Singapore’s FinTech industry is on the rise. In fact, based on a 2017 Deloitte report, Singapore and London are ranked together as the top FinTech hub in the world. The prominence of FinTech in Singapore has attracted students and educational institutions.
This summer, Funding Societies welcomed a diverse group of interns from various universities in Singapore. To conclude their internship journey with us, we organized a Q&A sharing session between Kelvin Teo, co-founder & CEO of Funding Societies, and our talented 2017 summer interns, full list below:
- Sherman Lim, Singapore Management University (SMU)
- Clarissa Poedjiono, SMU
- Eugene Ng, SMU
- Victor Tan, Singapore Institute of Management – University of London (SIM-UOL)
- Martin Indrawata, National University of Singapore (NUS)
Why intern at a FinTech Startup?
Victor: Like many of my peers, I had wanted to intern at a large company during the summer break. But after reading about how Singapore’s economy is primed for a startup ecosystem, I was certain I wanted to work at a startup. As a finance major, I knew I would have to utilise new financial technologies, such as virtual wallets and crowdfunding, so I wanted to learn what goes on behind the scenes in a FinTech startup.
Clarissa: As a major in Information Systems, I wanted to join a tech firm. After reading about the FinTech disruption in the banking sector, I realised that perhaps the best learning ground for me would be to join a tech startup.
Eugene: Having previously interned at an established financial institution, I learned about how FinTech startups were disrupting various traditional financial sectors. I was impressed with the level of innovation at FinTech startups and I wanted to learn about how FinTech startups use new technologies to transform the banking sector.
How was the job seeking and interview process like?
Sherman: The interview process was very casual and personal. My mentor was more interested about me as a person rather than my previous work experience. Interview questions were also very close to heart.
Martin: I met Ishan (Head of Data Science) during a talk at NUS, who shared about the opportunity. During the interview process, I got to learn more about the team dynamics and leadership of the company. I was heartened that my interviewers asked me things non-related to the job. I felt that was a positive valuation of me as a potential contributor to the company.
Eugene: I got to learn about Funding Societies through a friend of mine who was going to work at Oliver Wyman, who was in turn told about how one Oliver Wyman senior left the company to join Funding Societies. My friend told me the 2 co-founders were from Harvard and consulting backgrounds. It shows the caliber of people who run the company; they hail from some of the best institutions around.
Oddest question during interview?
Sherman: Right at the start of the interview – “Do you have any questions for me?”
Victor: “How would your family describe you?”
Martin: “Why do you think Trump won the elections?”
Eugene: “Don’t you want to spend your holidays travelling instead?” (I did, but I definitely didn’t wanna travel for 4 months straight)
Kelvin: “Are you attached?” (Joining a startup is a family decision. Many of our team members are married, with kids, or even pregnant themselves. We just want to ensure their family understand and support too.)
Has this internship met your expectations?
Sherman: Honestly this internship has exceeded my expectations. We were given full autonomy to initiate and drive projects in the company with the full support of our mentors and teams. I even became an investor on the platform as I’ve seen how detailed the SME assessment is.
Victor: Definitely. I didn’t expect to learn from so many brilliant individuals. The FS team consists of alumni from various local universities and from different disciplines, including NUS, SMU and SIM as well as alumni from Ivy-league universities including Harvard, Stanford and LSE. I had the opportunity to learn vastly different skill sets from the best people.
Martin: Exceeded expectations. The amount of smart and driven people crowded into a 15m by 10m room (old office at Raffles Place), plus my wonderful mentor (Xin Ying) made my 7 weeks there an amazing one.
Eugene: I already had a full time job offer at an established financial institution by the time I applied, so the fact that they’d even be willing to take me exceeded my expectations. They were also willing to let me take on significant and important projects despite my unique situation, so there’s nothing for me to complain about.
Read Part 2 of our Q&A session with our interns, where they talk about lessons learned and give advice for future FinTech interns.