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Three Organisations Working Towards A Better Future.

by Neekita Patel | 03 May 2017

2016 was a year fraught full of strange events. In brief, we witnessed the rise and fall of the phenomenon that was Pokemon Go. Niantic appealed to the nostalgia many of us have for Pokemon and netted up to 1.6 Million USD a day from iPhone users alone. Meanwhile, in South America, the Zika Virus is declared by WHO as a public health emergency of international concern, as with every outbreak we’re still unsure how long it will persist. In other news, we also witnessed Samsung’s credibility take a massive hit with exploding Note 7’s, which might be why Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 plus’ sales haven’t dropped despite the fact that they no longer have a universal earphone port. On a more hopeful note, Russia and US agreed to a  “cessation of hostilities” between the Syrian government and groups fighting, it in a deal that excludes the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Group. Though, like the Zika Virus, we have no idea how long this is going to last either, with those calming that the cessation has already broken down. Prince passed along with other beloved celebrities, hurricanes devastating the Caribbean, typhoons similarly smashing up the Philippines. Yes, 2016 was a strange year, and worrisome if trends continue. True, it looks like 2017 is off to a rocky start with an oil spill in Johor,  spreading to the coast of Singapore. So how are we supposed to have hope when the entire world seems crazy?   The answer is you just have to look. There are thousands of social enterprises trying their very best to solve problems, starting with the roots of society, education. Here are 3 organisations (in no particular order) trying to work towards a better future, starting with where they can, Malaysia. Boleh.    1.       EDUNATION    First up, EduNation is the largest free primary and secondary school online resource in Malaysia. EduNation aims to bring free educational resources to every Malaysian child. EduNation began as Khan Academy’s advocate in Malaysia where they mapped out Khan Academy videos to the Malaysian school syllabus and translated them to Bahasa Malaysia. They have thousands of videos covering all core subjects such as maths, science, biology, chemistry, physics in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Tamil and Mandarin. EduNation also provides exercises and test papers where students can practice their understanding of key concepts. Students can also sign up and log in to track their progress. All in all, EduNation is determined to be the leading provider of free education for all Malaysian students and ensure that every child in Malaysia has access to the best education through their videos and online content. They believe in access to education, collaborating with the community, yielding creativity and excellence.     FutureLab is excited to have Edmond Yap, the Co-founder of EduNation as a mentor here.    2.      100% PROJECT       Second, 100% Project believes that great strides can only be made in education through collective impact. This means everyone – corporations, foundations, start-ups, social enterprises, schools, parents, teachers, and individuals, can move education forward in Malaysia.   100% Project has been helping teachers achieve funding for their student-related projects, since its inception in October 2015. The startup first sources for passionate teachers who need the money to improve their classrooms, organise field trips, or implement some of their more innovative teaching ideas, followed by engaging the public and connecting them to these teachers, so we can all have a chance to contribute. Though 100% Project are new to the startup community, they have already seen two projects being fully funded within the first few days, and by two weeks, half of their projects were completely covered financially.    At FutureLab, 100% Project gives us a lot of hope, chiefly because its proof that as a community, the impacts we make are not small. We hope to have members of the 100% project team on our mentor list one day to be able to share their journey with us. If you’d like to support 100% project, more information can be found here: https://www.100percentproject.org/ 3.       TEACH FOR MALAYSIA     Thousands of Malaysian children don’t have the chance to realise their potential because of many different factors, like how much their parents earn or where they live. Imagine this – what if the cure for cancer is trapped inside the mind of one of these students ? – Teach For Malaysia   Third is Teach For Malaysia; an independent, not-for-profit organisation on a mission to empower our nation through education. They seek to do this by firstly empowering teachers through a fellowship which involves a demanding, challenging, and incredibly rewarding two-year leadership development program — so teachers can be part of the solution. Teaching for two years in high-need classrooms gives the Alumni a deep understanding of what the real challenges are, and what it will take to really empower students and communities. It is anchored in this collective vision, that they continue to champion education and influence change in different ways.   Chow Geh Tsung, an alumnus from the Teach For Malaysia program shares that — A person who has mastered the art of teaching does not need to raise his voice, threaten, hit, nor entice students with rewards to awaken their true potential. He understands the subtleties of the human mind, of different personalities, and of different circumstances to bring about enlightenment within individuals. True teachers are respected even when they aren’t around, spoken about with admiration behind their backs and remembered for life.   He goes on to share an experience that he had with a student:   This year I have a Form 2 ‘gangsta’ student who has a lot of disciplinary problems. I engaged him through sports. He is a good runner and happened to be in my sports house. I acknowledged him and treated him with respect. During house practice, I gave him the responsibility to lead the juniors during practice. He took pride in his work and did his job dutifully. I trusted him with the work and he did not take advantage even when I wasn’t monitoring him. No signs of misbehaviour whatsoever. He then went on to win the Best Athlete Award during the School’s Sports Day. He was suspended from school during the Prize Giving Ceremony, but he came to school anyway with a neat long-sleeved uniform. He really wanted to be acknowledged. When he went on the stage, I was really proud of him. I later sent him a photo of him holding the trophy and congratulated him, he then responded with this: “Thank you teacher… without you, I may not have won the events that I participated in.”   Endnote:   At FutureLab we deeply value education, we believe that it is the basis for society.   Which is why we support organisations like 100% project, EduNation, and Teach For Malaysia. By improving the mind, we can improve ourselves. This extends into other aspects of society, which is why we built FutureLab. For some of us it’s too late to change our education, but we can still take action in order to get into the industry we desire. Which is why if you’ve read to this point and you’re a student, or fresh grad, or anyone that needs to speak to someone with more experience, we encourage you to speak to one of our mentors.   For mentors reading to this point, in order to teach others, we need to be able to learn ourselves. So your homework is to book a session with someone who has more seniority than you!   Good Luck Readers, on your journey of self-discovery. Bon Voyage!   -The Family Ferret  

