Democratizing Knowledge

This is the first in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Brittany Bing, COL ’19

Brittany Bing at buddah shrineThis summer I had the opportunity of interning with the consulting startup Lynk Global in Hong Kong. Lynk defines itself as a global expert network which seeks to democratize access to knowledge. The company is just one of a small subset of companies called expert networks. Lynk’s mission is unique in that they are attempting to do what Google has done for information. They are trying to give people and companies easy access to reliable sources of knowledge from people with specific experience in different industries.

I worked on the Client Solutions team performing a sales-like role. We were the first point of contact for expert recruitment to act as independent consultants. For example, when a prospective client (typically a management consultant) approaches Lynk, they have a specific request to speak to someone from a specific country who is knowledgeable about some niche subject. That is where the job gets a little tough. Sometimes the turn around time is very quick – as fast as a single weekday. It is also difficult to navigate around time zone differences when the experts are recruited from places that are far away from Hong Kong.

There was one time where I was staffed on a project where I had to identify, recruit, and screen experts who were knowledgeable about mobile money payments in sub-Saharan Africa. All of the outreach that I had done earlier that day was made when they were sleeping. There was one particular expert who was very eager to become a consultant after I informed him about compensation options. Just as I was about to go to bed for the evening at midnight, I received a phone call from a number in Nigeria. I declined. Fifteen minutes later I received another call, and I remembered that I should probably onboard this man for the project. I answered the call from a man who I initially approached after finding his profile on LinkedIn. I informed him that it was midnight in Hong Kong and his immediate response is “okay, good. Anyway….” Perks of working at a global firm!

Brittany Bing in Hong Kong

Indeed, I learned a lot about startup culture and what it’s like to be in sales. I appreciated having the full responsibility as someone who worked there full time. Contrary to other internships that I had in the past, the work that I did for Lynk was actually helping to contribute to the bottom line. I was cold calling and pitching within a week of starting there. I cannot emphasize enough the sheer amount of independence that interns were given there. I guess that’s what comes with the startup life. It was so refreshing to be treated just like every other employee instead of being designated as the local intern.

I also learned lots about the actual work of management consultants since they comprised most of the clients that I worked with. It gave me insight into different industries ranging from telecommunications to auto engineering since I was tasked with contacting them and learning about their specializations.  Lastly and most importantly, I made a number of friends along the way. I became close with different people from different backgrounds at Lynk. The relatively informal setting was conducive toward forging relationships that weren’t forced or under the hazy guise of professionalism. The atmosphere at Lynk was equal parts easy-going and productive.

Author: Student Perspective

Views and opinions from current Penn students.