Intern in Action: Linna Dai

Linna Dai
Linna Dai

Linna moved to the U.S. in 2012 as a transfer student to the University of Wisconsin Madison. Majoring in Management and Human Resources for two and half years, Linna graduated in 2014. Currently, she is an MBA candidate at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. After a challenging first interview in the U.S., she took every chance to practice, sought experiences as an office assistant in the dining center and the school’s HR department, and even found a part-time job as a technical recruiter. She recently accepted an offer from Abt Associates—an international public policy and research consulting firm—as a summer HR intern. She takes the opportunity to embrace the American corporate culture and enjoy the beautiful summer in Maryland.

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Every internship experience, for me, is treated as a treasure that I found for my personal life collection. They are searched with hard effort, enjoyed with great happiness, and treasured with precious memories. Looking into my collection, I have already tasted the flavor in China by working with various types of companies from a Fortune 500 industry leader to a small family-run business, and just got my feet wet in the States as a technical recruiter in a small bioinformatics company few months ago. As my target turned to diving into the American corporate culture by joining a more formally organized company, Abt Associates made my dream come true.

Abt to me is home. With the knowledge gained in my internship at Intel, the Outlook mail system, the Lync communication tool, and even greetings from the Abt team look too familiar to me. Moreover, my supervisor graduated from the same school and same program as I did three years ago, and the other HR intern working in Cambridge came from the same hometown as mine in China. What a surprise! To really become a member of this big family as soon as possible, I started by reaching out to every director in the HR department. From the people I met and the stories shared, Abt is no longer a cold abstract institution but a live person that truly strives on its way to improve the quality of life and economic well-being of people worldwide, supported by all these lovely family members.

The conversations have not only shown me their contribution and dedication to the company, but also their seriousness towards interns. My colleagues do not simply assign whatever they want me to do. Instead, they asked what I would enjoy the most. That was how I got involved with the two exciting projects: Goal Setting Expo and Mind Tools Promotion.

Goal Setting Expo was a fun event that the HR department held to help people set up S.M.A.R.T. goals aligned with the corporate strategy. Mind Tools, on the other hand, is an online training resource that Abt invests in to provide employees with access to more than 1000 leadership and management development resources, which however, is currently underused. By conducting those two projects, I have learned how to cooperate with people from different divisions/departments, how to work around priorities, and how to take advantage of limited resources. I won’t forget the hard negotiation with outside vendors, I won’t forget the beautiful accent from London in our conference, and I will always remember the satisfying smiles from people at the Expo when their problems were solved.

The most exciting moment I have experienced at Abt belongs to the annual meeting time. By watching people’s great achievements and listening to the President & CEO Kathleen Flanagan’s speech, I feel the power generated by the talents, I feel the passion carried through generations, and I feel the bright future filled with hope that Abt will be better every second, every day, and I couldn’t agree more. On Abt!

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