Providing you the latest industry insights and updates.
by Christeen Akkarawatte | 15 Mar 2018
Most of us are used to learning in a structured format. Meaning, the learning process is one way. In contrast, social learning is simply the process of learning from each other. Plus, you get to share your own ideas. Those who are learning professionals are familiar with this concept. However, others (like myself), never really realised that such a concept does exist; despite the fact that we do social learn on a daily basis. Social learning can be found online through social media networks, and also offline such as in conferences, group assignments, or even during a cup of coffee. Another great platform that involves social learning is FutureLab. You find people from around the world, connect and share ideas/knowledge with each other, forming a ‘knowledge centre’. Now, why is social learning beneficial? Social learning improves communication among one another Since you’re learning as a team, it helps improve your communication skills. You learn how to explain different ideas to your colleagues in an easier way. If you’re shy to speak to too many people at once, you can always start off with a friend. Promotes teamwork / collaborative work Social learning not only helps improve communication skills but also encourage more collaborative work. You are more likely to team up with your colleagues to organise a social learning experience for your company. This helps you learn to work together as a team, coming up with a fun interactive itinerary. Promotes constructivism In simple words, constructivism is where learning is active and learners are also teachers. From my understanding, an individual constructs their own understanding of a topic, by compiling different existing ideas, which is then shared with peers/colleagues. Therefore, social learning is a great way to encourage constructivism (learn more about constructivism from here). Could be your chance to train yourself to be a mentor Social learning is a great opportunity to train yourself to be a mentor. You share your own thoughts and ideas on an issue or task. Especially if it is within your level of expertise, you can teach your peers/colleagues and you will, in turn, receive knowledge. (To learn more about why being a mentor is important, click here) Social learning will help spice up the interactivity in your workplace. All the more reason to add it to your training sessions. What do you think about social learning? Do you think it is important an important approach to learning? Voice out your ideas in the comment section below. To experience social learning, join the FutureLab 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.
by Christeen Akkarawatte | 09 Mar 2018
Growing up is hard, first you have to go through primary school, high school, get those grades to help you get into university. And then once you’re done with university, you have got to find yourself a job. Once you graduate, you begin to realise that you’re on your own. I am currently in my final year of university, and I am as confused as ever. I do have a plan but I always ask myself, do I really want that? Here’s where a mentor comes in. Even though ‘mentor’ is a rather formal word, but it’s not always a formal relationship. That person(s) could be your friend, your parent, sibling or lecturer. Sometimes, at times like this, you need someone to give you encouragement, to help push you; someone who knows how you are, and understands your current situation. When you come to think of it, why is having a mentor, or better yet, mentors, so important and valuable? A mentor is always there to push you to your limits They know the potential you have within you, even when you’re suffering from a creative block or a personal situation. They help motivate you to do better and even just knowing that they will always be there to step you through anything that you’re having trouble with, will help you keep moving forward. Mentors also help provide a different perspective, regardless of their age and background. It’s the experience that counts and it’s their experience that will help you learn and achieve success. Professionally, mentors expand your network, which benefits your career opportunities. However, a mentor is not always an expert, but they are always there to help you out regardless. We cannot always be spoon-fed by our mentors Mentors are there to only advice you, it is you in the end, making the decisions. We cannot expect our mentors to always be there to make decisions for us. You begin to learn, only when you make decisions yourself. And this will also help you think of the repercussions that could occur as well. But don’t worry, I’m sure your mentor will be right by your side. Maintaining a relationship with your mentor(s) is also very important Yes, over time you do get busy with work but making the time to catch up with the mentor(s) that has helped you during the crucial parts of your career / life is important. I’m sure your mentor would appreciate it if you do give that call / email once in a while to show that you still appreciate the work they have put for you and you continue to make them proud. Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, did it remind you of your mentor(s) or has it inspired you to be one? Would you like to find a mentor or become one? Click here! Written by: Christeen Akkarwatte. 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.
by Neekita Patel | 02 Mar 2018
1.Basic mentorship: Develop professionally and experience personal growth by connecting with our mentor community of over 400 mentors covering 12 countries who will support, teach and inspire you. Whether you are a student, young professional or aspiring entrepreneur, our mentors can help you achieve your goals through various ways; helping you through job applications, providing industry insights and validating your startup ideas. Our mentors are in an ideal position to help you figure out what is most important for your career ambition and what you can do to get there. Our mentorship service is also a great way to get specific support on a short-term basis, such as a project which stretches your skills, or the transition to a new job. Have a look at our range of mentors that can help here! 2. Questions: FutureLab now has a question & answer feature! This enables users to post a question, tag a mentor or an industry – and get their question answered by informed, seasoned experts! This feature is particularly useful for those shy users who aren’t sure which mentors they would like to connect with yet. They can use this questions feature as a way to test the waters with our pool of mentors and follow up on their replies via a mentoring booking session! Post a question to mentors and start getting answers here! 3. Portal: Our latest development, an online system that allows you to build your very own social learning community. It is available to be used by universities, companies, organisations and even individuals. Organisations such as LeanIn Malaysia, Finco, MaGIC and Thrive are currently using it to run their own mentoring initiatives. Find out about how we can support your program here! 4. Community events: We believe that shared events are vital for community development, hence we organise numerous offline events as opportunities to build stronger relationships with fellow community members. The event we host range from casual networking events, talks, personalise coffee sessions with mentors to speed mentoring.
