10 Reflections on Internship at MEF in Peru 祕魯經濟財政部實習教我的十堂課

Thanks for HBS Social Enterprise Fellowship and William R. and Sara H. Kimball Fund for Social Enterprise for the great support during the summer in 2017. I really appreciate the fellowship since it provides me a summer free from financial burden to pursue my passion in social impact. Also, special thanks for the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Peru to host me for the summer and provide a great opportunity to let me explore the public sector and Peru in general!

感謝哈佛商學院 Social Enterprise Fellowship 和 William R. and Sara H. Kimball Fund for Social Enterprise 在2017年夏天提供的獎學金。因為這筆獎學金,我才能在沒有財務壓力的情況下,自由追求對於社會貢獻的熱情。此外,特別感謝祕魯經濟財政部在這暑假接待我,並提供我一個很棒的機會了解公部門和祕魯。

For MBA students, summer internship is usually the most important way to lock good post-graduate positions, especially for international students who are eager to stay in the U.S. While lots of MBAs pursue opportunities in consulting and tech, very few people hold positive attitudes towards the public sector. Hence, most classmates questioned my decision to work in the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) in Peru: “Government? Peru? Are you sure?”

對 MBA 學生而言,暑期實習是取得畢業後正職工作機會的重要途徑,特別是想留在美國的國際學生!當多數 MBA 都在尋找顧問業或高科技業的機會時,很少人對在政府工作抱持正面的態度。因此,當我決定去祕魯財政經濟部實習時,多數同學都質疑:「政府?祕魯?你確定嗎?」

Yes, I am sure. After working at BCG for almost three years, I would love to see how I can apply consulting skills in governments and NGOs to make great social impact. In addition, I want to seize opportunities to put myself out of the comfort zone – I believe true freedom only comes when I can feel comfortable anytime and anywhere. Therefore, without consulting anyone for career advice, I landed in Lima on May 26th and started the incredible journey in Peru.

是的,我確定。在 BCG 工作近三年後,我想看看如何能夠將顧問專業運用在政府或非營利組織,以達到社會貢獻的目標。此外,我也希望把握離開舒適圈的機會──我始終相信自由源於「無入而不自得」的能力。因此,在沒有徵詢任何人職涯建議的情況下,我搭上5/26的班機降落利馬,開始這趟不可思議的旅程。

At MEF, I worked in a department in charge of public-private partnership (PPP). My project was about civic engagement in PPP. Due to some protests happening before, the government wanted to know how to engage the public to ensure that investments meet people’s needs. Based on international benchmarks and expert interviews, I proposed a framework and guiding principles that formed the basis for potential regulatory changes.


Reflections on Government 關於政府運作的反思

[Make Informed Decisions] If there is no one making final decisions, then all efforts put into research are meaningless. Hence, a clear decision making process can save governments from wasting resources spent on research that will only be placed in folders without making real impact. In addition, a policy can fundamentally change how a system works because it defines rules that incentivize people to have certain behaviors. To design a policy that can lead to expected results, a deep understanding of context and psychology is crucial.


[Improve Talent Management] How to bring talents into governments is a challenging issue. Besides interesting job description, strong ownership and top-gun culture seem to be the most important factors in successful talent management. (1) Ownership: managers should delegate to employees whenever it is possible. Talents are highly motivated by opportunities to explore various skillsets and gain access to key counterparts. (2) Top-gun culture: talents care about the quality of colleagues as well as the quality of tasks. Creating an inspiring environment will increase their stickiness to organizations.

改善人才管理】如何將人才帶進政府是個困難的議題。在有趣的工作內容之外,充分授權和菁英團隊文化應該是人才管理中最重要的因素。( 1 ) 充分授權:管理者必須在所有可能的時候,盡量授權給員工執行。人才通常都會因為有機會拓展不同能力、取得與關鍵對口單位的話語權,而在工作上深受鼓舞。( 2 ) 菁英團隊文化:人才在乎同事的品質就像他們在乎任務的品質一樣重要。創造具啟發性的工作環境,有助於提昇人才對於團隊的黏著度。

[Build Communication Mechanisms] To interview people from other agencies, I need to ask if any colleague has personal contact there; otherwise, I can only send emails like whoever else without no priority. Though meetings across agencies are frequent, a high percentage of communications are initiated through informal channels. To design an agile policy formulation process and a learning organization, building clear communication mechanisms would be helpful.


[Identify Real Problems] It is much more difficult to align interests in government than in corporate. Since what people say and what they want are sometimes different, the identification of real problems requires investments of resources, which might be mostly overlooked by governments. Sometimes a dead lock that seems impossible to solve might be easier to tackle if we closely examine it and dig deeper into the core, just like it is easier to untie complex knots with a magnifier.


