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Nagusha Rachagan: Securing a Job in Australia as a Doctor

by Yen Wei | 28 Apr 2017

Catching this busy man wasn’t easy! The following are snippets from Nagusha and Yen’s phone conversation.   Y:         Tell us a bit about yourself N:         I was in Malaysia for most of my Med School. To sum it up, I spent 2 years in Sunway Monash, another 2 years in Johor Bahru and the compulsory 3 months in Australia. However, I took a gap year after graduating and alternated between KL and Australia afterwards. Y:         What’s a day in Nagusha’s life as a doctor in training? Is it anything like Grey’s Anatomy? N:         As a Medical intern, it’s a lot of meetings with seniors and consultants. We do our rounds with them and get coffee breaks after! I would say I have a pretty good work-life balance for a Doctor. My weekend hours are 7.00 – 9.30pm, though we usually end at 11.30pm on weekdays. The saving grace is that we get a good five day rest if we reach our quota of 76 to 80 hours in two weeks. Y:         Any interesting or memorable stories to share? N:         I have a story, it made my friend cry when I told her! Plenty of feels. I had a cancer patient recently, a lovely motherly lady. Her colon cancer had spread – she couldn’t use the toilet basically. Her two daughters came to visit her everyday and were so invested in their mom’s treatment. They would come to me with all the research they read online. It was incredibly touching to see them, I couldn’t help but became emotionally invested in my patient’s wellbeing too. When I finally relieved her of her pain, she thanked me profusely and told me I had been a great help to her and her family. It was a cool story. Honestly, its the little things that matter. Y:         Share with us the process of your search for a job in Australia? Teach us your ways! N:         Actually, it was a half-hearted process for me at first because Malaysia was home. But I knew the longer I waited in Malaysia, the more likely I wouldn’t leave. In Year 5 of Med School, I only applied to one state (Victoria), but later found out my mom also wanted to stay in Australia. That became one of the biggest pushing factors for me, and I re-applied the following year to every single state in Australia. Also, it is normal to wait a long time in Malaysia for a housemanship (6 to 8 months), so I had enough time to try my luck in Australia. Last year, I flew in and out of Australia a total of three times and stayed for 4 to 5 months each visit. I applied to the smaller towns in Victoria, about 300km away from the city, because I knew my chances were the highest there. That said, it is still a very competitive process. Y:         Did you encounter any challenges? N:         Oh yes, for sure! To give you an idea, there is a total of 900 to 1000 internship positions in Victoria, but most of it will go to Category 1 who are the locals. Only 10 lucky ones out of 130 Monash students will get a spot each year. I knew I was in for a challenge! The amount of calling I did was insane; I would get up at 5 am in Malaysia to make those calls to Australia. When I was there, I would also make sure I went into the Hospital to let them know I was a keen bean. Another thing I did was sending them emails to show how much research I had done, and would be happy to attend the interview if there was any availability. All that effort!   Y:         How long did this whole process take? N:         It took about 10 months after graduating to get this job. After Med School, I took a gap year in 2016 and did a lot of travelling. It was one of my best decisions! In my break, I also did some social work with Pertiwi Kitchen and joined mobile clinics in KL. It was definitely a difficult time, I kept thinking what if all this effort led to nothing. But making an early decision to strive and plan helps a lot!  Y:          Any advice for those looking to work in the medical industry in Australia? N:         The most important tip is to plan early. You should work in that direction as early as you can in your University. Know what points you need for your visa and collect them. Another thing is to study smart, sometimes grades are not everything. Rather, it is about knowing where your strengths lie and maximizing them. Interview scores can make or break your application too. Apply to work in a rural town to increase your chances. Y:         What would you say to someone who’s searching for a job? N:          A lot of it came down to being at the right place, at the right time.   Nagusha with his close-knit family   Inspired and want to hear how others have found a job overseas? Speak to some of our mentors here!  

