How an internship at Cathay Pacific helped this PolyU Global Supply Chain Management student put theory into practice

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PolyU Global Supply Chain Management student Christy Yue says many of the things learnt during her internship could not be learnt from textbooks.

Christy Yue, a fourth-year student now gearing up for her final exams at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), was never interested in run-of-the-mill college courses. 

So, on completing her associate degree, she jumped at the chance to take the bachelor’s degree in Global Supply Chain Management offered by the Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies (LMS) and has never looked back. 

She had considered subjects like economics, finance and marketing, but realised they were not her cup of tea. Instead, she wanted to study courses which were wide-ranging and would help her stand out in a very competitive job market.

“The interconnected global economy has given rise to supply chain management (SCM), which is playing an increasingly important role in international trade,” Yue says. “Demand for these services is bound to be massive. That said, SCM wasn’t mentioned much in my school days, so I had no real concept of what it involved. But as luck would have it, I attended a talk on a related topic and found myself absolutely fascinated. That led to wanting to know more about the area.” 

Christy worked at Cathay Pacific Airways's office in Bangkok as a summer intern, and was put in charge of cargo planning and loading calculations.
Photo: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Indeed, from that point on Yue set her sights on becoming a qualified professional in the field, with the GCSM degree at PolyU serving as an important stepping stone. 

“What most surprised me about the programme was that it covers far more than the academic theories in the textbook,” she says. “There is, of course, a certain emphasis on management skills and workflow analysis, but what most impressed me was the training in how to deal with practical problems and real-life situations in the logistics business.”

That knowledge came in handy when Yue landed a summer internship with Cathay Pacific Airways. In 2018, she spent two months in the airline’s Bangkok office, which was a chance to gain broader experience and new perspectives.  

“I worked at the cargo terminal, which involves a wide range of logistics activities,” she says. “When I started, I didn’t know much about air freight management and I wasn’t familiar with the types of air cargo or the packaging methods. However, my SCM training helped in picking things up quite effectively. My supervisor mostly asked me to do cargo planning and loading calculations, and I was quite happy handling that kind of work.”

Yue’s Thai colleagues made her feel welcome, which helped with settling in quickly and making the most of the internship.

Not many people have the chance to work in the interior of a cargo plane.
Photo: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

“They were friendly, helpful and easy-going,” she says. “There was plenty of chit-chat among the staff during office hours, and everyone was fairly relaxed in the workplace. I believe, though, that my Thai friends might find the work ethic of people in Hong Kong a little intimidating.” 

The internship changed Yue’s view of workplace culture, while also confirming her belief that she has what it takes to function well in any work environment. 

“I used to think that all workplaces shared a similar pattern of behaviour,” she says. “But my experience with the airline taught me that every office has its own specific approach to getting the job done. Now I am more open-minded and flexible in the way I see things, and I believe I will fit in wherever I go after graduation.” 

Edited by John Cremer

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