GII Feature: Zhao Yunyi
Saturday Oct 03,2020 | IIE News
Zhao Yunyi is a Year 4 Business Student. She joined Kejora Ventures as an Investment Analyst Intern as part of GII Indonesia in 2019.
In this interview, we ask her more on her experience at Kejora Ventures, an early-to-growth stage investor, focusing on Southeast Asia.
What was your motivation for a GII internship in Indonesia?
Internet is booming in Indonesia.
Indonesia has been a hotspot for early stage investment and has been leading the economic growth in the region, which attracted me to experience and learn about Indonesia myself.
Global Innovation Immersion (GII) gives me such opportunity to work in the local startup ecosystem. The founders know the country very well as they are the ones to really understand certain industry so much so that they could find out business opportunities from it.
How was it like being in a new country?
It was very challenging at first because I have not travelled to Jakarta before nor speak Bahasa Indonesia. I was unused to the street food and suffered food poisoning and was hospitalized for 3 days. Thanks to the support of my company and the close follow-up from IIE, I could go through those days alone in a foreign country.
From where I lived, the supermarket is not very far away but due to the busy traffic, grocery shopping is a big problem to me and that is why I used HappyFresh (Indonesia-version of Redmart). Later on, I discovered the beauty of ojek (motorcycle) which I only tried once 10 years ago and that made me finally enjoy my commute as it is fast, convenient and allowed me to appreciate the street view.
There are quite a number of well-educated Indonesians who received education overseas and go back to start their own businesses. Jakarta, being the heart of the country’s growth even when it will no longer be the capital of the country, attracts the most of number of such people.
What was it like working in a culturally diverse company?
Kejora Ventures is an early-to-growth stage investor, focusing on Southeast Asia. Our team consists of people from different parts of Indonesia as well as people from Australia, Germany, Philippines, and I brought my perspectives coming from Singapore and China.
Casually during team meetings, we discussed the deals based on our own understanding and experience and it was such an interesting experience to realize the different assumptions we subconsciously made which might not be valid in another country.
My mentors are really caring and friendly and even gave me the opportunity to go on business trip to Thailand as an intern, which I am very thankful for.
What are some highlights of your internship?
I worked on several projects, one of which is a hybrid wealth advisory platform in Thailand where I used my experience in China to explain the business model using a Chinese comparable to the team. And because of this, I am co-in-charge with another full-timer on this deal and had the privilege to fly to Thailand for site visit of this company and our other portfolios.
How does GII support your ambition?
GII allows me to formally enter the Venture Capital (VC) field and this experience indeed helps me get my subsequent 2 VC internships. The experience of working in Indonesia plus my bi-cultural background of Singapore and China differentiates me from other candidates.
(Note: Yunyi also went on to join Protege Ventures, an IIE training programme with structured curriculum to learn about VC.)
What did you learn through this internship?
I have learnt to be more independent through the experience of living alone in a foreign country. This has pushed me out of my comfort zone to become more sociable. I am more confident in myself and I have a clearer understanding of the co-working space business model.
Overall, the internship has affirmed my view that more Singaporeans should venture outwards to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
What is something you learned that will stick with you post-GII?
I learnt how to quickly adapt in a foreign country with different culture and how to make use of your existing resources.
Why should students take on an overseas internship with IIE?
Reading about the country is never better than visiting the company yourself. With GII, the students have the rare opportunity to experience the country in depth for a few months and gather first-hand information yourself to build your own understanding of the country and the culture.
What is a piece of advice or tip for a student on how to make the most of GII?
Make good use of your fellow GII peers within the same country to learn about their companies and their experience.
Use the ‘mandatory networking requirements’ as an opening if you are shy, to connect with the local managers of the company/industry you are interested.
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.