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Talking to a global audience

31 January 2020

We spoke to Shuting Cai (known as Lily), a post-graduate student in Accounting and Finance, who took part in the ‘Languages for Business’ scheme.

Originally from China, Lily undertook Mandarin business development and market research for Cardiff-based premium online beauty retailer, Escentual. Escentual’s founder, Rakesh Aggarwal (MBA 2000) completed his MBA at Cardiff.

Students from over 130 countries study here. As the team at Escentual discovered, working with a student from the University’s 7,900-strong international and EU community can bring real benefits to your business. If you’re looking to export or expand into new territories or build relationships with international suppliers and customers, a student’s expertise could be invaluable. Along with their native language skills and cultural awareness, they have a command of the communication channels and professional etiquette needed to do business in their home countries.

In Lily’s case this meant assisting with new product launches and providing intelligence to enhance the business’s international social media strategy:

“The role involved research and collecting information for the current trends in the beauty industry within China. My job was to identify sales opportunities in the Asian market and to provide insights into Chinese social networking.”

She describes her internship as a “precious opportunity” which allowed her to become accustomed to switching between Mandarin and English in a professional context; to develop the ability to work to tight deadlines and build on her existing commercial awareness.

From Escentual’s point of view, the experience has been hugely positive too. Chelsey Edmunds, Campaign Editor, says that Lily’s input has allowed the business to better understand their Chinese audience and discover gaps in their marketing where they could add value to their customers.

In fact, Escentual’s workforce has really been enriched by their work with Cardiff University. The business has made the University a pivotal part of their growth strategy, hosting short insights; paid internships; Professional Placement Years and recruiting recent graduates into permanent positions.

As Kate Czyrko, manager of the University’s Futures Connect Work Experience Team puts it:

“The way that Escentual have worked with us has been a masterclass for SMEs in how to attract new talent. They have successfully raised their profile as a sought-after graduate employer while also taking advantage of the numerous benefits that hosting student interns from around the world brings. We look forward to a long and productive working relationship with them.”

The exact format and content of an internship can be determined by you and the student you select. The Futures Connect Work Experience Team at the University provides guidance and will manage the end-to-end recruitment process for you – everything from helping you to create a role description through to promoting it to students, fielding applications and even undertaking a first sift on your behalf. Lily worked with Escentual part-time throughout the semester, but if you need a project completed on a full-time basis the team can advise on the best times to promote the opportunity to students too.

Inspired by Lily’s experiences at Escentual? Want to find out more? Learn about the Languages for Business scheme and other ways that your business can bring the talent and ideas of a Cardiff University student on board by contacting