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Internships give graduates a taste of Asian economies

Internships give graduates a taste of Asian economies

Three New Zealand commerce graduates have chosen to immerse themselves in fast-growing Asian economies instead of taking a break after their university studies.

Olivia Clark and Timothy Brand are working as interns at KPMG’s office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, while Niels Yuan is in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, working as a finance intern for ANZ Royal Bank. The three business internships are offered by the Asia New Zealand Foundation (Asia:NZ) in partnership with the two companies.

Timothy Brand, who finished a double degree in law and accounting at the University of Canterbury this year, said working in the Ho Chi Minh City office had been a mixture of the familiar and the new. Some features of the Vietnamese tax system – such as progressive tax rates and GST – were similar to New Zealand’s. “Other aspects of the tax system are notably foreign - such as a 40% tax on playing cards and a 20% tax on golf clubs.”

Olivia Clark, who completed her accountancy degree at Massey University this year, has found KPMG’s Ho Chi Minh City office similar to New Zealand offices, though language barriers made it harder for her to join in the office banter.

“Overall, they are all very friendly, with the individuals who are stronger and more confident with speaking English being the first to initiate conversation. I am starting to try and pick up a few key phrases in Vietnamese; however, the pronunciation is not easy.”

After returning from Vietnam in February, Ms Clark will start work in the audit team of KPMG in Wellington.

Niels Yuan completed his undergraduate degree in finance at the National University of Singapore earlier this year, supported by the Asia:NZ Singapore Scholarship programme.

He said it was crucial for New Zealand’s future financial leaders to gain skills in an Asia-Pacific context. Working at ANZ, a “super-regional bank” in the Asia-Pacific, would provide a unique opportunity to do this. “With its booming economies, Asia is set to be the centre of growth in the financial world in the coming years.”

Asia:NZ’s business programme director James Penn said the foundation appreciated the support ongoing support from its business partners. Asia:NZ also offers business internships with Kyushu Railway Company in Japan, Berlitz Corporation in Japan, and the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan.

“Professional development opportunities for young people are a key pillar of Asia:NZ’s business programme. Six of New Zealand’s top 10 trading partners are now in Asia. Giving young New Zealanders business experience in the region helps build the long-term capacity of Kiwi companies to engage with those markets.”


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