Internship week - Focusing on green energy

07 February 2018

Innovation Management student Astrid Askehave Henriksen has studied a bachelor’s degree in Business, Asian Language and Culture Studies from Copenhagen Business School and spent the autumn semester interning in the Green Team at The Royal Danish Embassy Beijing.

Why did you go for the internship at The Royal Danish Embassy?

Initially I thought I would intern in a private company, but then I stumbled upon the position at the embassy and thought it sounded interesting, so I quickly put together an application and went for it. I have always wanted to work with green energy, because it is a fast-growing industry, especially in China, and I don’t think the demand for skilled personnel will drop anytime soon. After the interview, I was sure that the position would give me what I wanted: An excellent overview of what Denmark has to offer within green energy, knowledge of which companies operate in China and an idea of what future opportunities I might have.

What did you do?

I was part of the Green Team where I assisted the team leader and the four growth consultants who identify environmental issues the Chinese government wants to focus on and then we reach out to Danish companies that have competences within those fields and try to set up meetings. For instance, I have researched on China’s five-year plans for developments within the energy industry and compiled an overview for the trade department at the embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark.

My favourite part of the job was meeting with companies, who would tell us about their product and then discussing their strategy and how we could help them get going by opening some doors and connecting them with other companies.

I have also assisted in event planning of exhibitions and a royal visit, where I performed practical tasks such as making floor plans and manuscripts. I have also had a few strange tasks like showing spouses of political guests at the embassy around Beijing.

What did you learn?

It took me a bit of time to adjust to being an intern, but I think all interns experience that when joining a workplace where you don’t have your own concrete assignments at first. So, I had to work out how I could use what I have learned during my education in the tasks I was given, but I guess that is the whole point of the internship.

Looking back, first and foremost, you experience what it is like to have a full-time job, being part of a workplace and decoding the work culture you become part of. Besides that, perhaps the biggest take-away is that you get a feel for what matters to you in the workplace. For instance, is it important that there are social activities at work or is good communication with your boss a priority for you? So, having reflected on these experiences I have a much better idea of what I want when I go job hunting in less than half a year.

How do you see your future?

I used to dream of working for huge companies like Coloplast, Vestas or Maersk, because those were the ones always in the media. Working at the embassy I discovered a ton of interesting small companies that produce all sorts of awesome stuff. I no longer dream of working for a large company but to a greater extent about what I would like to work with in my every day.