by FutureLab | 22 Feb 2018
After working for thirty years with Oil and Gas industry, I had a planned exit out of familiar corporate environment by end 2016. The immediate thing I wanted to do was to enjoy a good break before jumping in to next action. I tried a couple of things before I started my own consulting company (www.mentorpalconsultancy.com) that serves as a platform for Executive Coaching, Management Consultancy and Training. The intent of this write up is to share my reflections and experience during this journey. In my opinion, a good break should be sufficient enough for a person to disengage completely from routine tasks, conversations, engagements, familiar people dynamics thereby helping the person to slow down, providing ample opportunity to have a high-quality reflection. This is a golden period which, if utilized properly brings transformation in an individual and helps them to gain tremendous insights on perceived priorities, fears and challenges, society-imposed measure of success etc and helps to tap on native hidden strengths, wisdom and gain new perspectives in life. All good things have an expiry date and I naturally reached a stage of having to take a break from break. It was tempting to get back to a familiar corporate setting and continue doing what I used to do in a different environment and label it as a change. However, my self-enquiry and exploration clearly pointed me to move to a stage where I will be able to give back to society, support business leaders by listening to them and asking questions that make them stop and think, sharing my experience on what worked and most importantly learning from my mistakes ( in simple words Executive Coaching), supporting young talents to have an early head start by being available as a mentor & coach. The Journey 1.Start speaking the language which everyone understands Sounds simple and basic? Think again, Working for a big organisation invariably augments your vocabulary when multiple 3 , 4 or 5 letter acronyms are taken for granted as universally understood terms. I will name a few acronyms from my earlier place of work to give a feel. IDP, CEP, IPF, BPF, GPA, GTKY to name a few. First thing to do when you are out in the world outside your corporate cocoon, is to start using normal language that is universally understood. 2.Redefine “Network” While in a corporate environment, most of the network one develops will be internal, as getting connected and knowing the right person is extremely important for getting noticed, advancing in one’s career etc. Once you are out of this perceived corporate universe, you realize that the world is much bigger and those who we thought as most important person to network is not of much relevance in the world outside the cocoon. Build network outside your work and company circle. The more diverse the network, the better. In my case, the decision to be an entrepreneur is also accompanied by change in geography as I set my company in India after being an expatriate for 22 years. The strong relationship that I developed during my university days and early part of my career came to my immediate support. I am grateful for having friends who readily welcomed me in to their business world and helped me to build the network. 3.Gain Certification You might have been born and say that you exist. But, there are occasions when people /system will look for a piece of paper (Birth Certificate) to prove that you exist. Same goes for certification of professional experience. I went ahead and got certified as a Project Management Professional and signed up for a certification as a professional Executive Coach 4.Develop a solid Business Plan With a good amount of time in hand to plan, I developed a business plan that helped me to get ideas in head get transferred to a piece of paper and improvise it on a continual basis. Life gets interesting with you playing Finance Manager, Business Development Manager, Project Manager, Marketing Manager and Sales Manager and Contracts Manager, IT Manager at this stage. Culmination of the above is a complete business that has mapped the journey for starting up, running, stabilizing and growing over the next few years. 5.Work as Volunteer (Optional) I worked for an NGO in Malaysia called Nation Organisation for Dyslexia Malaysia ( http://nodmalaysia.org/) , as a volunteer for Project Management Institute Malaysia -PMIMY ( https://pmi.org.my/) and as a mentor for Futurelab (https://futurelab.my/) which gave me good insights on non-profit ways of conducting business , running an organisation and associated stakeholder and people dynamics. This experience is important, if the field of consultancy that you choose require significant pro bono work and for you to orient and act in truly “Giving Back” to the society mode. I hope this is helpful for someone who is thinking along the lines of the quote on the top ” The purpose of life is the life of Purpose” by Robin Sharma. Written by: Vijayakumar, a FutureLab mentor and Founder at MentorPal Consultancy; a Management Consultancy and Learning company based in Chennai, India.