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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!  

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The 4 Effective Habits That Will Make You Ultra Successful

by Yen Wei | 28 Apr 2017

As Stephen Covey puts it, there is a huge difference between being efficient and being effective.  Efficient people are well organized and competent. They check things off their to-do list. They complete projects. They get stuff done. Effective people do all that … but they check the right things off their to-do list. They complete the right projects. They get the right stuff done. They execute and produce what makes the biggest difference for their work and for themselves. Just like how right ingredients are crucial for a good recipe, here are some great effective habits by our mentors to brew your way to success. #1              Get your WHY right before your WHATs   A common trait we do when faced with a problem that needs to be resolved, is that we often get tied up in the details on what we would like to do. Thatchu Selvarajan, an engineer based in the UK, believes that this is not a bad thing. But firstly, we should get our WHY right. “Ask yourself and everyone else involved, why are you doing this?” Thatchu says.  By asking that question, he believes that you will start to appreciate the significance of the project and the end goal that is envisioned. Once you have that in your head loud and clear, then carry on with the WHATs, for example what is needed for us to achieve that goal and what are the tiny tasks that will make up the whole project. “It is easy to get carried away with actions and losing touch with the original goal, whatever field you may be in. I have found myself repetitively using this mindset on a day to day basis these days and it will definitely yield results in the long run!” he says.   #2              Justify everything, almost!   Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion. This tip may sound like it’s applicable to only science based or technical professionals but in truth it isn’t. If you would like to make a case, prove it with data, numbers or figures. This could be a business proposal or even an idea that you think may work. Do not just go in and make a proposal without anything to back it up – trial it first, do your research, show the rest why do you think it will work.     #3              Be interested in others and their projects   People like to share and exchange knowledge and experience, and a good listener is always welcomed by most. Younger people tend to want others to know about them, but not what they can find out about others in return. Tommy Lok, a PhD student in biomedical sciences in Hong Kong, is an ardent believer in this habit and practices it in his daily life. “I found that by showing your interest in others, asking more about themselves and their works, it stimulates communication,” he says. “People will also like you more, and in the end, would love to know more about you too. More importantly, since a positive relationship is built on both ends, it is also easier to spark a collaboration too.”     #4              Ask, ask, ask away   “The most important habit that I picked from my university’s years was to always ask questions when I am not sure or am clueless about how something is done,” Sirhajwan Idek says. One should not underestimate this great habit – it sounds simple yet is not practiced as often as we think. Many people in Malaysia feel shy or are afraid to ask questions due to some personal reasons such as ego, lack of confidence or social expectations. However, a simple question to clear doubts and uncertainty will go a long way in your short-term or future plans and goals. Opportunities will pop up.  Connections will be made.  A powerful relationship could even blossom. If you think about it, busy people also tend to ask for help in getting something done. They ask for help not just because they need help but also because by asking they show respect for the other person and trust his or her experience, skill, or insight. Surrounding yourself with as much knowledge will be the compass to lead you to the right direction, and eventually to arrive at the destination that is meant for you.   Ready to become more effective and ask questions? Click here to speak to our mentors!  Special thanks to our mentors Thatchu, Sirhajwan and Tommy Lok who kindly contributed their thoughts for this article. How “deep” is the problem? 

