Internship at a local B2B company

In the summer of 2017, I got the opportunity to be an intern at Dat Loi Thanh Ltd. Company. The company designs and produces carton and other paper-based packages for pharmaceutical companies, motor-accessories suppliers, etc. It is located right in Bien Hoa, my home city. At the first time, I was reluctant to apply for the place as I thought that I should be exploring the new regions that I have not been to. However, I eventually decided that I could make use of the opportunity to visit my family and earn some first-hand experience at the same time, so I took the chance and since then never regretted. As it turns out, working in a familiar local region helps me recognize lots of new valuable things about the place where I grew up.

I was a trainee in sales department. At the first place, I expected that I would be doing some common marketing/ sales tasks like approaching new customers and pitching about the company’s product. Yet, my actual tasks were none of those, which in my opinion marks one of the differences between a B2C and a B2B company. First of all, I had to learn about the company’s product categories, for example the size, weight and types of paper pallets. It was interesting to see how paper packages/ boxes – something end-consumers usually ignore and take for granted – plays an important part in protecting the products during the process of storing/ delivering or being displayed. Different kinds of products have different requirements and standard in terms of package material and quality, which demands high variety and flexibility from the producer – my host company in this case.

After getting familiar with the company’s business model, I took part in recording sales and orders. Everyday, I and my colleagues update new orders and the status of in-process orders on the Excel sheets. Some partners may have special requirements about delivery day or product types, which we should take careful note of and report to the manufacturing department. Even though I work in the sales department, I didn’t get to negotiate with new customer because I did not have enough experience and authority to be given such responsibility. In addition, contracts with customers of a B2B business is often of large scale and requires careful examination from both sides to its partner, which only involves people of management positions. Nevertheless, I participated in many other interesting tasks. For example, as I have learned something about SEO and marketing, I analyzed the company’s website to see how it ranks against its competitors, how easy it is to be found by customers or whether the necessary information appears clearly to customers. Listing out my work tasks would be long and boring, also so did I feel at some point during my training time. Yet, I had my colleagues and supervisors who assisted, entertained and supported me all along the way, without whom I probably wouldn’t make it till the end of the period.

All the tasks and work experiences aside, I guess the question is “What are my key takeaways from this internship?”. First of all, it’s the helpful people that I spent my summer with, who took care of the naïve student like me during my first days and made me understand the value of networks in business. Secondly, though I did not work in a multicultural English-speaking environment, I got to found out beautiful things about Vietnamese work ethics and culture that I could have easily missed out on if I only pursue the opportunities abroad. Vietnam is a developing country, therefore it was great to witness the changing and adapting process. Seeing how companies try to integrate technologies into their operations, I had a deeper understanding of why I have been taught about innovation and technology application at school, and what challenges/ opportunities that businesses are taking when they step up the tech game. Being a Vietnamese youngster, I am thankful to gain these valuable insights about my home country. Lastly, as I have been mentioning ‘B2B’ throughout my blog, yes I do appreciate the chance to be a part of this business model. Previously, for some reasons all of my imaginary future career scenarios were about me working in a B2C business without question. After this internship, I became more open-minded of how diverse a business could be. Much hesitant as I was in the beginning about this chance, now I can say that being a part of a professional B2B business is an experience that I would definitely want to live through again.

Author: Quynh Le