Mentor of The Week: Khai Yong

by Joel | 19 Dec 2016

NEXT Academy trains world class Junior Developers in Southeast Asia. With programs designed by Industry experts In Silicon Valley and benchmarked against world standards. A mentor at FutureLab, Khai Yong is the Head of Growth at Next Academy. We interviewed him for some insight, and his advice on career development. You have over 4 years of experience in digital marketing, advertising and internet marketing, what can you take away from your 4 years, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned? Let’s see, I think the most important take away is that there is no clear path to becoming a successful marketer. There are many ways to craft a career in the industry, you need to upscale yourself, don’t be afraid to fail. When I first applied to mind valley, I came in with a very unique position, I wrote to them and showed them my portfolio of failed marketing projects. I told them ‘I have failed more than any of your other marketers, but you need people like me who are unafraid of failure. I understood the value of those who experiment a lot and do a lot of things because the learning experience is invaluable.   Do you have any tips for individuals seeking to enter the marketing industry? Tip 1. Educate yourself. Digital marketing is new and you can go by learning in many ways such as digital marketing boot camps, but from my experience I learned more from side projects than I ever did working for someone else. By committing to my own personal enterprises I felt the pain of having to use my own money to try to market products, but what I gained was more than what I had invested. Tip 2. Find good mentors. When I first started out I was lucky enough to have 2 unofficial mentors, my elder brother and his business partner. I started out as a pharmacist and I learned digital marketing from them, I followed the projects and techniques that they did and tried to build on them. Lucky for you guys, you have FutureLab to help you. Tip 3. Be very, very independent. When it comes to building a career, as I mentioned there’s no clear path, you aren’t spoon fed on what to do to become successful. Marketing isn’t a science, you’re literally spending money to try to make money. The better you are at making money the more willing people are to hire you, if you can’t deliver, you won’t get hired. You’re in charge of your own success in digital marketing. If you’re uncomfortable with autonomy in work, then either become more independent or this field isn’t for you. Tip 4. Execute. It’s one thing to consume all the marketing techniques and theory in the world, but it means nothing if you don’t commit to action. There is such a thing as paralysis by analysis, there’s too much to consume, if you think that you want to learn all aspects of something before trying you are going to waste all of your time. Once you think you know enough to try something and experiment, then go and do it. I tell the students I teach ‘doing is the best way to learn, we’ve given you guys a ton of tools, now try’ Tip 5. Be Curious. The last tip I’d like to pass on is be curious, ask questions, why did they do a webinar this way? What works about it? What doesn’t? Remember that success leaves clues, It’s very important to observe successful marketers, and successful marketing techniques. Why reinvent the wheel when you can just make it better, observe, then model their communication methods and funnels. Remember, doing, is the best way to learn, if you try it out you can see results much faster yourself and you can build on it.   You mentioned that you started off as a pharmacist, how did that transition into becoming a marketer? I enjoyed being a pharmacist, I felt like I was impacting people’s lives in a positive way one at a time. But, I needed a vehicle that could affect more; I saw that opportunity in online marketing. I was amazed by how people were making a living by creating digital businesses, and that intrigued me a lot, If I could do that I wouldn’t be confined to a 9-5 job. So I spent a lot of nights doing the tips I mentioned earlier. So what was it like taking a leap of faith into another industry? That’s a misconception, I didn’t take a leap of faith. It took me 3 years to actually quit. You see pharmacists have to work a number of years before being able to qualify for a license that allows for work in a private setting. Even though I wanted to quit I told myself that I would wait for my license, and that would take 3 years, but if I still had the drive and passion to pursue marketing than I would do it. But I had to make sure I had a safety net in case it wasn’t for me. So could you share what the biggest challenge in switching industries was? The mental barrier “I had been a pharmacist for so long, what would my parents think? What would my friends think? What if I fail? What if I leave my career and suck at it?” these were all questions that I kept asking myself. “Am I good enough? I have no formal education in marketing and I learned everything myself. Who would take me?” But like I said, I came into mind valley with a very unique position. Because I did things, and showed I wasn’t afraid of failure. What could you tell yourself, or is there anything you would do differently? I have no regrets, I think everything happens for a reason, I went through an entire cycle, education, into a pharmacy career. And because of that I am where I am today. I cannot say I wouldn’t be a marketer if I wasn’t a pharmacist, there’s still a long way to go, and I’m looking forward to all of it.   I’d like to emphasize the importance of a “doing” culture. The breakthrough happens when you actually immerse yourself in doing what you want to be doing, because the learning experience is invaluable. You spend thousands on a degree and come out with a mediocre job, but marketing is online and you are free to experiment. This is the real world, it isn’t theory, you can do it, you just have to start.

