GII Feature: Eldon Tan
Monday Sep 28,2020 | IIE News
Eldon Tan is a Year 3 School of Accountancy student. He had a remote internship at Get All Myanmar Co in Myanmar in 2020.
What was your motivation for a GII internship in summer?
Overseas exposure coupled with the opportunity to work with founders of a start-up was extremely intriguing for me. Exposure to different cultural and community perspectives often encourage self-discovery.
Growth has always been an uncomfortable process. I was excited to be placed in an unfamiliar environment to work and live for a duration of 3 months. Furthermore, I was really interested in engaging with the various founders to learn more about their journey. After all, I am keen of becoming an entrepreneur myself.
Unfortunately, the pandemic came and GII 2020 was cancelled. It was unfortunate that I was unable to fly to Myanmar in the summer but nevertheless I had a great internship.
How was the mentorship?
The mentorship was excellent. I was fortunate enough to be offered a remote internship opportunity by Leon.
Despite it being remote, the experience of my internship was not compromised. The autonomy and flexibility of working in a start-up was the highlight for me.
During the first day of our internship, we were briefed on the different projects that we were to embark on over our 12 weeks of internship. We then planned our own schedule and checked in with our mentor on a weekly basis. There was a lot of trust by the management on interns being accountable for themselves. I am fascinated by the idea of working in a double bottom line business.
I had the opportunity to both experience and learn that maximising both profitability and societal impact are not mutually exclusive. Talking to the management team about how they stumbled upon their entrepreneurial journey really enlightened me that the world is my oyster. Opportunities are out there, all we have to do is to stay positive and keep looking!
How do you think employers and interns can benefit from a remote internship?
Ultimately, I believe a remote internship cannot replicate the experience given to us by a physical internship. However, there are benefits from a remote internship.
One of the biggest benefit from a remote internship is the time saved from travelling. On average, it is likely that I will spend two hours to travel to and fro from the office. The two hours saved on a daily basis adds up over time and can be invested into developing a new skill set.
Also, you could work anywhere, dictate your own schedule and spend more time with your loved ones!
What is something you learned that will stick with you post-GII?
As an intern, the projects that we undertake are of a wide spectrum. It is multidisciplinary and spans across vastly different topics. In fact, the project I took up was beyond the scope of my study. This resulted in me being outside of my comfort zone, yet at the same time, honed my ability to deal with ambiguity and embrace chaos.
I believe this is a key feature of start-ups where deliverables are often fluid and one must be adaptable, flexible and comfortable with uncertainty. I would say the ability to deal with uncertainty is an extremely transferable skill and is imperative to a successful individual.
Another key takeaway for me was understanding the importance of cultural intelligence. In one of our projects, we were tasked to present the findings to the managers of the company. Post presentation, I realised that I should have slowed down my presentation and cut down on the jargons as English is not the main language for my audience. I should have considered the background of the audience of my presentation. With the world getting more inter-connected, companies are putting more focus on diversity in the work environment. One who possess a high level of cultural intelligence has a significant edge over his fellow peers.
What is a piece of advice or tip for a student on how to make the most of GII?
Given the current state of the world, being resilient and being adaptable is of utmost importance. Always stay positive and be ready for opportunities that are to come.
Overall, I strongly encourage everyone to look out for opportunities provided by SMU such as GII to develop and discover yourself. Stop thinking of the “what ifs” and start taking action!
Do you have tips on how to maximise a remote internship?
Personally, I would say time management is key in order to maximise your experience in a remote internship. The productivity of each day ultimately boils down to self-discipline so planning each day was extremely important. One of the best things I did was creating a routine comprising of working, exercising and reading. Have weekly goals, find something you enjoy and start incorporating it into your daily routine. I encourage anyone who are considering a remote internship to go in with an open mind and you may be surprised at what you get out of it.
Global Innovation Immersion (GII) is a 3-month virtual/overseas internship at innovation hotspots, where you get to immerse yourself in the startup / innovation ecosystem, work alongside entrepreneurial minds and expand your connections in a foreign market.
Applications are open now for summer 2021! Feel free to sign up for the info session or iie-gii [at] smu.edu.sg (email) us for queries.