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A (Potentially) Life-Changing Experience with Global Innovation Immersion

Wednesday Aug 25,2021 | IIE News



Hello everyone, my name is Lida but I’m usually known as Zach in school. I am currently a Year 2 student at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business. As someone that is currently in the process of building my own company, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be in the Global Innovation Immersion (GII) program. 

Working in a startup through GII has helped open my eyes to the realities of embarking on my entrepreneurial journey. 


A (Potentially) life-changing experience

Having a mentor who is a founder of an Indonesian venture capital firm and being inspired by friends who have started a successful venture fund in the crypto space, I became interested to intern in a blockchain-related startup to broaden my understanding and knowledge about this sunrise industry.

I was introduced to the GII program by a good friend of mine who was part of the 2020 cohort. I was immediately drawn by the fact that this program could offer just what I was looking for. I signed up and never looked back!. 

Gaining valuable experience at Mask Network helped me to gain deeper insight into the inner workings of the industry, strengthening my passion for the blockchain space and helping it to go beyond just a casual interest. With all the knowledge I gained, I am now more inclined to embark on a career in this space.

I strongly believe that blockchain technology will be more widely adopted by most industries, such as banking, as blockchain is transforming everything from payment transactions to how money is being raised in the private market. In addition, many employees in blockchain companies typically work remotely which aligns with my goal of not working a typical 8-5 job after graduation. It would also allow me the freedom to pursue other outside interests and opportunities, giving me the potential for multiple streams of income. 

Currently, I am considering an extension to my internship at Mask Network to continue deepening my knowledge and understanding of the blockchain industry. This extension would also give me the opportunity to continue networking with blockchain professionals who are valuable contacts for my future aspirations. 


Tips for all

Rather than sharing about my internship experience, which may have already been done by other GII participants, I will instead pass on some advice that I think could be useful when interning in a startup:


1. Get yourself noticed

You could start by thinking like a founder and not an employee. Most founders would appreciate a well-thought-out second opinion, you could voice out your opinion where appropriate. This way, it not only showcases your critical thinking ability but also shows that you’re truly part of the company, thinking in its best interest. 

This would make it more likely for the management to assign you more advanced tasks or responsibilities to accelerate your growth.


2. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Unlike bigger firms, startups typically do not have an established system to manage their interns. This means that there may be times that you feel like you are not being noticed. If that happens, don’t be afraid to speak up to update your progress on the tasks you have on hand or request for more responsibilities. 

Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions or initiate personal casual conversations with your colleagues. Leverage on your age and the fact that you’re still a student. Working adults tend to be more patient with younger people and will be inclined to help you to grow. 


3. Try to lead/ participate in a project 

If you think you have a certain skill set that can add value to the startup on top of your already assigned tasks, propose it and request to lead or be part of the project. Being proactive is a great way to leave a positive, lasting impression on your manager and fellow colleagues.

For example: 

  • Identify a potential target audience that the company has yet to target. Craft out a plan (best to be organic) to capture this group of people and pitch it to whoever is in charge. 
  • Explore other business opportunities that could be built around what they already have or business partners that would complement the services/ products that they carry. Craft out a plan, pitch it.


As an undergrad still in the early stages of my university education, I believe it is important and interesting to explore as many opportunities as possible. I am glad to have found the GII programme offers just that! Even though I have a career roadmap in mind, I always try to remind myself to explore beyond it while ensuring that I’m on track with my existing plan. 

If anyone were to ask me whether they should give GII a shot, my answer would be a resounding yes!

Curious to learn more about the GII Programme? Visit SMU.SG/GII Now!


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