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Discovering what makes ByteDance tik

Born and brought up in India, Ketan (MBA 2020) graduated as an Electronics & Communications Engineer in 2014. Having been raised in a business family, he always had zeal towards initiating new ventures.

He began working in the real estate sector at the age of 21, which helped him gain deep insight into the market and its trends. In 2014, he started a cement marketing venture associated with Lafarge Group, the world's largest cement and concrete manufacturer.

Alongside, he joined his family's business to support a new project in real estate. Initially, Ketan overlooked sales and marketing, and then took additional responsibility of procurement of construction supplies.

Having gained a 360-degree experience in different roles, Ketan chose to do his MBA to further sharpen his skills. His business visit to China in 2014 attracted him to CEIBS as the top choice of schools. Carefully researching about Chinese business and especially tech startups, Ketan developed a liking for internet startups in China.

Here he talks about how his journey thus far took him to one of the most talked about internet startups in the world.

How are you spending your summer?

Moving to Beijing has certainly made my summer exciting. I started my part-time internship at ByteDance in April from Shanghai and then moved to the beautiful capital city of Beijing in June for the full-time internship role. It has been a great experience for me so far having been able to change my industry, role and geography as well.

After the internship, I will be leaving for my exchange program.

What are the big differences as an international MBA in Shanghai compared to Beijing?

In the past couple of months in Beijing, I connected with many international MBAs from the top B-schools in Beijing. The city in itself has a distinctive vibe, which reflects in the people over here as well. Beijing being a tech-hub, attracts more talents in tech companies and people are more open to working in the rapidly budding startups.

You are interning at ByteDance. How would you describe the company?

I began researching about my target internship companies early on. ByteDance had been at the top of my list since beginning. Having grown rapidly and being one of the few tech companies that successfully expanded overseas, I was attracted towards working here. Their India operations had also been growing multi-fold. I figured it would be where I could offer my India-China experience to the company and also get an opportunity to learn more about the tech business.

In my opinion, ByteDance is a combination of a growth and an established company. Although, they are expanding rapidly, their operations are highly streamlined and involve immense research prior to decision making.

So far, my experience has been very positive and I look forward to coming back to the company post MBA.

What is your role as an intern in the company?

I am in the ‘Commercialization - Strategic Operations’ team and was hired for the for Indian market. My day-to-day work requires me to conduct market research and work with the sales team to provide them consumer insight.

I am also responsible for advertisement optimization for advertisers for India, SEA, Japan, US and EU.

Have you shared any videos of yourself on the platform? If so what were you doing?

All the ByteDance platforms are amazing and come bundled with a plethora of features. I do try all the new features as they are rolled out. However, I have not yet published any videos.

How is the culture compared to your experience in India?

Overall, I felt that the work culture in Beijing is very different from that in India. People tend to work longer hours here and same goes for ByteDance. Being a growth company, everyone is dedicated to their job. This is something I admire a lot. Back in India, not many people are as driven as the ones I came across in Beijing. However, that is rapidly changing.

Work-from-home culture is also something which has lately become common in India. However, I noticed people in Beijing would prefer to work from the office than from the comfort of their homes even on weekends.

Out of the MBA courses you have taken at CEIBS so far, what has been the most important to help you make impact on the internship?

Although there are parts of many courses that have helped me prove my worth in my internship. I believe that Marketing and Strategy courses in particular helped me to think and perform radically in this role.

How has the experience, if at all, altered your future goals?

Prior to MBA, I worked in my family’s real estate development business. Working in ByteDance therefore, was a welcome change for me. It gave me a knack for working in the tech sector and while experiencing Chinese work culture. This internship has definitely changed my perspective towards new business. In the long run, I would certainly be able to apply the learning from my experience here, in my forthcoming business ventures and in the short run, this has opened up doors for me to switch industry when I begin my full-time job search.