by Supahands | 22 Feb 2018
The concept of “sharing” has been embedded within us ever since we were born. From parents teaching children that they should always share their toys, to forming teams in school to work on assignments, and recruiters looking for the ideal candidate that’s as much a team player as he or she is an independent learner. So when it came to business, it was only in due time that the term “sharing economy” became one of the biggest buzzwords of the past 5 years. Writers have been quick to prove that the sharing economy does nothing for productivity and growth. But to those naysayers, we say “Hold on a second!” because here are 3 examples on how businesses can benefit from the sharing economy. Talent sourcing Hiring woes. We all have them and we all dread the amount of time it takes to recruit, train and manage a new addition to the team. Most companies spend at least a month trying to fill up a single role, regardless of seniority or department. Then, freelancing platforms like Freelancer and Upwork made it more accessible for businesses or individuals to find the right person with the skills and track record who can execute work remotely. For most, time equals money. So, time not spent on going through countless applications and interviews means time spent executing more meaningful work that directly impact that strategic goals of a business. The need for businesses to go digital in the 21st century also means that many companies are suddenly faced with an influx of large volumes of raw, and often messy data. At this point, they are then faced with a choice – either hire an in-house team to clean and filter the data to make it useable or crowdsource a remote team of workers to execute the work. Hiring an in-house team would mean facing the same recruitment issues such as cost and time. Opt for the latter, and you may have to deal with lapses in communication as instructions are relayed virtually. But all is not doom and gloom in the remote talent world as companies like Supahands help businesses leverage off the diversity, scalability, combined industry experience and flexibility that remote workers typically have, in order to guarantee almost round-the-clock execution of work. Co-Working Spaces WeWork Europe Every major city in the world now has at least one co-working space filled with companies of all sizes. As they say, “your network is your net worth”. So now, early-stage startups and small factions of large multinational corporations can gather in the same space and leverage off each other’s network and expertise. For B2B companies, working out of a co-working space almost guarantees you a meeting with at least one other company who may end up being a client. Large MNCs also get to experience first-hand the latest tech and innovation that takes place in a co-working space. Most co-working spaces are also designed to encourage such interaction between their tenants. Many are equipped with a very impressive set up that includes meeting rooms, private booths and communal activities, allowing companies to run their day-to-day operations seamlessly. As a testament to the true potential of how co-working spaces can change the way businesses of different sizes can function and mingle, one needs to look no further than at what WeWork has achieved. With over 200 spaces in 20 countries under the WeWork brand, they are estimating a $2b revenue in 2018 alone. Crowdfunding Going through funding rounds with venture capitals or angel investors can be an extremely tedious and time-consuming process. It is not just about raising enough money to grow a company, but also about finding the right people to grow your company with you. Some business models may not even be “attractive” enough to investors to even consider raising funds with. When that fails, there’s always crowdfunding. You only have to take a look at projects that came into fruition thanks to crowdfunding in order to feel the sheer impact a sharing economy can have on businesses. Crowdfunding platforms have been responsible for the launch of namely games and wearable tech projects such as the iconic Oculus Rift and the Veronica Mars movie. However, it is important to be aware of the different types of crowdfunding platforms that are available. If you’re looking to raise funds to build and launch a consumer-friendly product, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are your best bets, but you’ll have to be prepared for some tough competition. Looking to raise funds to launch your company in exchange for shares? You’ll want to look for equity crowdfunding platforms such as Crowdo and Seedrs. Doing what is naturally human Regardless of cultural or religious background, the concept of “sharing” is something that every individual around the world has been taught at some point in their lives. The idea of a mutually beneficial relationship is not a brand new concept – it has just been adapted to the way businesses progress in this current technological landscape. So, a sharing economy seems like a natural progression of how businesses can thrive. Thus, why would we avoid doing that which is naturally human of us to do? Supahands is a technology company that provides business processing services with specialties in content moderation and database management. Supported by our 2000+ strong remote workforce and its slew of innovative tech platforms, this Kuala Lumpur based company has made it effortless for tech-driven companies around the world to scale their business rapidly. Greg Meehan, our Head of Sales, is also a mentor on FutureLab. You can get in touch with him via the FutureLab platform here.
by Charis | 22 Feb 2018
Ezwan Ismail has 13 years of experience as an Engineer in the pharmaceutical industry. Following are excerpts from a FutureLab Campus Hero interview with Ezwan Ismail, Engineering Manager at CCM Duopharma Biotech Berhad CH: Tell us about yourself Ezwan: My name is Ezwan Ismail and I graduated as a Mechanical Engineering student from Multimedia University, Malacca campus. So far I have been working in the Pharmaceutical Industry and currently I am an Engineering Manager at CCM Duopharma Biotech Berhad, the largest pharmaceutical company in Malaysia. Currently, I have a son who just turned 4 this year and during my free time I go for mountain biking and indoor cycling with my friends. I was from Malacca and currently I am now based in Bangi. CH: What interests you to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering? Ezwan: It is actually a common enigma for students, having not decided firmly where to move forward upon acquiring a degree. When I was a student in high school, I used to have an interest in biology but I also discovered that I am able to grasp concepts or understanding anything ‘mechanically’ very well. Understanding the versatility and diversity of possible industries I could venture into with engineering, I finally chose to major in Mechanical Engineering. CH: What are the important skills you developed as a mechanical engineering student that is relevant for any job? Ezwan: Skills were some attributes I developed when I was a student. However the two important skills I believe one should possess are being adaptable and listening skills. Being adaptable is important for my major as we are bound to take up tough subjects- I observed and learnt that I may need to change my approach as I learnt various subjects and it involves a lot of extra reading and discussions. There are times I may