to share from your experience?

I feel fortunate to have had the experience of working in an organization lead by Barry Stowe. The combination of ethics and integrity is hard to find in the leaders of today. As a leader, he not only has a clear understanding of his personal values but exhibit those values in his daily actions. The decisions made for the organization are based on personal values, ethics and integrity, and thus he has created and an environment of trust and transparency. Seeing a Lipscomb Alum putting into practice the lessons learned in the classroom was invaluable.

Worst moment?

Just being away from family for so long.

Best moment?

I received a message from Julie Lyle, PCA’s Chief Marketing Officer, to meet her at the train station around lunch. Upon meeting, she told me that, knowing my strong desire to be in the C-Suite, she wanted to show me all the things she needed to get done to navigate at that level beyond the job. We took the train across the harbor to Kowloon where we met with a tailor to design a suit from silk she purchased for a business trip. Then we want back to the Hong Kong financial district to a specialty hat shop to design a hat. This was all for an upcoming garden party with the Queen of England. It was great insight to all the things that need to be juggled as a woman navigating internationally at an executive level.

Thoughts about Hong Kong or China after having lived there?

This unique opportunity helped to strengthen and shape my global perspective. Having the opportunity to finish the last steps of my MBA experience in Asia helped expose me to the concepts and skills necessary to navigate in an evolving global marketplace.