[Manage Level of Granularity] In governments, people weigh every word because minor difference in wording can lead to huge difference in impact. Compared to corporate, the mindset in government is less about pushing forward to meet deadlines, but more about reducing risk to the minimum level; hence, they can push on granularity more than corporate. How to manage the level of granularity is critical in determining if you can thrive in public sector. My way to deal with the granularity issue is a three-step analysis: compare documents from various entities, find the difference in wording and then figure out the logic behind it.


Reflection on Personal Growth 關於個人成長的反思

[Be Open-minded] One day I realized that I frequently said things like: “In consulting, we do this in that way…” Although my main goal was to explore how to apply consulting skills in governments, how arrogant it was to keep thinking my original way of doing things would work everywhere. Hence, I intentionally reduced times that I mentioned consulting and kept reminding myself of being open-minded. I started observing some interesting details I did not notice before and enjoyed my job more. Only when a glass is empty, it can take more water – humbleness is the only answer to successful learning.


[Proactive Learning] As a workaholic, I usually focus on individual tasks too much but overlook long-term learning and development. Since childhood, we past lots of exams and tried to get high scores; however, no one asked us to plan for our own learning. With this mindset, we forget to look beyond tasks and take full responsibilities of our own long-term development. Once I realized this issue, I tried to learn from colleagues and experts by understanding tasks they are working on and listening to their way of thinking, which became the most valuable learning I have ever had at MEF.


[Never Afraid to Aim High] What is the meaning of internship for you? For me, internship should help me understand what my professional life will look like after 10-20 years if I choose this career path. Hence, my suggestion would be to aim high in internship searching. Do not worry that you cannot make it to meet their expectation – if they give you the offer, they are comfortable to let you try and have a certain level of confidence in you. Do not be afraid of steep learning curve – if you only have 2-3 months to test all hypotheses of career choices, put all efforts in the whole experience!

勇敢往高處走】實習對你的意義是什麼?對我而言,實習必須幫助我了解:如果我選擇這條職業道路,那麼 10 到 20 年後,我的生活會是什麼模樣?因此,我建議大家盡量往高處爭取實習機會。不要擔心自己無法滿足對方的期望──如果他們錄取你,表示他們對你有一定程度的信任、也願意讓你嘗試。不要害怕陡峭的學習曲線──如果你只有兩三個月來測試心中所有關於職涯選擇的假設,那當然就是全力以赴囉!

[Tags and Myself] Putting Harvard on my resume and email signature provides me the access to many incredible opportunities. However, it is nothing about me. It is all about Harvard’s good reputation and strong network. I am afraid of being lost in Harvard’s brand name and forget to separate what Harvard has from what I deserve. Am I good enough to let people want to share thoughts with me? Do I contribute enough to earn people’s respect? I am lucky to be able to leverage the great power, but at the same time, I hope I can be clear on who I am and never be fooled by the temporary shininess Harvard brings to my life.


[Craziness of No Consequence] Since the chance that I work for Peruvian governments or meet people I know here again in the future is low, most of my decisions were made with the assumption of “no consequence”. I became bold to fight for what I believe and what I want. I would not say everything I did in Peru was correct, but I never regretted anything I did. When coming back to my original life, I suddenly realized how many unnecessary constraints I have put on myself. Next time, I will ask myself: (1) If there is no consequence, what would I do? (2) Will the consequence be really as bad as I expect? (3) If not, then why not remove constraints and do it as if there is no consequence?

沒有後果的瘋狂】因為未來要在祕魯政府工作、或是再見到這裡的人的可能性太小,所以對於大多數的事情,我都是基於「沒有後果」的假設來做決定。我變得勇於爭取我所想要的、或捍衛我所相信的事情。我不會說我在祕魯做的所有事情都是正確的,但我絕對不會後悔做過任何一件事情。當我回到原本的生活時,我才突然感受到原來我一直為自己設定那麼多不必要的限制。下次,我會問我自己三個問題:( 1 ) 如果沒有後果,我會怎麼做? ( 2 ) 後果真的會如我所預期的那麼糟嗎? ( 3 ) 如果不會,那為何不移除限制,就像沒有後果一樣地去做呢?

The summer has been really a life-changing experience for me in both professional and personal level. I cannot express how grateful I am to be here, with these lovely people, doing all the things I have never imagined I would do. Thanks for all the people who create the memories for me and make them amazing!



  1. Reblogged this on HUA Dreamer and commented:


  2. 總覺得大王小姐像是金庸筆下的主角,從來不是為了追求的外在標籤,而是為了真正的內在自我成長和有所貢獻,真的很像瀟灑的大俠。


  3. Hi, 感謝妳的分享,從臉書上不經意地看到這篇文章,有幾點我有點好奇 1. 為何選擇公部門? 2. 實習過後是否認為公部門是妳覺得值得效力的地方?或是有其他計畫?

    (Likewise) Hi, thanks for the post. I saw this article from Facebook, and it sort of makes me wonder a few things : 1. Why public sector? 2. Have you made up your mind on serving in public sector? Or do you still have other plans?


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