Student Profiles

Lydia Kim

BSILR '18

Credit Internship Program

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)

The first semester of my junior year, I worked as a Human Resources intern at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) which is a multinational Japanese bank based in Tokyo. From the start of my internship in NYC, I was given exposure to all of the functions of HR, including Compensation and Benefits, Talent Acquisition, Learning and Development, Employee Experience, Operations and Planning, and the HR Business Partners. Some of the many projects I worked on included creating materials for an employee career fair, drafting verbiage for the careers website and LinkedIn page, helping out with the job description and requisition creation process, and assisting with employee on-boarding.

Additionally, I had the opportunity to help out with employee focus groups conducted across business divisions and seniority levels, which allowed me to get a first-person perspective of the employee experience at the company. Every day of my internship brought new opportunities to gain hands-on experience and observe the world of work in action.

My internship was a great combination of meaningful assignments as well as the opportunity to work with a wonderful team of people. It was fulfilling to work on projects that added value to the company, while also putting context to the concepts learned in my core ILR courses. In addition, I really appreciated the department’s close knit environment and how accessible everyone was. I was often invited to meetings with senior HR leaders, which I thought I would never be able to experience as an intern. Everyone was so welcoming, friendly, and willing to help me learn as much as possible. Moreover, I also enjoyed the exposure to elements of Japanese work culture and the global network SMBC is a part of. I attended Japanese language classes offered on Fridays and a cross-cultural intelligence training session for new employees.

I have always had a passion for merging the social sciences with business, combining both observations of the world we live in and the practical ability to mobilize change within it. Throughout the course of the internship and weekly ILR class, I delved deeper into my passions and realized a love for analyzing companies. In our weekly class, we dissected case studies of leadership in companies, looking at organizations from a strategic standpoint and seeing how leaders campaign for and implemented change. Coupled with an internal perspective on organizations gained from working in SMBC’s HR department, I enjoyed exploring how organizations work and what makes them tick, which I wanted to further explore in an external, client facing role within the bank. Although there is a learning curve in shifting into a more technical role involving financial modeling and credit analysis, the fact that I am able to make this transition is a testament to the wide applicability of the ILR education.

During my credit internship, I applied for a position in their Summer Analyst class, received an offer, and happily returned to SMBC in Summer 2017, this time in their U.S. Corporate Banking Department. I had a great experience once again, situated on the front lines of business, where I analyzed the financing of investment grade portfolio companies within the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications industry coverage group. I will be returning full-time after graduation as an U.S. Corporate Banking Analyst in Summer 2018.

The credit internship program is one of my favorite memories at ILR and Cornell. It is a unique opportunity to directly apply knowledge from my studies in the classroom and added dimensionality to my overall education. This internship was 17 weeks long, allowing for greater breadth and depth of exposure than a summer internship. Furthermore, the weekly class at the ILR Extension Office was a great way to supplement my on-the-job experiences with classroom learning and still stay connected to the ILR School while I was off campus.