For her first assignment as a summer intern, Kirby Funt was tasked with designing the main interface for a medical company’s online consulting platform.
While she hadn’t designed a website before, Funt was willing to learn. With some training and assistance from colleagues, Funt was able to develop an appealing, user-friendly design that drew praise from her employers.
Then she was asked to design an exact replica of the site, completely in Chinese.
Fortunately, Funt, a double major in Chinese and communication studies major from Pipersville, Pa., was up for the challenge.
With support from the Furman Advantage program, Funt was able to spend 10 weeks in Shanghai this summer working for DE Global Management Consulting company. Her focus was developing a marketing strategy for MeWe, a nutritional supplement company.
MeWe currently uses a website called Taobao, similar to Amazon in the United States, but wants to eventually expand its services by connecting medical professionals to patients via phone or its online platform, explained Funt.
“MeWe wants to get away from the impersonal medical treatment of just writing a prescription to block diseases’ symptoms,” said Funt. “It’s MeWe’s goal to help treat patients from the inside out, looking at all systems of the body and finding the root cause of each patient’s disease.”
By creating the layout and menu options, choosing pictures and writing content for the site, Funt was able to showcase the company’s mission and greatly expand her Chinese medical vocabulary along the way.
She also gained life-long friends. Funt was “adopted” by a Chinese family who shared their home with her for more than two months. She was able to commute to work, either driving in with her co-worker or commuting like the locals on the jam-packed Shanghai subways. On weekends, she was able to take short trips to nearby cities and even squeezed in a brief trip to South Korea.
“It was a life-changing opportunity,” said Funt, who previously visited China as part of a study abroad program at Furman. “The medical field in China is incredibly interesting. I learned so much about marketing strategies and was able to connect with the culture.”
Funt said the internship also gave her direction with her future career. After graduation, she hopes to work as a company liaison, traveling to China on a periodic basis.
“I’m so appreciative of the opportunities I’ve had as a student,” she said.
To learn more about the Furman Advantage program, visit http://www.furman.edu/sites/internship/FurmanAdvantage/Pages/default.aspx