In our last post, we shared the first part of a Q&A session between our 2017 summer interns and Funding Societies Co-Founder & CEO Kelvin Teo. Here is the second and concluding post, where our interns share lessons learned and advice for those who will embark on FinTech internships.
What were your most memorable moments during your internship?
Sherman: Definitely the karaoke session during the company retreat! I had a really great time with the entire company (including our Malaysian colleagues) unwinding and playing hard after an extended period of crazy work. It was also funny seeing our bosses doing the Macarena & Gangnam Style dance.
Clarissa: The retreat to Johor Bahru. It was a very distinct experience compared to the daily activities in the office. I enjoyed my time there as I got to know the people in FS more. The karaoke session is definitely the most memorable event in the whole course of the retreat.
Victor: I recall all the nights our team spent together watching Game of Thrones. It’s really cool that the team stays back after work for dinner and to watch TV together. Fun fact: the company even has a Slack channel dedicated to discussing.
Kelvin: It’s a joy to see our team, interns or full-timers alike, growing and achieving amazing things together. I remember Clarissa from tech and Sherman from customer experience huddled together at a tiny table for a flagship project, without prompting and without worldly concerns, just doing good work for our customers. Seeing our values passed to the next generation, that’s memorable.
What have you learned that you can apply in school or life?
Sherman: My biggest lesson was to see events and tasks in a holistic manner, to analyse their impact on other functions as well as the organisation, and to seek collaborations with other teams to ensure project success.
Clarissa: As an Information Systems student, I’ve always strived to improve my technical skills and this internship has given me insights on how IT projects solve real business problems. I got to run a flagship project with Sherman and was given freedom to explore various possibilities of executing the project. I was inspired by the leadership in FS, the team is gifted yet very kind and helpful.
Victor: My biggest takeaway is the need to start broadening my scope and venture into skills beyond my own field. Especially in a startup, you might be called upon to do a task that would require a skill set that is different from what you learn in school. For instance, I’ve witnessed how basic coding skills can help accomplish certain tasks more efficiently. I remember Kelvin sharing about building up your “T-Model”, a framework that emphasizes the need to learn as many things as possible but also ensuring that you have a unique specialization to set yourself apart from others.
Martin: Grit and resourcefulness. You need to think through every route you can think of to complete a task fast and to persist if things don’t work out. Also, never stop learning outside your field.
Eugene: Technically I’m already a graduate, so I’d say adaptability. The dynamism and pace in the workplace far exceeds that of school life, especially in a startup like Funding Societies. It’s great to learn how to thrive in such a charged up environment.
Advice for future interns?
Sherman: Be a sponge and absorb as much as you can during your internship. Always be ready to learn and accept challenges even if you think you do not have the skills required. The FS team is always ready to guide and support you along the way
Clarissa: Come with an open mind as you can’t afford to stop learning. That way, you will be able to have a more valuable internship experience.
Victor: Working at a startup requires you to be adaptable. Be ready to learn and work in various functions beyond your capability. But don’t worry, there are plenty of people (even the CEO himself) to gather input and advice from.
Martin: Come in with an open mind. Be prepared to accelerate your learning, because the learning curve will be steep. Talk to everyone, especially someone from a function you don’t know much about. Ask, ask, ask; but also ask the right questions – questions you cannot find the answers for in Google. If your reaction to topics like UI/UX or Software Engineering is “eeeh, so difficult”, then FS is not the place.
Eugene: Don’t be choosy about what you do, there’s no place for picking and choosing in a startup. Nobody can silo themselves off as just “Business Development” or “Tech”, everybody has to synergize with each other in order for the company to thrive. If this means doing something outside of your own job scope or your initial expectations, just embrace it! It’s another chance to learn.
Kelvin: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the others in speech, in conduct, in values, in faith and in conscience.”
FS in three words —
Sherman: Fun, Spunky, Stimulating
Clarissa: Prospective, Innovative, Flexible
Victor: Resourceful, Efficient, Adaptable
Martin: Brainy, Exciting, Driven
Eugene: Dynamic, Boisterous, Far-Sighted
Kelvin: Bright, Passionate, Motivated