MY INTERNSHIP AT JD.com, SPRING 2017
By Ben T., John Carroll University, Spring 2017 Student
My internship during the Spring 2017 semester at The Beijing Center was with Jingdong.com. Jingdong (JD) is the second-largest online retail marketplace in China, and also a Fortune 500 company. Jingdong boasts about having its own delivery service as well, not having to rely on a UPS-type service in a partnership. The delivery service is extremely efficient, and if an item is ordered first thing in the morning, it is likely to arrive at one’s residence by the late afternoon. I’m proud to have been placed in such a dynamic and expanding business.
When I first began my internship at Jingdong.com, I knew right away that I would need many weeks to get used to navigating within the large corporation environment. I always held a slight interest in learning about supply chain, as well as the distribution of products between different countries, so my placement at Jingdong.com I can say was a successful one. Even after accumulating 40 hours, I still believed reporting to Jingdong and seeing the massive building was intimidating. Its sheer size, and the fact that it houses over 60,000 workers, only 10 of whom speak English as a native language, is a daunting idea to process. However, once I begin the day’s work in the international department to perform my translation and grammar correction services, I begin to remember that the connections I have made here truly care about me and desire for me to finish.
In the international department, I edit the Jingdong international English-language website, Joybuy.com, and seek out grammatical errors. There are about 50 employees who work in this department, I, the only English-speaker. This is, in my opinion, a very special position to hold, but also a challenging one. I am honored each time someone in the department seeks me out asking for assistance in correcting their attempt at writing in English. When Lilia, the head of the department, sends me documents to look over because they might be used in a speech given by an official at Jingdong, I feel especially privileged. I try my best to use a skill I take for granted, yet something they find so valuable, to better Jingdong’s international presence both on the Internet and as well as in verbal communication.
At the same time, I cannot ask for any help, as it would only amount to simply pointing at the computer screen using hand motions, eventually to succumb to Google Translate. My understanding of Chinese at this point gives me the flexibility to ask for simple requests, but there is no way I can ask about editing tools or use advanced terms such as explaining in detail why they should correct a certain error in one place or another. All in all, even though I struggle sometimes, I know that I am contributing the most I can to Jingdong, and they are extremely gracious for all that I have to offer with the English language.
The second place I work, the product testing and development department, I work with my internship supervisor, as well as an entire team of other interns and actual employees. Our responsibilities are not only to, “play” with new and unreleased consumer electronics to ensure they can be sold on Jingdong’s website, but also to search for new tech startups in North America and Europe, and see if their credentials are reliable enough to work with us in selling their products. Jingdong is the second-largest online marketplace in China, and has a desire to continue growing to one day be #1.
My work in this department is more systematic. I am no longer seeking out grammatical errors on my own, but rather am instructed by my supervisor to search a website called Crunchbase and search for these new tech startups on the rise. This is a strict process and I can only make minimal errors. Jingdong does not proceed to business negotiations with every successful hit we get in our department, so sometimes I feel as if my work is meaningless, but receiving compliments from my co-interns as well as from my supervisor is a positive feeling I get to experience.
Through both the internship classes and the internship itself, I have learned that Jingdong is truly a Chinese company. Things such as the promptness of their bus schedules, as well as the strict hierarchy within each department confirm this. This, although rather challenging, I find an extremely valuable aspect because one day I may end up working for a multi-national company that has a Chinese flair to it. My main purpose of enrolling in the internship class at The Beijing Center was to give myself a greater perspective of where I want to work in the future and what I would like to do. At the end of each day I worked at Jingdong, I felt as if I contributed very much to the company, and they were grateful to have me on their team.