need to sit back and visualize to grasp concepts but some also seemed easy to comprehend and later on as my working career progressed, those subjects that I could easily comprehend are those things I love doing while working. A typical example of this is operations management which I have learnt and right now I love doing. Secondly, listening skill. Listening skill is the start to doing things efficiently. It is vital for someone to capitalize in communication, perhaps on an effective manner- a sidekick to developing intuition in acquiring valuable experience. Ezwan believes that being adaptable and having good listening skills are two attributes that could be applied to any job CH: What are the career pathways you may have as a Mechanical Engineering graduate? Ezwan: To be honest I like to think that for Mechanical Engineers, thepossibilities are almost endless. They have a lot of options- from project management, consulting firms, constructions, manufacturing plants to design and development firms. The choices are unlimited as what the Mechanical Engineering students learn are very diverse. CH: With such diverse career pathways, what are the attitudes one could have as an Engineer to succeed? Ezwan: The three core attitudes an Engineer could have to succeed are having growth mindset, being meticulous and understanding process flow. Growth mindset with the combination of hard-work, thinking and realizing growth can lead you to become a recognized talent within an organization or propel you far ahead in your career. Else, you would be a mediocre. As an Engineer, it is important to be meticulous as you you are expected to avoid errors. Thus being meticulous sets you apart as having attention to details is essential as an Engineer. Lastly, to succeed, it is important to understand process flow, not necessarily any engineering system process flows, but also others. Many would feel it is the concept of operating a machine, but it is more to knowing where is the start, middle and end of any matters or issue. Thus it is important to know the process flow by identifying the origin of an issue as Engineers are usually known to be problem-solvers. To know the start, middle and end helps an Engineer to be in control of an issue once assigned or entrusted to resolve it. Some guiding questions would be by asking yourself, “where is the start? Where does this issue lead me to?” CH: Understanding those three core attitudes being so important, would you tell me briefly about a day of your working life as an Engineering Manager? Ezwan: On a typical day, I start work punctually at 8am where the Engineering Department will have standing meeting to recap or resolve issues from previous night or day, follow up on open issues and to share information cascaded down from senior management level to subordinates and this will last up to 8.30am. About 9am we will have Operations Team meeting to resolve issues related to meeting monthly output or target. It was carried out to coordinate with other departments to resolve issues which require consensus or coordination. This meeting usually lasts up to 40 minutes maximum. After that it will be managing projects, assignments related to tightening compliance and ensuring smooth departmental operations, especially in rendering the best service to our clients as compliance and profit is equally important. These available times are also used to attend meetings and discussions as well as ensure coordination. For my work communication is very crucial as I have to constantly communicate from morning until night so that every issue are well attended. As an Engineering Manager one thing that is vital is to always follow up and it taught me to manage my time effectively. We also have visitations for visitors to the factory. Previously we had students from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia visiting the factory. Apart from my work, I held other roles such as Halal Committee Site Head, Integrity Champion and Company Sports Club committee member. I also coach talents within my department so that they become a better leader. My company recognizes talent and all of us will do the best as we could while adhering to the core values of PETIRR in our company. *PETIRR-Passion, Excellence, Teamwork, Integrity, Responsible, Respect. CH: Would you share with us 3 words to describe your work as an Engineering Manager at a pharmaceutical company and why? The 3 words that describe my work as a pharmaceutical industry Engineer are: 1) Charitable- My profession in this field makes me a part of a charitable cause for in my company, we strive to produce goods which are safe, efficacious and high quality for patients to consume and we do not compromise on CGMP and Halal issues. 2) Satisfying- My current work is very satisfying for being in the right company which recognise talents, venturing into new business for sustainability and having impactful Core Values (PETIRR) that I really hold onto makes me fulfilled in the things I do daily in my work. 3) Dynamic- My work requires me to tackle different issues daily and it is very exciting and challenging. If I am being exposed to the same routine, things will get boring for me. Ezwan opined that being able to work in a team is very important especially when one starts working. CH: How would you describe your job scope and overall career progression in Engineering? Ezwan: From a very objective note, my scope is about transparency and mitigating potential risks to our clients, being it internal or external ones, both from Engineering and even Operations point of view. However if it is focused on career progression then it is very team-centric. It could be summed up in a form of a phrase “There’s no I in team”. Opportunities naturally would be given but I want to ensure I can function in a team and do my part to drive the company to new heights. Career progression is how this would motivate my team and from there opportunity arises and people will see and recognize your talent. CH: If you have any advice for the Engineering students out there, what would it be? Ezwan: My advice would be asking yourself this, “Do you know what you want to do after graduating?”. I asked many practical students and interns where vast majority could not answer the question assuringly. Do not be surprised that it may take days, weeks, months or even years to answer this but it must be answered, assuringly, before graduating. Be thorough though it may time to answer the question. I recommend to do personality tests to understand your personality. Understanding humans are important too as there is a lot of personality out there and only then you will know how to be adaptable and accommodating by wearing the right hats for suitable situation. CH: With the constant development of technology, what is your outlook on Engineering fields for the future and how can Engineers up-skill themselves? Ezwan: I would expect that the future of Engineering fields to be heavily cross functional yet lean, hence quite sophisticated but can be quite a common sight. As this may sound counter intuitive, an Engineer should up-skill more in the areas of people skill. In my perspective, no matter how things change, it is the human touch that is essential to turn issues into achievements, to drive mission into milestones, to turn legacy into legendary in spite of the future outlook that I have envisioned for Engineering fields. Would you like to speak with Ezwan? Click here to connect with him!
