It all started out with this letter from the Human Resource Department of Sunway Integrated Properties Sdn Bhd:
Further to our discussion, our Managing Director of Property Division is interested in taking you in for some of her exciting projects in the Property Division. Hence, I am pleased to offer you an Internship placement with Sunway Integrated Properties Sdn Bhd, commencing 6 July 2015 on the following terms…
I remembered when I was young, I used to tell my mother that I will never work in a field that relates to going to construction site because it is hot, dirty and dangerous. What happened in the end?
Ta-daa! I found my first internship experience in the Construction and Property industry! See how life is fair to us? The more you try to avoid your fears, the more it will be attracted to you. Well, since I could not bear the idea of not doing anything at all during my summer vacation, I decided to take up the challenge and see where it leads me to~ At least I can check out the property industry from the developer’s point of view which may give me more information when I want to start doing property investment in the future.
Why Intern In Sunway?
“Why is an engineering student doing an internship in Sunway Property?”
Simple reason- no matter which industry I am in, the main objective is for me to experience the mindset of being an employee in Malaysia. I know many people are not keen to be an employee in Malaysia, let alone with the recent implementation of GST and unstable political situations. But, I know that it won’t hurt to find out more about the real world to prepare for the “cultural shock” after I graduate from university. To me, it is a wiser decision than choosing to hide in a virtual and ideal reality about the world created by universities worldwide. Besides, I may not be working as a full- time engineer in the future even though I will be graduating with a degree in Engineering.
The Corporate Experience- Project Management
I remembered driving to the office on my first day of work, clueless about where to park, only to find out later that evening that parking in the basement of the office block itself costs RM 12 (ouch!). Nevertheless, upon arrival, I was assigned a supervisor, who is non-other than the Senior General Manager of the Sunway Velocity project management team- Mr. Chong. He was initially quite concern with the limited knowledge I have, especially in reading technical drawings for buildings. Fortunately, he also have a research task which have been on his to-do list for quite a while. Hence, that’s how I ended up doing a business research as part of internship experience.
At the same time, he also assigned me a mentor- Mr. Chin to follow, hoping that by the end of the internship, I will have a clearer idea on what a project manager do on a day- to- day basis (I have to admit that this is an awesome strategy!). On the first day itself, he passed me a textbook on project management which he used during his university days. Next, he also tried his best to include me in the relevant meetings such as client consultant meeting, site meeting and etc, advising me to jot down whatever I don’t understand and ask him for a “lecture” when we have the time. Through him, I observed how important is public relations and communications for a manager in general. I learnt that as a manager, we have 5 parties to deal with- client, consultants, contractors, team members from other departments such as Marketing and Finance and last but not least- the Bosses! These are the people who will determine whether you will have to work overtime or not! (Not to mention, they are also the same people who will buy you lunch once in a while~ lol)
Not to mention, I also have a lot of guidance and advise from the senior members of the Sunway Velocity Project Management Team. It was really an eye- opener to witness how the progress of other projects will impact each other in the long run, even if we are not responsible for their project. I learnt from them that each project manager have his or her own unique way of dealing with problems. As long as the problem is solved, the end objective is achieved.
Key Takeaways From My Internship
My most meaningful experience in the 9 weeks of internship experience is to conduct and present a business research to the top management team. Initially, I started off knowing nothing about the subject. After hitting several bumps in the progress of the research, I was invited to a “Making an Impactful PowerPoint Presentation” workshop conducted by Luke from the Group Corporate Strategy department. It was through him that I managed to know another team who is working on a similar research to mine, hence we decided to have a meeting and the rest becomes history. The team from this department had not only shared with me whatever information they have, but also brainstormed ideas with me in addition to helping me to create a proper structure for my slide deck. I am quite grateful for their patience in mentoring and coaching me despite the fact that I am just an intern.
After several presentation practice session with my mentor, we decided there is no time like the present to inform the rest of the team members on what we have found out. Eventually, this leads into a series of meeting, starting with the management team from Sunway Medical Centre (did I mentioned I have to come back for the meeting even though I applied for a full- day leave?), ending with an audience of 17 people including Managing Directors and an Executive Director. This was definitely the climax of my internship experience as I had never presented in front of an audience which involves people from the top management team. I remembered leaving the office at 7.30 pm (definitely working overtime) feeling as high as if I have finished my finals! Haha~ All those time spent in Toastmasters for public speaking have definitely paid off!
New Friendships Fostered~
An internship experience is never complete without knowing new people from diverse background. Being the blur and nerdy student from Oxford, I felt so fortunate to meet such great and helpful people during my time in Sunway:
What Next? Back to a student life again~
During my internship period, there was one common advice that many seniors gave me – to enjoy my university life to the maximum! Most of them shared with me that it is more important to discover who you are, what are your strengths and weaknesses, and build up my character rather than blindly concentrating on just getting a first- class degree. In addition, they shared with me not to worry too much about earning money or getting a job, because as long as I have the correct ATTITUDE to continue to learn and grow, there will always be an open door somewhere out for me~
That’s it, folks! This pretty much sums up my internship experience in summer 2015! Bye Sunway! Bye Malaysia! Time to kickstart my second year in Oxford!