Yale-NUS students take on tech internships to gain industry experience

8 July 2021

By Billy Tran

The technology industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world today and many people are racing to get some experience in the field. Yale-NUS College students are also keen to gain exposure in this industry and several students are already working part-time or interning at various technology companies.

Wu Lingxin (Class of 2022) has been working at ByteDance since late last year. Image provided by Lingxin.

The world is no stranger to TikTok, a video-sharing site that is one of the fastest growing brands globally. Wu Lingxin (Class of 2022) has been working at ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, for seven months as a Monetisation Integrity Operations Intern. “At the start, I facilitated weekly business review meetings for the leadership team and handled some internal communication. Then, I took on bigger projects, and even began to provide support in key strategic business projects, including a cross-functional project to increase the quality of advertisement moderation,” she shared.

Although she started work on a part-time basis in October 2020, she decided to take a Leave of Absence from her studies in January 2021 to experience life at TikTok full-time. “Time at TikTok truly flew by. I found myself constantly challenged by new responsibilities,” she said. Lingxin also noted the importance of timing in joining fast-growing technology companies, “I was lucky to join the team at a relatively nascent stage. Even though I was an intern, my manager would sometimes joke that I was a ‘more senior than many colleagues on the team’,” she added.

In her first year, she visited Kuaishou, also a popular video-sharing app, in Zhongguancun, Beijing as part of the Yale-NUS Global China Connection student organisation on a student-led trip. The trip inspired her to look for opportunities in the technology industry. “Sitting in the Kuaishou conference room, hearing about how the short-form video revolution took over China, I thought that I would like to work in this exciting space someday,” she said.

Christal Lim (Class of 2022) works as a Legal Intern at Tiktok and ByteDance. Image provided by Christal, taken before the implementation of COVID-19 safe management measures. 

Some may think that being proficient or knowledgeable about technology is a necessary prerequisite. But according to Christal Lim (Class of 2022), you don’t need a technology background to work in the technology industry.

Since January 2021, Christal has been working part-time at TikTok and ByteDance as a Legal Intern. She has since transitioned to working full-time over the semester break. Describing her inspiration behind taking the job, she shared, “I wanted to be in a fast-paced environment with innovation and creativity at the heart of it all. I thought it would be really fascinating to be in a tech company that’s constantly challenging what we know or how we operate in the world, and how legal principles come into play.”

As a student in the Double Degree Programme (DDP) in Law and Liberal Arts, her studies had prepared her for the role. “Being in the DDP meant that I am able to bring a different perspective, and understand situations from different angles and considerations,” she said.

Her time at the company reminds her of life at Yale-NUS. “The teams are really diverse and I’ve gotten to interact with colleagues from our global offices. We could all be working on a single matter but the voices and perspectives everyone brings is absolutely fascinating,” she explained.

Cathy Choo (Class of 2024) is interning at Outside App, a micro job platform. Image provided by Cathy, taken before the implementation of COVID-19 safe management measures.

Cathy Choo (Class of 2024) is spending her first semester break interning at Outside App, a micro job platform for the untapped labour market. The app connects shift-based or ad-hoc jobs to a community of students, homemakers, and seniors nearby, creating a flexible and efficient way for businesses to hire for help and for individuals to earn during their free time.

As she is back in the United States for the semester break, she has to adjust to remote working on a different time zone. Besides gaining work experience, she hopes to use this chance to learn about different career paths and gain exposure to different fields.

Prior to the internship, she was working as a Student Associate at the Dean of Students’ Office. She said, “My Student Associate position has been helpful in preparing me for this internship because I learned to write and adapt messages to different audiences.”

Terence Chong (Class of 2022) works at Grab as a Product Management Intern. Image provided by Terence, taken before the implementation of COVID-19 safe management measures. 

Terence Chong (Class of 2022) started working at Grab as a Product Management Intern earlier this year. In his role, he executes the go-to-market launch of an e-commerce product, ideating strategies for growth and managing acquisition campaigns.

“The work is quite challenging. I feel that I’ve been given responsibilities that have an impact,” he shared. Terence decided to take a Leave of Absence from his studies to pursue this internship so that he had the “mental and physical space” to pursue hobbies he wanted to do outside of work.

At Yale-NUS, he majors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He shared, “Although the subjects I learn in school are not directly related to my workplace, being a liberal arts student has imbued me with a very different mindset to solving problems, which is especially useful for brainstorming about new ideas.”