Even though Jaeyong Lee is already about to be released into the working world, we didn’t want to miss the chance to still ask him about his extraordinary internship experience with Philips in summer 2015, which provided him with a valuable Master thesis collaboration. Take a look to find out how he managed to get in and how his experience looked like.
- Where did you do your internship and how long did you stay there?
I have done my internship from September 2015 to November 2015, around 3 months in Philips Design in Singapore.
- How did you find it?
The time was in the spring 2015; I was enthusiastically searching for summer internship opportunities all around the world, including Finland, North America, Netherlands, Germany and Singapore. I applied to more than 30 companies for good chances to use my design knowledge in practical work and to get valuable experiences in a company. I personally submitted my portfolio, CV, and motivation letter to the Philips Design office around February 2015, but there was no response during a few months. Luckily, I got an interview from Philips Design in Singapore on July by email – “Are you still interested in an internship?”. I had an interview with two design managers and we talked about my portfolio, personal strength, and things that I could contribute to Philips Design. Finally, I got the chance to get in.
- Was it difficult to get in?
I would say, yes. As I said, I applied to quite many companies. I got just 2 interviews in total; SoundCloud and Philips. I was also quite unsure whether I could get the chance or not, after having had the interview with Philips. So the waiting time after having the interview – around 2 weeks – felt like forever. I am not sure by which criteria they select the candidates and finally the interns, but it was worth waiting and to invest my effort.
- What was your motivation to go on internship abroad?
I was thinking that during my first year of studies in CoID, I really want to have experiences in multinational companies, since I only have had experiences in design agencies. Finland was also one of the options (because Finland is also abroad for me), but I did not put any limitation regarding countries, if there were interesting opportunities available. Working with international professionals and learning from them were the main reasons why I really craved to apply to internships abroad.
- Tell us about the company where you did the internship, what does it do?
The business areas of Philips consist of healthcare, lighting, and consumer products. I was working on healthcare and consumer products; there was no real border for working as an intern. It was good to know that Philips is working on quite various industries, but sharing the same goal: Improving people’s lives in every product. After the internship, I got more interested in healthcare and realized that there are big demands and roles that designers can contribute to.
Projects that I have been involved in at Philips
Primary Care Project
Philips was conducting a big research project for primary care in emerging markets; China, India, Brazil, etc. Many design researchers in Philips all around the world have already conducted user & context research to find out about the possibilities and feasibilities of primary care business in such countries. A challenge was that there were many insights and findings from the research, but it was not arranged very well, not persuasive, and information was not effectively integrated. My role in the project was integrating all relevant information, researching additional data, and visualizing it in an understandable and compelling way for the internal use. The final work was a presentation file, which will be used for funding, and communication between Philips employees.
Sinpost Online Shop
Philips works on an online shop, which focuses on local consumers. There was no Philips online shop, just for Singapore consumers that reflects local needs. So the company wanted to build a new website from scratch. I designed key web pages alone based on Philips brand guideline as well as the designs delivered to engineers to build a real online shop. That was a very practical project that will be used in Singapore very soon.
- What was the most interesting thing you learned?
I am fascinated about the fact that within the role of a designer one can influence many people’s lives. When I work on a product that possibly makes positive impact on people’s lives, I can know that the company can actually deliver it to them. For the most part, design projects that I have been involved in, were relatively small scale. However, if I imagine that I work for a company that actually can bring the values of design into the real world, it would be such an exciting moment as a designer. Of course I was just an intern, but I could imagine that maybe in the future I could be likely to design in similar ways, once I have finished my studies.
- What was the most difficult thing you encountered?
I would say it was the language barrier. I mean, of course I do not have a big problem to work in English, but I realized that I should develop the language skill more and more. Designers should be able to articulate what they’re designing, and what it is for. I felt that I need to develop my language skills until I apply for this job in the far future. That would be the same for all designers who are non-native speakers.
- Did the internship change your vision of what you’d like to do after you graduate?
Rather than having changed something, I would say it encouraged and stimulated my enthusiasm about design. To be a good designer and a person who can do good designs, I shouldn’t stop to study: reading, experimenting, understanding and discussing. While seeing all other professionals who are working in their roles, I strongly felt that I should keep studying, even after getting a job. Furthermore, I got a thesis project during the internship period from Philips, so it’s still giving me a lot of motivation.