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FutureLab Testimonials: Mentee’s Tell!

by Joel | 13 Apr 2017

Don’t take our word for it when we say FutureLab is awesome, listen to testimonials that two of our mentee’s have given.   1. Joel Lim – IB Student in Pattaya, Thailand 

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Notice: Payment Model Launch

by Neekita Patel | 12 Apr 2017

On the 12th of April 2017, FutureLab will be introducing our new pricing packages. Everyone will need credits to utilise services such as, booking mentoring sessions and attending FutureLab Talks. FutureLab was started with the aim to create value and remaining true to it, 40% of our revenue will be donated to our education initiatives; 100% Project, EduNation and Teach for Malaysia. Find out more about our social impact page here  Mentees will be able to purchase credits beginning 12th April 2017. Current mentees will be entitled to a 30% & 40% discount from the starter and value pack respectively through a promo code which will be shared. Students with an existing university email address will receive a 50% discount on both packs. No subscription charges will apply to mentors on the platform. Find out more about subscription plans here  Sessions booked before 12th April 2017 will not be charged for or affected by the subscription launch coming into effect. Have any questions? Get in touch with a team member through [email protected] to ask!   

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10 Ways to Stand Out at Work

by Joel | 23 Feb 2017

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5 Things You Need to do to Become More Employable

by Joel | 28 Mar 2017

At FutureLab we care about you and want you to move forward in your career and develop as a person and so we have compiled a list of 5 things that we feel will help to make you more employable 1: Build Digital Skills Technology is becoming more important in business. For you to be able to excel at work you need to be able to use technology effectively. 2: Effective Communication Talk in clear and simple terms to get your point across in the workplace. 3: Keep Learning Employers like to see that you value yourself and learn new things without having to be told. Take a few online courses to learn new skills 4: Think Critically This allows you to work through problems solve better. This makes you more valuable as an employee. 5: Build Interpersonal Skills Learning how to interact with the people around you is important as it allows you to participate more and work better in a team setting.

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5 Things They Don’t Tell You About Uni Life

by Joel | 12 Apr 2017

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How to Help Your Child Make the Right Career Decisions

by Joel | 04 Apr 2017

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Moving Up the Ladder: Strategies to Get Your Next Promotion.

by Joel | 21 Mar 2017

At FutureLab, we want you to succeed in your workplace and continue to get better and so here are some strategies you can use to help you get your next promotion. 1: Get a mentor He/She can give you valuable insights and advice on how to get that promotion. 2: Take the First Step If you know something has to be done do it before your boss asks you to. It shows initiative. 3: Be adaptable When your boss gives you something new, do it. It shows you are willing to learn new things. 4: Confidence is key Stand strong in your decisions and show your boss you know what you are doing. 5: Know your weaknesses If you acknowledge them, you know how to improve to become a better candidate. 6: Get to know your boss Imagine your boss is the gatekeeper between you and your promotion. If he likes you he is more likely to open the gate and let you through. 7: Ask for the promotion If you don’t ask you don’t receive. Asking shows your boss you are interested in a promotion.

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7 Reasons You Need a Mentor Before You Graduate

by Joel | 15 Mar 2017

Having a mentor can benefit you in many ways than you realise, as the advice they give can be influential and stick with you throughout your career. 

