GII Feature: Hua Jie Min
Monday Jan 24,2022
Remote Internship in Jakarta, Indonesia: Hua Jie Min
Over the summer of 2021, Hua Jie Min joined the SMU Global Innovation Immersion (GII) programme and had the opportunity to intern at Sociolla, the leading beauty-tech company in Indonesia. Read on to find out more about her GII experience!
Hello everyone, I am Jie Min, a Year 3 student from SMU School of Social Sciences, with a primary Major in Politics, Law and Economics, and a second Major in Digital Business. I chose to intern in Southeast Asia due to the high potential in the growing economies of ASEAN countries, which I believe will be beneficial for my future career prospects in e-commerce, with Indonesia being one of the world’s fastest growing e-commerce markets. Also, I was keen to improve my cultural knowledge on Southeast Asia and to have the opportunity to pick up a third language was exciting to me. Being able to work in a company based in Indonesia allowed me to better understand the consumer culture as well as the nuances of this huge market.
Why did I choose to join the GII Programme?
When I applied for GII in late 2020, I was aware that travelling overseas for the internship would be unlikely. However, the programme would allow me to clear my global exposure and internship requirements through a remote internship. I have always wanted to learn Bahasa Indonesia and GII offered Masterclasses that allowed me to pick up this language.
I knew the importance of networking, but prior to GII, I was afraid to make the first step. GII’s networking workshop helped to increase my confidence, especially when reaching out to professionals on LinkedIn. GII also encouraged us to actively network with professionals by offering us a $100 Coffee Chat incentive to conduct at least 5 coffee chats to learn from various professionals about their work and life experiences. It “forced” me to step out of my comfort zone to request for coffee chats.I am glad I did as I learnt so much from the people I have connected with. Without this initiative by GII, I would not have worked up the courage to send a message to a professional whom I was not acquainted with.
Remote internship experience at Sociolla
As a Strategic Project Management intern at Sociolla, I was tasked to conduct research on strategic opportunities for Sociolla, propose strategies to improve user acquisition and user experience, provide benchmarking analysis and work with other interns on partnership projects. As I had to work remotely, I needed to be clear on what would be required for me to execute the tasks assigned, so that I could maximise my learning experience from this internship.
My supervisor, Bella, and Pradana, the VP of Strategic Project, were encouraging towards the interns and often reaffirmed the work that we have done. Bella also provided insightful comments on the feasibility of my ideas as they might work in Singapore but might not work as well in Indonesia due to the different consumer mindset. It made me realise the importance in understanding the market and its cultural differences when making recommendations. It was particularly rewarding when the university partnership that I had proposed to improve user acquisition was implemented and I got to be involved in the execution of the proposal I had written. Through this project, I also got to work with Indonesian interns from other departments. Although I was initially worried about working with people whom I have not met, everyone turned out to be friendly and I learnt a lot about Indonesia and their culture while working with them.
Working in an Indonesian e-commerce company allowed me to gain insights on the Indonesian e-commerce landscape that I probably would not have the chance to as an outsider. I also had to quickly adapt and research on the dynamics of Indonesian e-commerce and the metrics that the company uses to measure its success, while working remotely from Singapore, which made me recognise the importance in taking charge of my own learning. For some of the tasks assigned, I finished them before the deadline and could have done nothing until I received comments from my supervisor. However, I realised that I would be squandering precious time if I did not take the initiative to learn at work. Hence, whenever I submitted my research early, I would ask my supervisor if there were anything else that I could assist with, because I enjoyed learning on the job, and the tasks assigned also gave hints as to what the company was focusing on.
As my first internship and first experience working in a start-up, I am happy that I got to work at Sociolla, where everyone I worked with was so welcoming and helpful.
How was the mentorship?
I had a great learning experience from the mentorship sessions by Dino Setiawan, who is the CEO of AwanTunai, a FinTech startup in Indonesia. As our mentor under the GII programme, Dino shared with us the differences in the start-up environment between Singapore and Indonesia. Having worked in Singapore previously, his insights were communicated in a way that was easy to understand, even though I have never been to Indonesia. His observations on the Indonesian market, such as the demographic of internet users and the commonality of fraud in Indonesia, helped me greatly in considering the feasibility of my solutions for Sociolla.
Why would you recommend GII to fellow SMU students?
GII was the best deal that I have gotten in SMU! Through this programme, you can gain internship experience, receive support for networking with professionals, and join skills development course(s) for free! I am grateful to GII for being so supportive in enhancing my learning experience, especially with language classes which kickstarted my journey in learning Bahasa Indonesia. Conversing in Bahasa Indonesia is a skill that I would love to be competent in for my future career development.
Global Innovation Immersion (GII) is a 3-month remote/overseas internship at innovation hotspots, where you get to immerse yourself in the start-up / innovation ecosystem, work alongside entrepreneurial minds and expand your connections in a foreign market.
Register Your Interest for GII Summer 2023!
Keen to experience what it is like to work for an overseas high-growth start-up like Jie Min? Register your interest and we will notify you once the application for GII 2023 is open and you can indicate your preferred internship destination on the GII application form.