Through the MID program, I have grown more familiar with the theory of and various case studies exemplifying advancements in the field of international development. Yet, it is still difficult from just this theory to see how I can contribute to something meaningful and transformational. There is so much to learn and even experienced practitioners seem to struggle at times. Is dreaming big realistic in this case?
This past summer I had the opportunity to examine my role in this sector from a more practical setting, through an internship placement at MCC Overseas Ltd. MCC Overseas is an international engineering service company wholly owned by Metallurgical Corporation of China Ltd (中国中冶), a Fortune 500 company and one of China’s state owned enterprise ‘national champions’. Inheriting the great experience and strength of its parent company, MCC Overseas is the international arm taking on the central responsibility to manage projects and develop markets in the rest of the world, particularly in developing countries. The broad portfolio of services offered by MCC Overseas to it customers include integrated solutions, engineering consulting and design, and EPC contracting. Such services expand across multiple industries such as: iron and steel, energy, construction, waste management, and mining, to name a few.
It is evident that through its corporate practices and project execution, MCC Overseas has the potential to greatly impact economic, environmental and social factors. This internship experience has served as an amazing opportunity for me to find and understand my own position and limitations within this structure. Even more meaningful, it allowed me the chance to work with aspects related to my country of origin.
During the two-month internship, I was given the task to help establish a project or business connection between Latin America, mainly Colombia, and MCC Overseas. In line with the company’s strategy and corporate goals, it seeks to achieve an operating revenue of 7 billion RMB by the end of 2015 by improving the synergetic supports for the core businesses through real state development, logistics and trade services provision, and the development of other emerging industries.
From the start of the internship a significant degree of freedom was granted towards the execution of the project. From time to time I came across issues discussed in some of the MID courses. Principally encountering the dilemma of maintaining awareness for the corporate goal of the project, while considering the possible consequences if the potential scenario was to be realized. In fact, identifying situations where possible project partnerships would realize social gains at any level or attempting a preliminary assessment of any negative social, financial, or environmental consequences that might spring off a particular project was extremely challenging but served as one of the most fruitful learning experiences I encountered in this time.
The final results of the project highlights the feedback and interest received from the Colombian Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. The Ministry extended an open invitation for MCC Overseas and its representatives to visit the ministry headquarters in Bogota, Colombia and further discuss project opportunities in the country. Besides this, I was able to culminate my time with MCC by organizing a meeting in the Colombian Embassy in Beijing between representatives of MCC Overseas and the Colombian Commerce Chancellor in Beijing, Mr. Alejandro Roa. The meeting served as platform for MCC Overseas to express their goals of working in Colombia. In turn Mr. Alejandro Roa offered significant insight on the macroeconomic situation of the country, business landscape, legal framework, industry specific reports, and most importantly the promise to assist MCC Overseas in its transition to the Colombian market.
This experience helped me realize that it is okay to dream of realizing something transformational. At the end of the day, the personal outcome of this internship turned out to be far more valuable than I expected. I felt that the exposure to the MID courses and discussions with my classmates has shaped my professional perspective of business to a more comprehensive and responsible one.