Human Resources Research

Gerui Zhang
Emphasis Area
Business Administration

Gerui Zhang interned with PwC and gained experience conducting research on trends and programming in human resources.

How did you get your internship and why did you choose this opportunity?

I used my network to find my internship. Friends of my parents work for PwC, and when they learned I was looking for an internship, they said they could help me with some connections. I took them up on the offer since we had learned in the course PAH 383 Pre-Internship: Building Career Readiness to use our network to find opportunities. Even though I knew a representative of the company, I still had to interview and I got offered the internship on my own merit. Using connections can often be one step of many to get a job, as you still need to impress the interviewer.

I chose this internship because PwC is an internationally recognized firm and because I would get to work in the department of Human Resources. I thought this type of work may also be relevant to my future career path.

What kind of work did you do throughout your internship experience?

My internship was with the department of Human Resources, which mainly provides HR services and resources to third-party companies. They help organizations to do things like performance reviews and improve employee efficiency. My role was to support processes by researching HR management programs, team building-related knowledge, and emerging trends in executive compensation.

What new skills did you develop in this internship?

I practiced staying curious. This doesn't sound like a transferable skill at first, but this is really the biggest takeaway I had after completing my internship. My mindset as a student was not quite the same as that of a workplace person. As a student, you complete your assignments and hand them in to your teacher, who corrects and evaluates your work. But work is different, especially as a service organization, you are accountable to a third party that will not want to see your mistakes in your work. With these higher stakes, you need to keep your curiosity and seize the opportunity to ask questions to enrich your professional knowledge.

What did you find most challenging about your internship?

With a remote internship the time zone difference had a big impact on my work. There were times when I would be ready to go to bed and I would be sent a new task to complete in a few hours because it was still business hours in another time zone. Also because I had never worked in HR before, I had to do more research to complete my tasks and learn to accept constructive feedback from my mentor. I had to constantly convince myself to keep a positive attitude, get comfortable asking my supervisor questions, and eventually gain more confidence in my work.

How has your internship experience influenced your plans for your future?

First of all, this internship has given me an internship experience at a reputable company, which will improve my CV. Secondly, this internship allowed me to discover some of my own potential. Even though I worked in a department I wasn’t familiar with, I was able to overcome some difficulties and work independently. Now I feel like I have broader choices for my future work direction.