Happy Ending of My Summer Internship

My summer internship at Asia Tea Co., Ltd was a wonderful experience. I finished my internship by accompanying the CEO and the production manager on another business trip to Northern provinces. The management philosophy is that in order to truly understand tea production you need to visit  tea hills and factories often.  In only two days, we visited eighteen tea factories across four provinces to negotiate tea prices and buy materials. We only had a break after midnight and went back to work at 7 o’clock in the morning. During the trip, I learned much more about how to negotiate business deals and handle stressful situations. The most memorable moment was when we waited for a ferry to cross the beautiful Hau River at 10 pm to meet a business partner. Besides the ferry drivers, we were the only three people on the ferry. I knew that the CEO wanted me to understand that a good manager really understands all aspects of the business.  The trip was very enlightening and I consider it the capstone of the internship program.

An article about the Ngoc Lap factory, one of the factories that Asia Tea Co., Ltd owns.

Taken at the Ngoc Lap tea factory. The workers are drying out tea leaves, so that they could make raw materials, from which they produce the final tea products.

My summer internship helped me realize my strengths and weaknesses. Thanks to data analysis assignments and market research projects, I am now more confident in my quantitative ability and broad knowledge about the world. However, I realized that I need to expand my industry knowledge base and improve my negotiation skills if I want to become a CEO in the future. Therefore, I look forward to taking some graduate-level business classes at Brandeis and hope to intern at a consulting firm next summer. Experience as a management consultant will improve my analytic and management skills and better my chance of getting into a MBA program. Thanks to the internship, I also understand the importance of the relationship between the government and companies. Since Asia Tea Co., Ltd always strives to contribute to the development of national agriculture, it receives support and subsidies from the government. The subsidies play an important role in shaping the company’s business policies.  I want to learn more about economic policies and their impact on the economy at Brandeis.

My boss is testing the quality of tea materials at the Lien Son-Nghia Lo tea factory in the province of Yen Bai.

 The Vietnamese tea industry is undergoing a new direction in development.

I really enjoyed my internship at Asia Tea Co., Ltd this summer. I hope other Brandeis students could achieve amazing internships during their time at college. For people who have never got an internship before, I have an advice: “Be bold.” We are usually afraid of failure, so that we sometimes do not apply to the top opportunities. However, if we try hard enough, we can succeed. To intern in Vietnam, you certainly need to know some Vietnamese. But you can intern in the tea industry in almost every country, including the United States. In order to get the internship, you must be passionate about agriculture and tea in particular. If you can demonstrate your passion to the interviewers, your chance of getting the internship is much higher. If you have any question regarding my internship or the tea industry in Vietnam, feel free to email me at dt1308@brandeis.edu. I look forward to sharing my experience with other Brandeis students.

– Duc Tran ’13

Midpoint of My Summer in the Tea Industry

I have almost finished my summer internship with the Asia Tea Company. This is incredible. I have learned so much from my internship program that I love every day at work. People are so friendly and understanding. They always give me valuable advice and guide me through work carefully. My job is primarily to collect and analyze data about foreign tea markets. During the first weeks, I was not used to the analytical method used by the company. By this time, my number-crunching skill is much better. I have almost mastered the XLSTAT-PRO software besides traditional applications like Excel and STATA. Writing weekly reports has sharpened my writing and analytic skill and increased my understanding of the tea markets.

Vietnamese Sidewalk Tea Culture
Last week, I accompanied my supervisor on a trip to tea manufacturing factories in the provinces of Phu Tho and Yen Bai. These two provinces provide the best tea leaves, from which we can make the best black tea for domestic consumption as well as exportation. I really enjoyed the trip because I was exposed to a whole new different world. I learned how to sort different types of tea and examine tea quality. I also learned to negotiate prices and create network. My boss told all his friends that I am an excellent employee and that I have the potential to become a future CEO. His compliments not only made me so happy, but also helped me attract more attention from managers of tea companies during my time in the highland. After the trip, I have a few good contacts in the tea industry.

The tea hills that I saw on my trip to the province of Phu Tho

I am very proud of being the administrative assistant for the CEO when he meets with foreign partners. I take notes and write an analysis of the meeting afterward. Based on my notes and analysis, the CEO will have more idea about future contracts with his foreign partners. Being his secretary is supposed to be part of my education experience in the summer internship program. But I am very glad to have a chance to show my English proficiency as well as analytic skill, which I gain from my college education in America.

Most Popular Types of Tea in Vietnam

After every day at work, I feel that I learn more about the business world. My number-crunching, analytic, and writing skills have been much improved. I have also gained tremendous knowledge about the Vietnamese tea industry. Being a Market Analyst, I have acquainted myself with foreign markets in the Middle East and North America. Those markets have a great potential for being the primary future markets for Vietnamese tea. Thanks to my trip to tea manufacturing factories in the highland area, I realize how tea is actually made from raw tea leaves. Thus, my understanding of the supply of tea is much better. After this summer, I realize that the business world is not always fun. However, I believe that after my experience in Asia Tea Co., Ltd this summer, I am fully prepared for a career in the tea industry and have acquired many transferable skills that will help me regardless of my ultimate pate. I hope to become the CEO of a tea company in the future and contribute to the development of the Vietnamese tea industry as well as the promotion of Vietnamese tea culture abroad.

 

My First Week in the Tea Industry

By this time, I have completed almost two weeks of my internship at the Asia Tea Company Limited. Asia Tea Co., Ltd. is a leading tea manufacturer and exporter in Vietnam, after three months of searching for internships in the tea industry. Asia Tea Co., Ltd. processes and produces fresh tea buds as well as high-quality black tea—the most popular type of tea sold in the world. It exports over 7,000 tons of tea each year to more than twenty nations in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. It owns numerous tea plants and factories in the highland region of Vietnam, and employs thousands of workers. The company is unique among Vietnamese tea corporations because it not only aims at making high profits, but also strives to promote Vietnamese tea culture abroad and foster the domestic tea industry.

Asia Tea Co., Ltd. is on the seventeenth floor of the second building from the left.

I spent about three months last year, from October to December, searching for an internship in the Vietnamese tea industry over the summer. Fortunately, last November, I came across the website of Asia Tea Co., Ltd. In December, I submitted my resume for a summer internship position as a Market Analyst. After reviewing my application, the CEO interviewed me via phone. We discussed my interests in economics and tea, and how I would contribute to the company. Several days later, the CEO offered me an internship.

As a Market Analyst at Asia Tea Co., Ltd., I will collect and analyze empirical data about foreign markets, and write weekly reports for the company. I will also build complicated charts about supply-demand and cost-revenue. In the modern business world, quantitative methods and computer skills are extremely important. I hope to master statistical and econometric techniques as well as advanced software applications such as STATA, Excel, and XLSTAT-PRO after the summer. I also want to learn to negotiate contracts in a professional way under the supervision of the CEO.

On the first day of my internship at the company, I was both excited and worried. I did not know how everything would go and how people would think about me. But the friendliness of the CEO and other members of the company impressed me. Everything went so well. The CEO introduced me to the staff and provided me basic information about the operation of the company. During the first two weeks, I primarily learned to use computer software programs, and to collect and analyze empirical data about foreign markets. On the following week, I would work on the project of analyzing a foreign market the CEO chooses.

After the first weeks at the company, I have learned a great deal about the tea industry and the methods of analyzing empirical data in the real world. After the summer, I want to have a deeper understanding of the tea industry in Vietnam, expand my networking contacts in the industry, and learn more about the art of management. In the future, I hope that I can contribute to the development of the Vietnamese tea industry.

– Duc Tran ’13