I developed a keen curiosity for globalization when I was studying in college. That was because everyone around me liked talking about it, and professors in all classes kept emphasizing its significance. As a business major student at the time, I began to wonder how the things I was studying and intending to pursue in the future would change as a result of globalization. And having such a question in my thoughts encouraged me to hunt for opportunities that would help me to find the answers. Figuring out that the Japan Internship Program is the best fit that can bring me valuable practical experience in the business field, I decided to apply to the program. I am Tran Thi Thanh Huong, a 5th intake student of the Master Program in Business Administration at VNU Vietnam Japan University. Let me share with you my wonderful two-month journey here.
The Japan Internship Program is an annual internship program organized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry Government of JAPAN. This program aims to give candidates with higher skills and knowledge an opportunity of working with Japanese companies, create new business opportunities, and learn cross-cultural communications through the internship. The year 2021 is under the Technical Cooperation & Emerging Market Development Program.
After consideration, I applied to Course B, which took place from 25th Oct to 22nd Dec 2021 online. After three rounds of document screening and interview, I was matched with Pro Labo Holding Co., Ltd company (the company), working in the Sales Department Oversea Sales Group as an International Intern. With the goal of becoming the world’s No. 1 inner beauty brand, the company is currently supplying and selling products to 15 countries and regions. They also participated in this internationalization promotion internship program with the desire to promote internal globalization in order to further extend the healthy life expectancy of the world and promote health and beauty from the inside.
Currently, the company has branches in China and Vietnam. With the theme of Overseas Business Expansion, my main task is to promote to the local market by collaborating with the team in Vietnam.
In two month period of time, I was assigned some activities that included (1) Translate material to Vietnamese, (2) Create Facebook event, (3) Make a plan for the contest, (4) Make a marketing plan for the Vietnamese market, and (5) Meeting with Vietnam team.
I still vividly remember my task to improve the traffic on the Vietnamese version of the company’s website after it seemed to lag behind other competitors in the market despite heavy investment. I identified several problems, such as its inefficient incorporation into international intermediary payment services and a limited network of partner logistic and supply chains stakeholders. However, according to my internal research, the major issue was the international strategy was not effective enough to retain both global integration and local responsiveness. Due to its lack of personnel that could effectively transform the market’s needs into input to the work of technical teams, this company’s website underperformed its rivals which were better at this task. It’s not only about translating the website into another language; it’s about the full customer experience, from payment methods to images and product options or specs which need to be customized for the global environment.
Through weekly meetings with the Japan team (online) and Vietnam team (offline), I had a better understanding of the international business strategies the company is implementing and the challenges a Japanese company has to face when going to Vietnam in particular and going global in general.
At the end of the internship, I submitted to the company a branding plan and a digital marketing plan with some ideas that the company can consider in their website and SNS.
From the internship, I understand Japanese social & business customs can build reliance on Japanese companies, leading to future employment and career. In addition, I can gain Japanese market trends and standard practices of the industry and improve my ability as a global business leader. Furthermore, I had opportunities to learn business Japanese language and make friends with my colleagues from over the world.
The two-month journey started as a master student towards professional life with the aim in mind to learn the practical aspect of life, ended as a memorable experience, also helped me to come off with flying colors.
My special thanks to Prof.Dr. Hiroshi Morita, MBA Program Co-Director and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi Thanh Tu, MBA Program Manager at VNU Vietnam Japan University, for providing me with an opportunity to do my internship. For me, it was a unique experience to study Japanese-style management and sustainability from the perspective of a global young scholar. This internship period was an excellent chance for learning and professional development.
I sincerely thank Dr. Yoshifumi Hino for his careful and precious guidance, which was extremely valuable for my internship, both theoretically and practically. Starting from the very beginning days, he has been a source of moral support and encouragement.
I want to express my special thanks to Ms. Yoriko Miyazaki, Chief of International Business Development of Pro Labo Holdings, under whom I have completed my two-month internship program. I am also grateful to all employees, Hanh san, Shiki san, and Sakai san, who answered all my questions regarding my study with a smiling face. They helped me in such a way that helped me to feel comfortable there, and thus I have completed my report properly.
Last but not least, my sincere gratitude to all people who knowingly or unknowingly supported me for my moral to make this internship period a reality.