Kimberly Killen

Global Supply Chain

Intern at Human Resources Division

Kimberly is an American studying at University of Texas at Dallas. She is pursuing a degree in Global Business Supply Chain Management. Kimberly interned with us at our Global Mobility Group for 6 weeks and Payroll Services for 4 weeks.

Why did you want to intern in Sumitomo Electric?

Since starting university, I have always had an interest in working in Japan after graduation. Though, I knew to make that goal a reality I needed work experience in Japan. After weeks of searching for international internships online, I came across an interesting posting on Indeed. It was a post for a position as a global mobility intern at SEI. I was shocked to see a position that aligned with so many of my interests, so I decided to do some research on SEI. Not long after, I learned about the global internship program and after reading everybody’s experience at the company, I knew that this was the internship I wanted.

What did you do during the internship?

My project for my internship was to create an English global relocation guidebook for incoming expats coming to work for SEI in Japan. The guidebook initially started off as a step by step guide for new international employees living in Japan. However, after interviewing several current expats at SEI, I realized that it would be more beneficial to create a guide book based off difficulties these individuals encountered after relocating to Japan. After learning about their challenges, I was able to attend a couple of seminars and make visits to various offices to observe first-hand what kind of difficulties expats faced when they first arrived in Japan. I even got the added benefit of learning about Japanese labor laws which I was not familiar with before. I gained a lot of knowledge through my project and I was grateful that I was given the freedom and support to develop my guidebook the way that I felt was best.

What has been the most interesting thing you have learnt from this internship?

Aside from my main project, I was given a side project to help improve the current office environment. I learned about what employees liked about the office and what they wanted changed. The biggest thing that stuck with me was the idea that we all have our own study habits and favorable study environments and it becomes a real challenge when everybody must work all day in the same conditions. We as individuals have our own preferences to help us thrive and I truly believe accommodating those needs would boost employee satisfaction and work place efficiency. It was also interesting to see the difference between how Japanese culture approached change compared to American culture. Through this project, I learned about a lot of the different aspects and challenges we have to consider when trying to innovate something that's been the norm for a long time. It was also fun bringing in an outsider perspective into the office and rocking the boat a little bit.

How has the internship help shaped your career?

This internship gave me the opportunity to live in Japan for the summer and work in a real company. It has given me a good idea of what kind of career I want in the future. I definitely want to work in Japan in the future, and this experience has taught me what to expect out of Japanese companies. Also, SEI gave us, the interns, the freedom to collaborate on projects and it was fun bringing in outsider perspectives into the office and rocking the boat. These mini projects we put together made me realize my passion for creative and collaborative work, and I’m striving to find the perfect career that will fulfill my desire.

What advice do you have for future students considering to participate in this internship?

I cannot stress enough how well organized and generous this internship program is and I feel very lucky to have been a part of it and would highly recommend it. With that being said, I would advise everyone to be realistic with their expectations. SEI is a big company with a long history and unique corporate structure, and changes are not going to happen overnight. However, I believe our ideas stay with the company and give the employees a different perspective that will help implement change in the future. Keep trying and don’t give up!