By the SMU Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre
SMU Yong Pung How School of Law (YPHSL) student Cheryia Chomrat is no stranger to Indonesia — having come to know the country famed for its multicultural islands well during her vacations there. So when the time came to pick an internship destination, she had little hesitation in choosing the ASEAN country.
Through the Overseas Virtual Internship Programme (OVIP) organised by SMU’s Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre (DKHMCC), Cheriya took on an internship with a Jarkarta-based company. The month-long experience expanded her mindset on career options she could pursue with her degree in the future.
Although currently pursuing Law, Cheriya has always had an interest in private equity and real estate. Unfortunately, in her search for an internship in the field of real estate, she came across roadblocks; many of such roles required applicants to have a background in either finance or real estate.
It was while browsing DKHMCC’s career portal OnTrac that Cheriya came across PT Genesis Indojaya – a real estate development company based in Jakarta, Indonesia – that was recruiting law undergraduates as interns. The company acquires distressed buildings for development which targets foreign talents, the elderly and travellers as tenants, and at the same time seeks investors for these developments.
After speaking with her Indonesian friends and recalling her past experiences there, she realised that the populous country – with many successful businesses catalysing on its development – was chock-full of valuable opportunities.
Best of all? The internship did not require candidates to have a background in real estate — a perfect fit for Cheriya! With the assistance of DKHMCC, Cheriya even received the Global Ready Talent (GRT) overseas grant for the virtual internship and with that, took her first steps into the real estate industry.
From classroom lectures to live application
As a Law Intern, Cheriya was actively involved in the legal matters of PT Genesis Indojaya, reviewing legal documents such as contracts, investment proposals and conducting legal research. The courses she had completed in the YPHSL were no longer just theory — Cheriya saw first-hand how the knowledge she had picked up in school could be applied in real-world scenarios.
Cheriya particularly valued the opportunity to learn more about Indonesian law — an exposure that would have been difficult to come by in a local internship. Despite being based in Indonesia, PT Genesis Indojaya had strong ties with investors in Singapore. This presented Cheriya with the opportunity to observe how transnational investment and collaboration was enacted in practice. She recounts this experience as one of the main takeaways of an ASEAN internship, and counts the scale of transnational business today as a main reason every opportunity to work with parties outside of Singapore’s borders should be appreciated.
Due to her interest in real estate and investments, Cheriya was also given a unique opportunity to work with others on an investment project. Together with other interns, she took responsibility for building pitch decks for an upcoming development to attract potential investors. Cheriya saw how the presentations she had given in school had prepared her for a real-world project pitch, as she communicated clearly and effectively with potential investors and her project team alike.
Broadening the horizons of her degree
The opportunity to participate in the investment project served as a valuable springboard for Cheriya to explore her interest. When reflecting upon her internship experience, she shares, “I learnt that I should be more open to exploring different industries. Law plays a prevalent role in almost every industry, particularly in real estate development. This gave me a new perspective of law and made me excited to discover aspects of law within an industry that I’ve always been interested in.”
Her learning at PT Genesis Indojaya was further enhanced by the mentorship that she received. Cheriya’s supervisor is a practising lawyer who provided her with many insights into the practice, from showing her the differences between how law is practised in Singapore and Indonesia, to sharing with her ways she could immerse herself more within the real estate industry.
Benefitting from strong mentorship
Despite most of the internship taking place online, Cheriya and her peers had the opportunity to meet their supervisor and mentor in person — a meeting that left her with nuggets of wisdom which deeply resonated with her. Throughout the internship, her mentor had been deliberate in guiding her; in the mornings, he met her to check in on her assigned work – which provided the opportunity to raise any question she might have. Over the course of the day, interns could also request for consultations with their supervisor to address any roadblocks they might be facing.
Virtual internship, face-to-face mentorship! Cheriya (second from right) and her fellow interns got to sit down for a meal with supervisor and PT Genesis Indojaya co-founder, Darren Chua (right)
Thanks to the guidance of her mentor, Cheriya completed the internship feeling encouraged and ready to take her next step into the industry. He even went the extra mile to put in a recommendation for her to a law firm where she could build on her exposure.
While the virtual internship was a memorable experience for Cheriya, she recognises the benefits of an in-person ASEAN internship. Particularly in the real estate industry, she sees the value of physically visiting the developments in Indonesia they had been pitching to investors. Fortunately, with international travel opening up again, opportunities for in-person internships are now available. Embarking on these internships promises invaluable exposure to countries with tight international relations with Singapore, and opens doors to one’s career — just like what the ASEAN Internship did for Cheriya.
The ASEAN Internship Programme (AIP) and Overseas Virtual Internship Programme (OVIP) are part of the offerings provided by Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre (DKHMCC) to encourage students to build up an international network and be Global Citizens. Apply for an ASEAN Internship via OnTraC now.
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