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FutureLab Interviews: Francesca Chia, CEO and Co-Founder of

by Neekita Patel | 11 Apr 2017

Following are excerpts from an exclusive FutureLab interview with Byron Tan and Francesca Chia, CEO and Co-Founder of B: Tell us about yourself? F: My name is Francesca, I’m 28 years old and I run a platform called GoGet – a service platform for errands. We can do food delivery to document dispatch to even buying balloons and flyering for business. So our technology connects you to an individual that’s trusted, in the area, called a GoGetter, and they help you do the task for a fee. We are fundamentally anchored on this ability to grow the labour market in a flexible way where individuals don’t really need a 9 to 5 job but can grab jobs as and when they are available. So essentially what Uber does for rides, what AirBnB does for accommodation, GoGet does for labour. B: Why are you a mentor on FutureLab? F: Being a mentor to me is about trying to reach out to the community & being able to just connect more with people who want another person as a listening or a thought partner. I don’t think I have more knowledge or more advice about certain things, I think it’s just a great opportunity for us to be another thought partner to the mentee, and to be able to help them work through their problems because maybe we have tried to solve similar problems in the past. B: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to all the mentees out there? F: Get exposed to as many different things – do 10 different internships and make them extremely different. One thing that I did not do as much and learned really late was that there are loads of different professions and opportunities in the world. There’s a job for almost everything (sometimes ones that I didn’t even know existed!)  To be able to see the wide variety of opportunities you can get is so important because you can probably make a better decision. So much of what we do stems from what we’re exposed to – so if you’re exposed to more things, it’s easier to find out what your passion is, what excites you the most B: Did you ever have a mentor? F: I do, I had loads of mentors all the time. I’ve always had mentors, even in high school and university, I had people I looked up to and asked for help. But even for GoGet, we have mentors, from business mentors, tech mentors to even just ‘people mentors’. We have Arzumy from KFit for example. I also have ‘softer’ mentors for things like improving my leadership skills. B: Name one of the major challenge you faced and how you overcame it? F: There are so many challenges! GoGet is definitely the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced, and it’s still a challenge – I have not overcome it yet, I’m still working on it! How I do get by day to day? I lean on my team, I have a really good team that helps me go through solving problems. The other aspect is having a good work-life balance because if you’re not healthy, you can’t make decisions as healthily as well. Also, ask as many questions as you can! To overcome a lot of problems we’ve had at GoGet, I’ve just picked up the phone and asked a friend, or anyone, “how do you do this?” And it really helps. B: What is one tip you’d give to those looking to increase productivity? F: Use GoGet! I changed my lifestyle because of GoGet- there are things that I know I want to spend my time on & things that I just decide a GoGetter will do for me. The other aspect is I calendarize everything – not just meetings but also personal things. So if I need to go to the gym, it’s in my calendar. This means that people who want to do a meeting with me, they’ll see the calendar is blocked out. It allows me to say no to things & keep my personal life. B: What do you do in your free time? F:  I play with my dogs!!! I also bake, and watch sitcoms. Netflix is so bad for me! I recently just watched Designated Survivor, which is super cool! It’s a series about the POTUS. Capitol Hill gets bombed, there are no surviving Congressmen and the designated survivor is the one that if everyone dies, becomes President. I recommend it! B: If you could have any one superpower, what would it be? F: I’ve always wanted teleportation! I want to be in many places at the same time. I want to wake up and have breakfast in Paris, and then go to New York for lunch and work in Malaysia. For dinner, I’ll go to Japan! B: A motto you live by? F: Life can turn around by 180 degrees at any point of time. So make sure you live your life to the fullest & don’t regret things. Tomorrow may not be, or things can drastically change. You don’t want to take anything for granted. B: Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you like to have dinner with and why? F: That’s a tough one. I have a few. I’ve never met my grandparents because they passed away when I was really young so I’d love to meet at least one of them. I’d love to also have dinner with Jacqueline Novogratz, the author of the Blue Sweater – I really like that book. It’s about the social enterprise & how you can balance social impact with profitability at the same time. Another weird one, is to meet a 3 year old me! I really want to see how I was at 3 years old because I have a niece who’s 3 and she’s adorable, I always wonder what it would be like to play with a younger me!       Inspired? Would like to speak with Francesca? Click here!

