Dhina Susanti ’11 was a summer 2011 intern at Bucyrus/Caterpillar in Beijing, China. She came to UW-Madison as an international student from Indonesia and majored in Electrical & Computer Engineering. Dhina is now a Manager & Custom Experience Consultant at Medallia in the San Francisco Bay area.
After some years to reflect, what were some highlights or key takeaways from your IIP internship?
My IIP internship was a life-changing experience for me; I went from a candidate with no prior internship or work experience to someone who stands out among other candidates.
How did your IIP internship experience influence your current path?
I was an electrical engineering student and this internship made me realize that I do not have to pursue a technical role (staying as an engineer) but rather a combination of technical and business roles as well. My internship was a rotational role where I got to experience working under different departments, it exposed to me that there are multiple facets within an organization where my technical skills can be leveraged without having to be fully technical.
Is there any particular skill you gained from your internship that you think helped you get a job after? If so, what?
I would say that my internship abroad helped me gain many soft skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and adaptability, something potential employers value greatly.
Why should undergraduates consider interning abroad?
In today’s workplace, the definition of working in a team can mean that you will be working with people from across the world. You might be working with international clients, engineers from Argentina, a support team from India, and a product team from Israel (true story!). Having experienced working in a culture that’s different than your own and having experienced working in a geographically dispersed workforce, you will offer that global perspective. In addition to that, your internship abroad will make you stand out from the rest of your peers, especially now in a tough job market.
What message or advice do you have for students preparing to intern abroad?
Keep an open mind – it is one of the most exhilarating and vulnerable experiences where you get to discover who you really are. But more importantly, have fun, go on adventures, and make some friends.
What advice would you give to students returning from abroad including how to use their experience to enhance their professional growth?
Use the fact that you do have global experience working with people from different cultures to make yourself stand out. Use the network that you have gained from this experience to help yourself get a job post-internship. Highlight that interning abroad shows potential employers that you love new challenges, have a growth mindset via learning and immersion.
Watch Dhina’s reflection on her experience in China for her internship course from 2011:
In honor of the International Internship Program’s 10th Anniversary, we will be bringing you profiles of IIP alumni who have interned all over the world! Find more alumni profiles here.