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How to Write a Masterpiece of a Resume

by Neekita Patel | 11 Apr 2017

Your resume should be about the value you will offer to a company or organisation. This means and all FutureLab mentors agree that a resume should be treated like a marketing document. It should tell a compelling story that invites further inquiry. So before you start writing your resume, take up the challenge to figure out what is special about you and what your personal brand is. In the process remember that an average employer spends about 7 seconds to review it. They are not reading, but skimming. It is important you make it clear right off the bat how you add value. Now here are some tips from FutureLab mentors on what creates a great resume: 1. Keep your resume short and sweet   A concise resume containing relevant content is crucial. There are few ways to do this. Firstly, remove generic self-descriptions. Everyone uses it but it does not show much value. If you would like to show you are a detailed oriented person, strive for an error free resume instead of listing ‘detail oriented’ as a characteristic and immediately proving against it. Secondly, delete irrelevant experience. As explained later in the article, tailoring your job to a desired position is important. Question every point by asking if the reader needs to know the information. Simple and common skills can also be omitted. It is very common to see skills such as MS Office in resumes. Instead, include vital skills from the job description or company website. Finally, consider 4 bullet points per work/voluntary experience. This is a good way to keep things concise and powerful. Speak with Mergers and Acquisition Manager at EY (Malaysia), Rishi Das ______ 2.Customise your resume for each opportunity   There is a high possibility that if you blindly apply for a job, your resume won’t get noticed. Many large organisations filter resumes using tracking systems that scans it before forwarding the resumes on to hiring managers. The way the system scans and filters usually are through keywords. As unfair as this sounds, it is how companies efficiently use their time. Past the tracking system as well, it is a resume tailored to each employer and their goals that strengthens your chance of being noticed. So how do you effectively take into account and work on getting your resume past the tracking system and human readers? There are so many ways to find out about this now than just browsing through a company’s website and reading Glassdoor. Platforms such as FutureLab have been created to help anyone to better prepare for job applications, so utilise it. Remember, to always carefully consider the key words you are using and mirror their language and values. Speak with Marketing Content Manager at FutureLab.my (Malaysia), Neekita Patel ________ 3. Quantify your accomplishments   On your resume, try to turn every work experience into measurable achievements. The aim through this is to provide evidence that emphasise the significance of your accomplishments. Solid numbers are the ‘show, don’t tell’ rule of writing a resume. For example, if you created performance reports and distributed them, how many did you distribute? If you exceed a sales target, then by how many percent did you exceed it? However, if you can’t quantify them, don’t despair. Subjective results are well accepted too if your achievements are hard to quantify. Employers merely want to know you can contribute to their organisational goals and objective. ­­ Speak with Software Engineer at Facebook (Malaysia), Aizat Faiz ________ 4. Show transferable skills   It is common to always think about education and experience first when you are writing your resume. But the experiences you have gained outside of work could also be the key to getting a job interview. Demonstrating your transferable skills is one of the most important aspects of your resume too, in addition to all that has been mentioned. These have a big role to play in communicating the capacity of completing a task. Examples of transferable skills are desire to learn, resilience, taking up more responsibilities, navigation skills, embracing change and many more. A good way to demonstrate this is through having a skills sections and explaining where you developed each skill from. However, it is of utmost importance to remember that your resume should always be relevant to the job you are applying to. Therefore, if it does not support the work you want to do, leave it out. Speak to Former Strategy Advisor at Shell (Malaysia), Vijay Kumar ________ 5. Show Direction or Be Specific   Your resume should always demonstrate you are the right person for this job. The two ways of doing this is, to either include only relevant work experience or when otherwise, to specifically include aspects of the job that will add value to the position. Alongside, show direction by demonstrating how you experience align with your aspiration and again should be in line with the role you are applying too. It is okay to have bits of experience, in fact, that is brilliant. But when you write your resume, pick and choose what to include in a way that will show a clear indication of your field of interests, where your skills lie and where you plan to head at that point in time. The aim is always to get the hiring manager to say, ‘yes he/she is the perfect fit for the job.’ Speak with Continuous Improvement Engineer at Morgan Advanced Material (United Kingdom), Thatchu Selvarajan ________ Need help to write an impactful resume that will land you an interview? Get in touch with FutureLab mentors who work in your field of interest and want to help here. It is that easy!  

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