by FutureLab | 15 Feb 2018
Finding a mentor is one of the best investments you can make in yourself and your career. Whether you are an entrepreneur or a goal-oriented professional, you need advice from someone who has already been where you are headed. A good mentor can help break psychological barriers when starting a new company, propel your career or simply challenge and inspire you. Here are 5 reasons why you should get a mentor: 1. Mentors break psychological barriers If you are starting your career or a fresh graduate who has no idea what you want to do or progress in the career that you are currently in, a mentor will help you realise your full potential and guide you along the way. Your mentor will give you a much-needed sense of direction. You can also discuss your worries about your career with your mentor, and he or she will lay down a plan that is most suited for you and your skills, showing you the big picture along the way. 2. Mentors educate you with ”what” and “how” With a mentor you are learning from someone who has already arrived at where you want to be. They know exactly what it takes to get there and what sacrifices need to be made. You also have the rare opportunity to see what it would be like to be in the shoes you want to be in. By having a mentor who is where you want to end up, you can also see first hand what their day to day experience is. This is extremely helpful in figuring out if you really want to go down that path. A great mentor will share their experience with you to help you achieve your goal in the best possible way they know how. 3. Mentor helps assess your strengths and weaknesses A good mentor can help you gain insights into your unique talents. He/she will spot your weaknesses and make suggestions on how to improve them. A mentor not only guides you to the right path, but also molds you and provides you resources and links for new ideas. After all, talent can only be honed when steered in the right direction. 4. Mentor have contacts Mentors have some incredible contacts. Especially if they are in the industry you want to get yourself into. Unfortunately, the world we live in is who you know and not what you know. The other advantage is efficiency, you can spend years at networking events to build a contact list or you can build a strong relationship with an extremely trusted individual who has all the contacts you need. Their word will get you further in the door than any networking event. 5. Mentors take you on a journey to become a mentor Under a good mentor not only do you discover your true potential, but also the enhanced knowledge you gain through observation can help you take a shift from a mentee to a mentor. It gives you the opportunity to go the extra mile for others and provide both personal and professional enrichment. While reading the above pointers, if it ever occurred that you too need a trusted relationship, a meaningful commitment that helps you become the person you want to be, then you must consider finding a mentor. You don’t have to look too far, FutureLab enables you to get connected with mentors who have already made it to your dream destination. This mentor and mentee relationship helps in spreading knowledge about careers and help you bag your own dream career. If you have already taken the first step towards your dream career, then it’s time you make a difference to someone else’s life by sharing your experiences and learnings with the one’s in need. Are you looking for a mentor? Click here to have a look at all our mentors!
by ashley | 29 Jan 2018
We all have encountered days where all your energy is just sucked right out of you or that you are just not in the mood to do anything other than Netflix and chill. No matter how un-happening our days get, sometimes we could be moving forward aimlessly trying to get one thing done after another without the intention of being your most productive self. Even though you are competent, efficient, and smart, you can still be tempted to procrastinate and dread completing a necessary task. We all like to think that we are waiting for the right time or getting into the mood or vibe, only then, we will hit productivity at its optimum. And although that seems to work sometimes, the last-minute adrenaline rush also causes a lot of stress and restlessness. Not to mention, it can be a mental energy drain. Our day consists of 24 hours. Think of it as 3 8-hour intervals. What is the 3 key things that makes or break a person’s day? It’s whether you have gotten a good night’s sleep, have you eaten well, and have you had blood pumping enough oxygen to your brain? In other words, sleep, eat, and exercise are 3 key essential factors to boosting productivity. The chart shows an example of 3 distinct time intervals: First 8 hours are from 12am to 8am. Lets name this interval Sleep. Second 8 hours are from 8am to 4pm. Lets name this interval Eat. Third 8 hours are from 4pm to 12am. Lets name this interval Exercise. And the cycle repeats itself. Pick one of the following methodology to start it off: You complete the task at the beginning of each interval (12AM, 8AM, 4PM) You do it anytime between the interval (12AM to 8AM, 8AM to 4PM, 4PM to 12AM) You do it +- 2 hours of the beginning interval (10PM to 10AM, 6AM to 6PM, 2PM to 2AM) Once you have established what your intervals are for Sleep, Eat, and Exercise, you can choose which methodology works best for your schedule. Once you have established what your intervals are for Sleep, Eat, and Exercise, you can choose which methodology works best for your schedule. Once that completes you can move on to creating a list of possible Sleep, Eat, and Exercise suggestions in a 3p x 8h matrix. It is up to you to create a new matrix either for every week, month, quarter, or year. It is important to create a routine that your mind is accustomed to so you can automate the sequence and the level of activities that comes after it. Too many changes can cause a decline in energy because your mind needs to keep up to those changes and it would feel like you are always starting over. However, it is advisable to come up with a new matrix when you are starting to dread the current routine and you are beginning to feel like it’s a chore. The matrix keeps you in check but it must be balanced with the right amount of excitement. This way it continues to function as your personalized productivity boost. Share with us your personalized 3p x 8h matrix with the #3p8h and inspire someone to start today! Food for thought Thank you,
by CS Leong | 19 Jan 2018
by FutureLab | 18 Jan 2018
There’s a lot you can do on FutureLab to help you get ahead in your career and find your way in to new opportunities — regularly writing on FutureLab and sharing your experiences and perspective is certainly one of them. It’s a great way to build up your reputation on a topic and get noticed by others in your industry who have similar interests. With this in mind, we are launching our Campus Writer program, enabling university students to begin writing and growing their own active communities on FutureLab alongside many influential mentors. Our Campus Writers operate much like journalists, working with our content team to pitch ideas, write and edit articles, and publish stories on FutureLab. As a FutureLab CampusHero, we also encourage Campus Writers to encourage their peers on campus to write about things that matter to them. This program aims to help Campus Writers communicate and connect with a variety of professionals and unlock everything from internships and job offers to speaking event invites and re-publishing offers from news publications. And today, we’re excited to say we’re accepting applications for our first batch of Campus Writers. To sweeten the deal for this year’s Campus Writer, each student will receive a referral letter from industry leaders, a personal mentor to develop a skillset, network expansion, a platform to grow, quarterly FutureLab credits. Interested? Here’s what we’re looking for: You love creating and finding great content You want to understand how content creation and distribution works at scale You have a deep belief that the student voice matters and want to help bring those perspectives to a wide audience You are ambitious, driven, passionate and collaborative You are deadline-driven and committed to completing tasks If this sounds like a fit, submit an application today! We can’t wait to welcome our very first class of #StudentLeaders!
