SmartIntern's Founders

Brandon King

After studying at UC Santa Barbara (ranked #11 for all US public schools) and Warwick University (ranked #7 for all British Universities), Brandon graduated with honors in 2008 and promptly moved to China.

While living in Shenzhen, a city in southern China, Brandon underwent the rite of passage of teaching English as a Second Language in China and soon began freelance writing and consulting with companies looking to improve their presence online.

At 24, Brandon began his foray into entrepreneurship by founding English Window, an English language and soft-skills training center that at its peak had close to 30 students. 

By his 26th birthday, Brandon was working as a marketing manager for a Shanghai-based web design and development firm and directly managing a team of 5, proving that China offers ample opportunity for motivated graduates to "work above their level". 

After a brief stint at a tech startup based in Santa Barbara, California ("Silicon Beach") and funded by Kleiner Perkins, Brandon partnered with Michael to found SmartIntern. 

The SmartIntern team now uses their 10+ years on the ground in China to help motivated young students and recent graduates make fewer mistakes and more connections in less time as they start their careers from the world's most dynamic economy- China!

In between work and travel, Brandon studies Mandarin Chinese and rides his skateboard and bicycle through the streets of Shanghai.

Connect with Brandon on LinkedIn.

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Michael Olson

Michael's experience in China began in 2008, when he spent a semester studying in Beijing. It was here that he realized the possibility for expanding his knowledge of geopolitics, international business, and entrepreneurship.

After graduating from The Ohio State University, Michael moved to Shanghai, ready to immerse himself in one of the most exciting cities in the world. The constant change and dynamic economy in Shanghai implanted in Michael a flexible, global mindset that he continues to cultivate to this day.

Before launching SmartIntern, Michael was Digital Marketing Manager at an international e-retailer specializing in luxury brands. After being promoted to a managerial role at age 25, Michael oversaw marketing initiatives in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), affiliate marketing, and strategy in several different markets.

During this time, Michael also co-founded an event promotion group in which he juggled promotional and operational roles while expanding his network throughout Shanghai.

Prior to his digital marketing career, Mike worked as an Economics Teacher and US College Consultant & Advisor in Shanghai.


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Our Approach

If you are smart, ambitious, and globally minded, there is a good chance you have thought about working in China at some point in your life.

We know because we were in the same position in 2008, when we had just graduated university and headed to China to build a career for ourselves in the world's most dynamic economy.

We soon found that, while China's economy was growing rapidly, finding good jobs and internships wasn't easy. Drawing from our experience in China's tumultuous foreign labor market, and after seeing many smart and ambitious expat friends struggle to find their footing in China, we started SmartIntern.

We say we are the Smartest Way to enter China because no other internship company in China combines our on-the-ground experience and local connections with a seminar that teaches you how to work smarter in a global, digital economy. 

We currently offer two packages:

SmartIntern's Supported Shanghai Program is a package that includes an internship in Shanghai, housing, subway card and SIM card, and participation in our exclusive Work Smarter seminar. Our second package is our Solo Shanghai Program, which pairs you with an internship in Shanghai or Shenzhen, a city in China's fast-growing Pearl River Delta, for a one-time fee. We also sometimes place exceptional applicants in full-time jobs- if you are looking for a long-term job in China, please write us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see what we have available. 

Unlike some internship companies, we focus only on China. We offer custom-tailored internships only with companies that we have personally visited first. If we wouldn't want to work there, we know you wouldn't either, so we don't partner with companies that aren't prepared to offer meaningful experiences to interns.

Another characteristic that makes SmartIntern unique is our Work Smarter seminar, which is the only career-training seminar offered by a China internship company. In this seminar, we cover everything from resume/CV editing to giving actionable advice on how you can market your China experience effectively by building your personal brand online. Our seminar also advises participants on how they can use new technologies to make a bigger impact in the workplace and the world. The ability to leverage technology is essential for success in today's digital economy, and the concrete tips, hacks, and strategies that we impart to participants during Work Smarter help them to be more productive, efficient, and savvy global citizens.

With our years of on-the-ground experience, we know firsthand the difficulties of building a career in China. By giving you:

  • The knowledge we have spent years building
  • The networks we have forged throughout the Greater China and APAC region
  • An internship that matches your skills and ambitions
  • All the other stuff 

We help you to start an exceptional career from China. We find this immensely satisfying. 

Learn more about our Internships in China here.

Learn more about our Internships in Shanghai here.

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