K-International Ltd

Richard Brooks, CEO of K-International Ltd, discusses his experience as an Internship Provider for the Masters in Management Internship Programme

K International is an SME located in Milton Keynes, 9 miles from Cranfield School of Management. The organisation has supported the MSc internship programme since it started in 2014.

K International is entrepreneurial in nature and headed by Cranfield Alumnus Richard Brooks (MBA 2006, BGP 2012). It specialises in professional language translation services, this often takes the form of translating brands (referred to as transcreation) or translating websites for large multinationals. It is a very diverse business as it interacts with people from all over the world from many different sectors to develop solutions to deliver global content via multiple channels.

When/how did you first hear about the MiM internships?

We first heard about the MiM internships while the owner managers of the business were studying on the Business Growth Programme (BGP) at Cranfield. It was at the time when we’d just finished the development of the next stage in our company’s strategy and the internship was a great way to extend this knowledge into action. We were looking for additional senior staff at the time and this helped us to bridge the gap between making that huge investment and seeing what a person of that calibre was capable of.

Cranfield were very supportive of the internship and supported us every step of the way. From writing the original brief to hand-picking several candidates for interview the process was made an easy one. 

How many internships have you offered so far?

We’ve offered at least 1 internship each year via this programme since it started. Every year we consider our own management’s spare capacity to coach and bring in the relevant numbers. It’s important to us that the intern works to their full potential and interacts fully with as many senior managers and our other stakeholders in our business as possible.

Why did you offer the internships – what was/is the business need?

Our primary drivers behind offering the internship is to develop company projects. As every SME we have a lot of ideas which we need to be promoted to the next stage but with a lack of time and resources this limits the amount of initiatives we can work on. The internship gives us an opportunity to selectively develop one of these and move it forward systematically.  

Examples of past projects have included:

  • Development of a new value proposition for a Key Account
  • Alignment of our customer’s objectives and our staff’s HR policies
  • Development of a completely new service

We have the outline of 2017’s project which will be created closely with Cranfield faculty to ensure maximum cross-over between the MSc and the internship. An area we’ve not explored until this year is the possibility of selecting future candidates for employment. All projects undertaken so far have been considered a success.

What are the benefits to your company?

The most obvious benefit to our company is that we get the work done. This is normally a project that we would have needed external help on and would have been cost prohibitive to get it off the first page.

We also benefit by having a very talented person at the start of their career who is backed by the research, teaching and faculty of Cranfield School of Management. This helps us to benchmark our own senior managers’ skill set and determine if there are any shortfalls we need to train for.

What did the students bring to the team?

All of our team have had a long tenure with the company so we all benefit from working with someone new. The student brings fresh ideas, excellent education, the latest management models/frameworks – all this goes a long way to improve motivation as it’s invariably a refreshing experience to work with one of these guys.

A bit about the knowledge, aptitude and personal skills about the students

The students have all been excellent. There’s something very special about Cranfield. Each year the time it takes the students to understand the project, our business model and make a positive contribution to our business is minimal.

A key thing we want to teach is the importance of humility. The students are asked to present their findings to the team and our clients (if applicable) and use their skills to compete for resources within our business. This often means that they have to consider and make judgement on the ‘real world experience’ of the cultural and political forces within our business and at our stakeholders. They are treated no differently as a member of the senior team.

What has been your experience of working with Cranfield in arranging the internship, support during the internship and aftercare?

As most things at Cranfield the dedication and support of the staff is second to none. The process of screening, selection and induction has been well managed. We’ve met with the students well in advance of the start of the internship

After the internship has finished I’ve been invited to spend time at Cranfield with the students to share the experience of internships and help to improve further upon the service for next year’s intake.