by Soon Kit | 26 Jan 2018
Wondering whether working in private equity is an awesome career path that enables aspiring young graduates to make a lot of money right out of school? The work itself aside, understand the industry is still of the utmost importance as this is what the truly passionate players in this industry concern the most. Most importantly, getting into this industry is more difficult than other finance fields. This industry is far smaller. Despite most of them do not impose rigid educational requirements, most firms love to hire those graduates who rank highly in their graduating classes or those who have some investment banking experience. People in this field are generally cool and pleasant. Still, what marketable attributes or skills you think you are able to bring to the negotiation table still matter them the most, especially during deal closings. Why? They are numbers driven. What is Private Equity? In layman’s term, private equity firms attract capital from high net worth individuals and institutional investors. They then provide long term, committed share capital to help those businesses grow and succeed. They earn money from the management fees as well as from the carried interests (shares of profits — where the real returns are) from investments. Most of these industrial players will always strategize potential exit routes in their transactions from the start. After all, their ultimate goal is to realize the return on the investment that they’ve promise to their investors after a period of time. It should come as no surprise for you to learn that a PE guy’s decision about whether or not to invest in a company depends very much on the solid exit opportunities they can foresee. Most of these PE houses are smaller than investment banks. You may see the size range of the firms can be from a large investment team of hundreds employees to an only two-man shop. Private equity is an umbrella term for various types of investments in private companies. There are various types of private equity funds based on their respective specialization and purpose. Some of those can be the one you may be interested to join one day. The ones that are much easier to be understood are buyout, venture capital, growth equity based on the company funding life cycle. Is going straight into PE possible? If you are a graduate aiming for junior-level roles in this field, you need to know that most of the boutique firms do not have highly structured recruiting processes compared to other well-established firms in finance services field. In fact, total compensation of a junior analyst in PE may be lower than those in Investment banks. If you’d done a thorough research, you know that the chances to land a job at junior levels in private equity is realistically low as most of the hires are based on the deal experience. How to break into this field? The first step to improve your chance of landing a PE job is to start networking. Begin following all those private equity and investment banking firms through LinkedIn and understand those industrial trends. You need to learn which companies that are currently in fundraising stage as well as the latest update on those portfolio companies of your dream investment firms. Spend time learning technical side and case studies, particularly modelling as you need to know that a lot of bankers and similar industrial practitioners have already been staring at spreadsheet models for years. It’s a cliché, but asking for a volunteer in related events or conferences or apply for an internship in the firm is also a good idea. Be prepared that you may send out copious requests, and only one or two are nice enough to talk to you via email or over the phone. Most of the people you reach out simply won’t reply or you will just get a generic rejection email. It ultimately comes down to what you really desire and your motivation to succeed. What are the key roles as an entry-level staff in PE? At the junior level, the key roles are a combination of deal sourcing and screening for partners. You will also provide direct support or analysis for the deals that the partners are seriously considering. Your degree of involvement into the deal process include due diligence, executing transactions on either the buy side or sell side, etc. Most of your time spent on modelling or producing presentations and documents related to potential investments. There’s less manpower available in smaller firms. Technically speaking, everything from cold call to due diligence to legal framework to closed deal has to be sorted out by the transaction team alone. This can be sometimes mentally stressful when you delve into the realm of the unknown. Soon, you will also be used to the cold emails and cold calls you have made have been ignored during the process. As your work can be extremely varied, strong interpersonal and communication skills are a must. The level of responsibility definitely makes you feel valued when you have the chance to enhance the visibility of the firm and its portfolio companies. Have a backup plan You need to know that you will be coming up against much older players with far more experience. You may find it hard to break into PE directly, try to land internships or graduate roles in advisory or investment banking fields instead. Yet, you may also struggle to get a role in those fields either as those fields are competitive as well. You may also consider corporate development related roles in their portfolio companies, and leverage those valuable skillset and network you have built on to move into private equity. All in all, if you are extremely passionate and are willing to spend hours doing ground work, modelling, cold mails, networking, etc., the career opportunities in this field can be something really exciting, and you should seriously consider. Would you like to learn more about Private Equity? Click here to connect with Andrew Teo, Venture Manager at Tan Chong Group now! Written by: Soon Kit is an associate at a boutique advisory & private equity house, Ingenious Haus Group. He provides direct support to the day-to-day responsibilities of the partners and deal team of the firm in analytical work, strategy and deal structuring.