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Getting Work Experience While Studying: Fruitful For Future Career Prospects

by Christeen Akkarawatte | 20 Mar 2018

I have started working while studying during my second year. Although it has taken me some time to learn how to juggle studies and work, I can say I am slowly getting the hang of it. I can confirm that getting work experience while studying has really benefited me. It ’s especially beneficial to gain experience in the field that you’re interested in. The work life also won’t be much of a shock for you once you’ve graduated. It’s important to get some on-the-job experience as not everything you learn from university will help you in the ‘real world’. Getting work experience while studying helps you learn new skills and refine existing ones Sure, you learn the basics from university – like researching for essays, editing for a video or radio package, or simply working on a report. However, if you gain work experience, what you learn from university and vice versa, tend to complement each other. All the researching that I have been doing for my studies has helped me with my internship. It did provide the basic skills but it helped me learn to work at a faster pace. Even working with difficult groupmates help you build a tough skin for those difficult clients. Another benefit is you have more opportunities to social learn at work, whether it’s through your colleagues or bosses. (Check out my article on social learning here). Gain work relationships and networking opportunities Internships, part-time jobs, or maybe a one-off job will help you build your contacts. During my first week of internship, my bosses let me join them for a networking event. I got to exchange my business card with various people in the Media or Public Relations (PR) industry. It has given me a jumpstart to building work relationships that will eventually be useful for them, as well as myself. Your bosses could potentially be your mentors as well (check out my article on the value of mentors here). You get to learn from them on a daily basis as their knowledge is basically a goldmine for us newbies. I was encouraged to apply for FutureLab’s Campus Writer program by my boss. Such opportunities help you to further improve your skills. Gives an idea of what you might want to pursue after you graduate If you’re still confused at what you’d like to do once you’ve graduated, getting work experience while studying will help clear the path for you. Maybe you’d like to see how an advertising company works, or test out working for an NGO. Your curiosity may help you find what you may really like to do on a daily basis. I was very curious about the PR industry prior to my internship, and just during the span of three months, I learnt so much. Improve time management skills and set your priorities Obviously, as a student, you’re aware that your studies are important. Working will help you manage your time better, and even get you to become more focused. The key is to balance your time. I currently experience that first hand. Although I have at least three assignment deadlines every other week, I make sure I plan everything in advance. I do this to avoid rushing assignments as well not jeopardise my job. However, if you do find yourself losing focus in studies, make sure you have a sit-down with your boss, to adjust your schedule. Or maybe stick to working during the holidays if you don’t want to take the risk. These are just a few beneficial reasons as to why working while studying is important. Its benefits are endless as it sets your path for your career. I’m not saying you must work while studying. Maybe try dedicating your long holiday to gain some work experience. It doesn’t always have to be a paid job; volunteer work will be just as fruitful. Have you worked or currently work while studying? Share your experiences in the comments below! For those that are currently working on their degree part-time while working, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Check out this article for some tips (if you haven’t done some research already).   Would you like to be a part of an empowering community that will help you take charge of your career goals? Join our community here! Written by:   Christeen Akkarawatte.  A final year student at Monash University, majoring in Communications and Global Studies. She is also a FutureLab Campus Writer, a program aimed at enabling university students to begin writing and growing their own active communities on FutureLab alongside many influential mentors.

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