International Programs News

Summer Motorola Internship and More

April 2011

Working at Motorola

Wei Ha Pub

Learn more about our programs and activities on the FSB China Programs website.

My name is Taryn Falbo and I am senior Supply Chain Management major, double minoring in Chinese and International Business. I have always had interest in international business with a specific focus on China. Having been a member of the China Business Program for 3 years, I knew that it was time for me to put my classroom skills to the test. I actively searched for an internship in China for the summer before my senior year. Around spring break my junior year I discovered that I landed a twelve-week summer internship with Motorola Mobile Devices in Tianjin, China.

My internship took place in the Tianjin Economic Development Area, referred to as TEDA. TEDA is located to the southeast of Tianjin City, about 27 miles away from downtown and 86 miles from Beijing. Motorola established a manufacturing plant in TEDA March of 1992. Upon becoming fully operational in March 1993, this wholly-owned venture became Motorola's first manufacturing facility in China. Motorola (China) now manufactures a wide range of products for the Chinese and worldwide markets, and is Motorola's largest manufacturing complex in China.

I worked Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Motorola offered a shuttle bus for all employees living in TEDA or downtown Tianjin. I took this bus several times in the beginning of my internship but once I felt confident enough to use my Chinese, I took a taxi to and from work. Taking a taxi decreased my travel from an hour to eight minutes and it cost me only $1 each way. Not only did this save me a substantial amount of time, it was also a great time for me to practice my Chinese language.

My internship directly related to my major. I worked in the Material Planning Department for Motorola under the Distribution Center Planner. I dealt with the new products manufactured for North America. All of the products that are distributed in North America come from the one distribution center based in Fort Worth, Texas. My main responsibility was to create the Daily Build Ship Plan report, this report tells how many units of each cell phone model we plan to ship to North America for the entire month. There were seven build planners in my department, they determined how much of a product we planned to manufacture that month. It was my job to ensure that there was enough inventory on hand to complete these orders and that we were not manufacturing more than North America Distribution Center wanted.

Everyday, manufacturing finished around noon and then I began working on my daily ship build report. The seven build planners adjusted their build plans with the actual build for that day and then altered their build plans for the rest of the month based on the change from that day. I then received their build plans and adjusted my ship plans. Shipments were not made until later that night, and the shipping department used this Daily Build Ship Report to determine how many units should be shipped. More simply put, I ensured supply aligned with demand.

Working for Motorola this past summer was extremely hectic but an incredible experience. It gave me the first hand look at international business that I had always wanted. To earn some extra money I also worked as a bartender at a local bar and an English teacher for a translating company.

On Monday, Wednesday, Friday I worked at Wei Ha Pub from 7:30 pm until close, which was around 2:00 am. It is the local bar where all the foreigners went after work to eat, and have a few beers. This is the bar where I met most of my friends. The South African Managers who were also friends of mine strived to uphold its foreign feel, and were thrilled to offer me a job.

It was my job to bring a western vibe behind the bar and serve drinks. People came to our bar because it was a pleasant reminder of home. I had never bartended before and had about a day of training, but it was so much fun. I met hundreds of people from all over the world. My job was not only to serve beverages but also to converse with customers. Everyone I met, of all ages, had a different story to tell.

My boss at the Wei Ha also put me in charge of marketing for the pub. I set up themed nights and special events to lure in customers. I designed posters and shirts for events and also set up facebook pages for our pub. By the time I left for home, almost every local bar in town had a facebook page.

One night when I was working at the Wei Ha, a Chinese man entered and asked to speak with me. He worked for a translating company and wanted to know if I had any interested in teaching English to professionals. The goal was for my students to improve their listening comprehension skills.

The students I taught worked for the company Baker Hughes headquartered in Texas. I met with about 8 or 9 students twice a week for 2 hours. The first hour we spent over a traditional Chinese dinner talking about everything from relationships to US History. The second hour we spent in a classroom-like setting reading dialogue from a textbook and then talking about that topic in the reading at the end.

My experience in China was very different from many other students. Given my large workload my travel was limited. I was not a tourist this past summer but a businesswoman. I was never discouraged by my workload because I was constantly learning and experiencing something new, even at work. I am confident to say this experience changed my life for the better. It is truly amazing how much I have grown academically, professionally and personally since I left for China. Applying my classroom education to the real world was challenging and it provided me an experiential learning opportunity in which I was able to not only learn new skills, but gain new perspectives as well.

When I was saying good-bye to all of the friends I came across one man who said to me, "This is not good-bye, you will be back. See you soon!" I have always known my relations with China will continue throughout my entire life. I consider China more than just a summer internship, it is my passion and my future.

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