by Jing Yih | 13 Dec 2017
Following are excerpts from a FutureLab Campus Hero interview with Mr J and Daniel Phang, KYC analyst at J.P Morgan (Malaysia) MRJ: Tell me about yourself DP: I started out as an engineer, but after awhile I did not like it and desperately wanted to get out of the engineering field. Early 2016, I just got out of a slight depression and managed to join Axiata Young CEO Development Programme. A few months later, a friend of mine posted a job opening in our Whatsapp group. I jumped on it and sent her my CV straight away. It was only the next day, I asked her which company was the CV for, and she said J.P. Morgan! I am very fortunate. I went for the interview, and I thought that I would have had failed at the interview, because the Vice President was actually speaking more than me. I thought I lose that opportunity. But 1 week later, J.P. Morgan call me and offered me a job. I was quite surprise .It was only after 6 months, my Vice President revealed the reason why she hired me was because of my enthusiasm, my drive, my willingness to learn, so she knew that my attitude was correct and she knew she can teach me anything and that’s what she wants. My reason of getting out of engineering —- the industry was not right for me. I studied engineering because I love cars. During my college life, I was undecisive and thus asked my mom. She said, “you know what, if you take engineering now and you don’t like it you can always go into business, but if you enter business side straight away, it is very hard for you to go into engineering later in your life”. So, I decide to study engineering first. And now, it was actually quite a struggle working in a bank because of my background as an engineer with no finance background whatsoever. I had to undergo various self learning & training to overcome this disadvantage. It’s a little bit hard to gain creditability when you have not stayed long in a certain area. Now, I am venturing to become a leadership life Coach as well! MRJ: Why did you want to be a mentor at Futurelab? DP: My best friend, Ashley, who is already a mentor in Futurelab, introduced me to become a mentor. At first, I did not want to as I was not really keen and I thought I did not have what it takes, that was one year back. I began to do more training engagements, mentoring with my juniors and peers. At one point, she said that I am actually a very good mentor as I comprehend people well, and able to give very constructive advice. I understand how people think due to my past experiences. I gone through slight depression before and I have had been unemployed for 9 months. So, I understand the pain and difficulties of others. I know how to bring use my experiences to help other people identify their true root problems and potential and she said I am good at that, and therefore I should really try out Futurelab. It was only recently that I have made the decision to join Futurelab to become a mentor. Initially, I doubt myself: “what make you think you can become a mentor?”, as I am not a successful entrepreneur nor a boss or a VP, I am not even a manager in my company. It took 1 year for me to realise that I don’t need to be in such position to be a mentor. I am a good mentor, I can give good advices, I have certain experiences, and I think I can help people. That’s why I decided to join Futurelab. MRJ: Do you agree that there is gap between students and working professionals? DP: For this particular gap, you may look into a couple of things. First, is the educational system. Our education system was built long time ago for the industrial revolution. During those times, schools and universities were built to train or churn out talent that suits the time of workforce, it is no longer that case for the present or in future. Certain skill like critical thinking, networking are seldom taught in the classroom, these are more commonly found in co-curriculum. Companies are now looking for talents and skills that does not match the syllabus from school. Universities are not really collaborating with companies, industrial experts. For example, after I graduated as an engineer, I only use 10% of what I learn at work. Whatever you have had studied is too general and exams are an emphasis for students because it is the only way people were graded and classified in the old days. But the problem is, the exams actually gauge show well you memorise, and how you deliver the answer. But in work, they don’t care about memorising, Google is king. Anything you need to know is in Google. Another thing is people don’t know where to acquire the knowledge, and then how to apply this knowledge for better use. That is what company wants to see, how you use information to apply to the job to create output. My suggestion is that Universities and Companies should work hand in hand to produce new learning and exposure that prepares the student both in soft skills and hard skills. I know there are a few new universities offering courses that are based on projects for the real world, real life work simulations partnering with companies, teaching relevant knowledge and skills that is transferable to all industries. Besides, companies want to see your initiative, to know you are very teachable. The initial 3 months of any employment, the company is losing money on you, because they are training you and you might not be giving any output. So that why the first 3 months is very critical to a company to gauge your fit in the company and that why they call it probation. A lot students do not have smooth transition to the working force because they don’t understand, when you are in university you live a life of assignments, exams and parties etc; but when you go to work there is no such thing as exam or assignment, you just need to complete your job. On top of that, if you want to get promoted, and you want to get the pay you deserve, you have to do more than you are told. Students always assume that you get the pay you want, and then you do the job. But reality, you should do more work than you are asked to do so that you can demand more pay. A lot of people just demand more pay without doing anything more. If you do more and take additional tasks, your boss would feel more comfortable to delegate more work for you, more trust that you would be able to deliver. It then means that you are ready to take up leadership positions, you can help take part of the boss job and you are more likely to become assistance manager. Students might not understand this since students are not taught how to climb the ladder, how to bargain for a job, how to find the job you want. That is why there is such a big gap. For example, in most interviews, employers would ask what you do else from the academics, your co-curriculum activities, your leadership ability. They want to see you active outside of normal studying which shows that you are willing to accomplish more than whatever its take. When you become employee they also expect the same value that you can provide, if you are only a book student, is very hard for you to survive outside. MRJ: Coming from an engineering background, how do you recommend students with limited finance