[Feature Image: Joon Hau with a few F&N Myanmar colleagues and my supervisor, Ms Goe Yah Leng (extreme right)
By Seet Joon Hau, SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Class of 2018
I never expected her to pop the question that Friday morning, while I was getting ready to present my project—I had expected a typical day at F&N‘s Corporate Human Capital department.
“Do you want to go to Myanmar?” my supervisor asked.
“Yeah, of course,” I replied in half disbelief after a long pause. If this is a joke, I thought, it is a very cruel one. If it is not a joke, I shall try to resist the urge to get out of my chair to jump for joy.
My golden ticket to Yangon
It was the chance of a lifetime—a business trip to Myanmar to help out with F&N’s first participation in the Yangon Job Fair 2016. F&N Foods Myanmar Branch Office was set up in 2014. It has since been growing rapidly in Myanmar and recruiting talents for business success is one of the key tasks. My supervisor told me that participating in the Yangon Job Fair 2016 is both a strategic and tactical talent acquisition approach. It was held on 19 June 2016 at the Myanmar Event Park—the biggest exhibition venue in Yangon. With this information, I was thrilled by the opportunities that lay ahead. I think that everything I experienced preparing for and during the trip has been a reinforcement of what I’ve learnt during my internship too! So here are 3 things I learnt on my internship business trip.
Number 1. Always be prepared. Don’t wait till the last minute to get things done. My supervisor always told me, “Don’t wait until the eleventh hour to finish your work.”
What was the hardest before the business trip, was the week-long preparation for the job fair. With the help of my fellow intern, Jeslyn, we managed to complete 1,000 pamphlets, 400 handmade special F&N drinks series bookmarks, application forms (in Burmese and English), a short movie, F&N photo booth props, and job vacancy and description folders. Sounds like quite a lot of work right? I must say I wouldn’t have finished it in time if not for Jeslyn! We really showcased the power of teamwork here. And if I had started later and prioritised my workload differently, I definitely would not have been able to complete anything on time! Internships test your ability to juggle multiple tasks within a set timeframe, much like school and the working world, and it was an experience I cherish greatly.
The different collaterals I created for the Yangon Job Fair
Number 2. Be ready to be spontaneous. Not everything will go as planned, so always learn to embrace the unknown.
On the day of the Yangon Job fair, at only 9am, huge crowds had already started to stream in. We knew that the Burmese are people who wake up early, so this came as no surprise.
I started taking photographs of the scene, and our bookmarks and pamphlets were given away quickly. This eventually led to the necessity to arrange for the printing of more application forms posthaste—something I had not foreseen initially—since there was an overwhelming response to apply for our job vacancies. At the end of the day, the response at the job fair was very successful and our colleagues alongside us did a fantastic job explaining to the people about the F&N brand.
The F&N Booth before and after the crowd had streamed in
I realised that during internships, things rarely turn out the way you expect, but they test your mettle and push you to think on your feet—and fast! These are essential skills in the working world, and I couldn’t help but watch in awe at the way my supervisor and fellow colleagues handled this, even if, to them, being short of application forms seemed to be a normal problem.
The F&N Team at the Yangon Job Fair 2016
Number 3. Be ready to take the lead and don’t be afraid to be the only one stepping up.
On preparation day, our F&N Myanmar colleagues set up the booth inside the hall and we also quickly secured a huge drinks booth location just outside the hall. With this in place, we killed two birds with one stone because the drinks booth allowed us not only to make quick sales to the public, it also helped to advertise the F&N brand. The hot weather accompanied by the huge turnout led to an amazing sale of 100PLUS and F&N NUTRISOY drinks that were wildly popular with the locals there. If it weren’t for the last minute idea to sell drinks, I don’t think we would’ve gotten the response we saw at the job fair.
The F&N Team at the drinks booth set up outside the Myanmar Event Park
All in all, I really cherished the privilege to embark on this business trip and I have definitely gained a deeper insight into the business world.
To all the interns out there, if you ever have an opportunity to go on a business trip overseas, take it! After all, what we truly want to learn and know about is the vast landscape of not just Singapore but the entire world. You will probably get to learn many life lessons out there in the marketplace, over and above what you can learn in the classroom.
Myself with the F&N Myanmar Country Manager, Mr Freddy Oh, at F&N Myanmar branch office
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