My experience with ProfIntern

My program included:

Program: Individual internships
Destination: Russian Federation
Extras: 2-way airport transfer, Accommodation search, Issuing the invitation for visa, Information site-set, Excursion package
Destination: Russian Federation

January 18, 2018
Thomas Sulmon

Having just finished my master in October 2017, I decided to join as other fellow students a program sponsored by the Belgian state in order to get some professional experience abroad. I didn't take long to make my choice: I studied Russian for three years and never got the chance to actually stay in Russia for more than 10 days. Plus, Saint-Petersburg has always been my favorite European city. The only thing I was fearing was the cold, but it turned to be not as bad as I thought. Profintern quickly found me an internship fulfilling all my needs : a young company called organizing flights on various transports (planes, helicopters, paragliding,  balloons), as well as parachute jumps.  The company currently proposes more than 110 types of flights, and has connections with more than 33 aerodromes in the 2 main cities of the country, Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. In these three months internship, the main tasks allocated to me were: 

1) Audit of competitors  

Duration : 2 weeks

Content : Analyzing and reporting the strategies and offers of competing companies. I filled every time an excel file, answering questions such as “What is the product of company?”, “How old is the company”, “What kind of clientele is this company targeting?”,… by going on their individual websites (all in russian) and leading an inquiry on the presentation, offers, promotions,… This task brought me undeniable benefits in the field of marketing, but also in the field of linguistics. I got more familiar with technical terms proper to the field of aviation, and learned to lead an neutral and objective audit about a company.

2) Strategy Analysis

Duration: approximately 4 weeks

Content: Discussing about the “X present” project with my mentor, I offered him my help and knowledge of western practices to improve the strategies of this young project. I therefore led a thorough analysis of the main deliverers of “present boxes” in the European market: smartbox, cadeaubox, bongo,…  But I also focused on Russian competitors, in order to see what elements X Prensent could implement that none of its competitors had on the Russian market.

This analysis quickly showed itself fruitful: with the support of PowerPoint presentations, I could show my mentor on which elements the various European companies were betting, and the designs they used. It turned out almost all of them had a “banner” present at all times on the sites to show its advantages; my mentor showed much enthusiasm for this idea.
I then offered him a selection of elements none of the Russian competitors had, and we then discussed what was financially viable to implement in X Present. Shortly after, a banner appeared on the website of X Present, showing the four elements selected by us: full customization of the boxes content, free exchange, free insurance against lost and theft, and upgrading of the validity duration of the gift. As a direct consequence of this work, X Present is now gaining steam on the Russian market.

3) Research of partners in Moscow

Duration: approximately 5 weeks

Content: Towards the middle of December, my mentor told me about the project of expending X Present towards Moscow, and get a bigger share of the market. He hence gave me the task of finding partners in the capital for the dozens of activities already available in Saint-Petersburg. Using mostly excel, my task was to browse the main companies offering a given activity, have a first glance at the quality of services and prices, and write down the 5 potential partners that seemed to have the best quality/price ratio, with their address, telephone number and contact information. Another colleague would then call these companies and let me know if we found an agreement or if I had to add some more to the list.

During the whole internship, Anna and Maria from ProfIntern were constantly in touch with us, organizing reunions and excursions, asking for our feedback, and always proposing their help. I am very grateful for them allowing us to have a wonderful stay in Russia, and to always be a shoulder to lean on for these 3 months.

Thomas Sulmon (Belgium)
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