The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has a long and progressive history dating back to 1937. It started out as a Government Trade School, the first publicly-funded, post-secondary technical institution in Hong Kong.
Since then, the Polytechnic has endured extensive development and rapid expansion. It launched its first five degree programmes in 1983, introducing its premier MPhil and PhD programmes in 1986 and 1989, respectively.
In 1994, the institution assumed full university status, changing its name to ‘The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’.
The university has impressive rankings both in Asia and worldwide, landing 31st in the QS Asia University Rankings 2019, 7th in the QS Top 50 under 50 Rankings 2019, and 106th in the QS World University Rankings 2019.
Offering postgraduate, undergraduate and sub-degree programmes to over 27,000 students, the university also places great emphasis on work experience, granting learners the tools needed to become successful, well-rounded and well-prepared individuals.
There are a host of internships, scholarships and student exchange opportunities available for students regardless of which programme they choose, granting them real-life, hands-on experience in their field of choice.
In fact, undergraduate students are required to complete a WIE (work-integrated education) component as a part of the curricular requirement. Each department assists students in finding the right work placement. Here, WIE opportunities cover several locations, not only exposing them to different cultures, but allowing them to explore a range of internships in diverse environments.
This equips them with sought-after skills. According to the Job Outlook 2018 survey conducted by National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), problem-solving expertise and an ability to work in a team are the most desired attributes among recruiting employers.
The survey also found that two attributes which are a major influence when it comes to hiring a candidate are ‘has completed an internship with your organization’ and ‘has internship experience in your industry’.
Irene Ai Ning Chong, a 23-year-old Malaysian student in her fourth year at PolyU, said, “I think it is a very competitive study environment or culture here in Hong Kong, because you get to compete with a lot of students that come from different backgrounds.
“This whole experience is like a preparation for my future career,” she adds. “There are also many opportunities, internship-wise and exchange study-wise, provided by PolyU compared to the universities back home. Somehow, all these experiences have widened my horizons and perspective.”
Being passionate about the fashion industry, Irene also took up Fashion and Textiles as her minor, which was one of the contributing factors towards her decision to attend PolyU.
She said, “Being a management student allowed me to have the opportunity…to work in different kind of industry. I normally search for internship opportunities through LinkedIn and the PolyU job board. A lot of my friends successfully found their internships through PolyU. In total, I have two internship experiences. One in Hong Kong Breastfeeding Mothers’ Association and another one in Redress Asia, an NGO that aims to promote sustainable fashion.”
Irene said she benefited from the exchange subsidies offered by PolyU. “PolyU is comparatively really supportive on students’ exchange experience. We get our insurance covered and the sponsorship offered according to the destinations the student is going to.
Similarly, business student Jonathan Mueller thoroughly enjoyed his first internship with microblogging giant Sina Weibo in Beijing. Also studying for a BBA in Management, Jonathan chose the location for his internship for both cultural and academic reasons.
“I decided that as a business student, the vibrant and innovative economy in China would offer many opportunities to widen my horizons and give me deeper insights into the Chinese culture. And a personal reason was that I wanted to challenge myself and learn to cope in a totally different culture.
“The best part of my internship included the monitoring of the international community of big social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, as well as creating analyses for Sina Weibo’s challenges and future outlook.”
He is now planning for an upcoming local internship. “The WIE programme was my first step into the real working world and was a great start,” he says. “For the future, I hope to explore other areas as well. From February to May 2019 I am doing an internship at Prive Financial, where I hope to get insights into Fintech and the working culture in Hong Kong.”
There are several summer internships available for students as well, meaning you can spend your holidays completing your requirement and kick-starting your future career. There are opportunities for summer internships in over 30 countries.
Twenty-one-year-old international student, Nurzhan Satuov, is in this fourth year of the BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering programme. He looks back on his summer internship fondly.
“After Year 3 of my undergraduate studies, I had a summer internship in the Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Seismology (IZIIS) in the city of Skopje, capital of the Republic of Macedonia. I feel a significant personal growth after this internship experience. I worked on some real-life civil engineering problems, faced real on-site working experience, which made me much more confident as an engineer.”
A highly-acclaimed university with a competitive yet supportive student culture, it’s clear that PolyU equips students with both the knowledge and experience needed to get a head-start in the dynamic working world.