background to pick-up finance? DP: Are you willing to learn extra? For the first few month, I struggle. Investopedia was my best friend. You must work more than other people. Because a 3 years degree provided the knowledge for those students in Finance background, but you have none, you have to back up all those things, you have to be smart, and you cannot just simply study, it won’t be relevant to your work. You need to study very fast, very specific knowledge that will help in your work. But don’t worry, apart from coming from engineering background (or even any background), if you have any idea on how you acquire certain specific skill, it will be okay. When you do a degree, you should focus on learning skills like reporting, professional writing, effective communication, project planning, etc. Those are skill that are TRANSFERABLE from university to work life and any industry. As an engineer I learn how to use excel, formulas, macro and when you go into banking they love that, because they have so many clients and transactions, they would want to make things automated for ease of work and leverage, e.g. how many transactions per day are for the use of “A & B”. They will love engineer for those things. Because you can come in, you do all the excel sheet for us, then done, its automated. Basically crunching and massaging data. Also, banks, or any industry for the matter, love engineers because we are trained to think very linearly, very logically, think in charts and graphs. MRJ: How does an engineering background help you with your work at JP Morgan? DP: Honestly nothing much except excel. The understanding of Excel helped me to do things faster. Since my background as a mechanical engineer, we were taught to become production people, work in a factory, and create physical models for example. But when I got into banking, everything is virtual, we don’t really create stuff so I don’t get to use those skill. That is where I have to catch on very quickly and adapt. But if you are a software engineer, it will be very helpful if you can go into the fintech industry or even the tech team of banking. They need software engineers to create new system as thing are moving to automation and digital. Software engineer are very loved by the banking industry. With more automated service, the bank can get more clients onboard. MRJ: How is the culture in JP Morgan? DP: In JP Morgan, we actually are mandated to do training. Each employee is allocated certain hour of training which they must fulfil per year. In term of self-development, it was very good for JP Morgan. We have a lot online courses (both hard skill and soft skill) that you must finish. They have a whole library of online courses. Some are assign to you automatically, some you can choose. We also have inhouse or external coaches some to Malaysia to educate us. JP Morgan is very comfortable for me. Despite the fact that there are a lot of tasks, KPIs to hit and we need to work long hours, yet their acknowledgement is incredible. We have appreciation meals, outings, movie nights, treasure hunts, philanthropy events. Besides, my colleagues are very nice, we really focus on team work. We work hand in hand with cross departments and other department from foreign countries too. MRJ: What are the top 3 benefits in choosing JP Morgan as your career path? DP: To start with, the brand – no doubt about it, it is a well-known brand and we have won many awards. The second is the great deal of learning experience. JP Morgan is small in Malaysia, so technically you have to do A to Z. Unlike others bank, which you would be specialising in 1 area of task, we do almost everything. Third, the people. The people there are very nice very helpful. The culture is very pleasant. There are a lot of team bonding events. We have annual trips, treasure hunt, philanthropy event, CSR event throughout the whole year. MRJ: What are some of the important skills that a student might need to get into JP Morgan? DP: Microsoft Excel. Excel works for a specific reason. All the data will be presented in the spreadsheet, then you can crunch and massage the date to infer understanding and solutions. We will use software systems to upload the Excel for further processing. Since you can’t learn the software systems in university you can focus on Interpersonal relationship. You would need to know how to communicate with your boss, colleague and other departments. To be the top, you need take initiative and work hard, or else if you are lazy/slacking your review will be the bad, that simple. After I finish my work at 7pm, I usually offer to help my superiors to offload some of their task. That is initiative. I wanted to do and learn a bit more so I took extra initiatives. When you ask for extra jobs, superiors will be quite happy, it means that they can offload more, can teach you more. Thus, you can go further and do more by teaching others around you. MRJ: Advice that you will give to student before entering into bank industry. DP: Do internships to understand if is this want you really want. My best bet is find out what you really want, go for it, and give yourself passion, patience and persistence. For fresh graduates who are pursuing full time job, try to apply for management training positions. You get to experience different functions in a company. Give yourself 2 years, learn about the industry. In the industry, ask your senior, the chief office (if they are willing to) on how is it like to be here, what do you do, how did you get here. Ask them for lunch, and you will realize you understand the company, the industry as a banker at a higher level. Then it depends whether you love it or not. If you really love it, by all means, you just climb the ladder there. Do the best you can. If not, try another industry. MRJ: What do you during your free-time? DP: I involve myself in many things. I dance, for fun. It’s my hobby. I am in Axiata Young Talent Programme (AYTP). We have projects to do. I am also a committee in the AYTP alumni council, we have a lot events to plan and organise. At the same time, I am starting my training career which focus on leadership and management training on my free time. I am looking into how to create my content, deliver them, approaches to push my sales amongst many things. MRJ: Any final comments? DP: There is so much more I want to share. I would like you to find your Ikigai or Hedgehog Concept. Hopefully you quickly find your passion, and it is what you are awesome at, and it is your economic engine, and most of all it is morally and spiritually right. Let go and forgive the Past, Prepare and embrace the Future, and most of all Enjoy the Present – that is why it is called the Gift. Thank you. Would you like to connect with Daniel? Click here to connect now! Written by: This article was written by Mr.J from SEGi College. An opportunist and a strong believer on learning through volunteering. The question of this article was prepared by Mr.J and Jeremy Tay .They are both FutureLab Campus Heroes and are constantly looking for ways to bridge the gap between education and career for themselves and their friends.
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