50+ students participated in our intern abroad program during Summer 2019, here’s what participants had to say…

What is the Columbia Experience Overseas (CEO) Program?

The Columbia Experience Overseas Internship Program (CEO) is one of CCE’s most unique programs.  The program combines full-time work experience in an international location, immerses students in new, exciting experiences, connects them with Columbia alumni, offers networking opportunities with professionals and learning about career opportunities. 

In Summer 2019, there were 54 students who completed internships through CEO in London, Amman, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai and Seoul. To highlight the key experiences that the students, employers, and mentors took away from their summer, here is a recap of some of the key moments that took place last summer.

What Employers think about CEO and the interns they hire

CCE works with a variety of different employers across all industries in the six global program sites. Our aim is to provide as many different types of opportunities for students as possible. Every year, we have many returning employers because they enjoy the experience of working with Columbia students so much. 

In fact, employers stated that the organizational benefit of hiring international interns from Columbia are:

  1. Diversity of experience/perspective
  2. Increased global reach/branding
  3. Columbia students possess strong skills necessary to be successful in their role and organization

Now that’s some impressive stuff!

One employer said, “Columbia University interns are very bright and have a promising future ahead.  The program is very impactful, it challenges participants to develop global acumen and adapt to work environments outside [their] comfort zone at a high pace.” 

 What students think about the program

Undergraduate rising sophomores and juniors from Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, and General Studies are eligible to apply for the CEO program.  These students come from all backgrounds and have varied level of experience within professional work environments, living in a new culture, and some in the industry of the internship. 

The 2019 student cohort highlighted above all, the amount of global awareness they gained through an international internship:

“Being outside of my comfort zone, especially in an international environment, has always given me a lot of personal development by helping me to be more open-minded, think more critically, and be more flexible. It has also helped my confidence and resourcefulness” — 2019 CEO Hong Kong participant

“After this experience, I truly feel as though I have grown in tremendous ways. I had the opportunity to explore both a different region and my aspiring field, and through these different perspectives I had the opportunity to learn more about myself.” — 2019 CEO Mumbai participant

What mentors walked away with last summer

The CEO program connects interns with a Columbia alumni mentor who works in the city to give students another perspective on life after Columbia.  The mentors provide support, advice, and guidance for students during their time and also get to connect with the current campus community and in essence, give back to their alma mater. 

The CEO mentors are thrilled to connect with current students and end up taking a lot of learning with them as well.  One mentor shared:

“Being a mentor for the intern program is one of the ways a graduate could give back to Columbia for the fine education we received at the university. Interaction with young people always inspires grownups to understand the thinking of the young mind and to learn from them. … Passing the torch is ever so important.” — CEO Hong Kong Mentor

In all, the CEO program offers a learning opportunity for everyone: the employers, mentors, and students.  As globalization increases, international cultural exposure and work experiences become more important to successfully navigate and meet the demands of the changing work environment. The CEO program strives to meet that need and bring a positive, dynamic experience to Columbia undergraduate students. 

Looking ahead at summer 2020, applications are live in LionSHARE!