Episode 16: Dan Swift – CEO at Empire Selling – Insights With Experts – by Discere
From science to entrepreneurship, Chun Kit Choi has immersed himself in a wide variety of initiatives. In 2018, he graduated from the National University of Singapore after studying Physics. This came after he had previously spent two years in the Singapore army reaching the rank of Lieutenant as an Air Warfare Officer. In addition, Chun has taken on numerous student initiatives. This included roles such as being lead organizer of ‘Startup Weekend’ as well as acting as Vice President of the NUS Young Entrepreneurs Association. However, what arguably sets Chun apart is his ability to learn through a variety of diverse work experiences. When it comes to internships, there are not many people who could give better advice in fulfilling our potential. While taking on several high profile internships in the past, his most recent situated him at Salesforce.
A Quick Summary:
It is important for students to realise the invaluable benefits of pursuing internships, even when we may not be receiving any payment for them. As someone who has a depth of experience in a variety of internships, Chun was able to shed light on three valuable reasons for taking on internships.
- Exploration and Personal Growth – What we study in school or college is often very different from what is demanded in professional work. Internships allow us to get a taste of the future work environments as well as give us an idea of what we could potentially pursue.
- Development of New Skill Sets – Through working in internships, you will get the chance to work with people and take on tasks which are not presented to you in any academic environment.
- Build your Experience and Network – Through taking on a range of internships, you are building your value for your future employer. The networks created in these internships mean your future employer is aware of your skillset and what you can bring to the table.
While the value of internships is acknowledged, the next question we asked was how students can make the most out of them. According to Chun, the answer to this question revolved around the students’ mindset. The first step we should take when joining a new business is identifying the skills which we will demand of us, each company is different from the next so we should learn to adapt to this new environment. The next step is to pursue these skills at your best ability, convey to your bosses and mentors that you are capable of performing as a component of the company. Being given greater responsibilities is often a sign that you are being realised as a valuable intern. In addition to fulfilling your role at the company, you should ensure that you are able to take something away as you leave. This can often come in the form of networking. We should learn about our mentors and seek the advice and stories we can learn from them.
As said previously, seeking advice from your mentors is an extremely valuable action to take. As we asked Nick what the most valuable piece of advice he’s ever received was, he gave us a varying important insight. We shouldn’t let our title as interns restrict what we are able to bring to the team. The moment we treat ourselves as interns and only offer what is usually expected of an intern, our mentors and bosses will see us the same way. Impression is a vital factor to take into account, what others think of us isn’t as malleable as we may perceive it to be. Therefore, we should always give our all in despite what role we are given.
When asked the classic Discere question, Chun responded with a memorable piece of advice. While we should explore, learn and focus on what we love, we should not let our primary passion deter us from engaging in other breath experiences. A common misconception is that we are only restricted to what we choose to study. Chun reminded us that we can always ‘carve out our own path’ and that it is never too late to do so.
From the interview I have felt that I have learnt more about the opportunities which an internship can offer someone and about the importance of the experience when it comes to your employment. I also received a response about the skill sets an engineer should have and about how the expert being interviewed overcome their weaknesses. Overall it was an interesting talk and It was a pleasure to be part of.
Rhys Stone – Foundation Engineering student in Malaysia aspiring towards mechanical engineering
The podcast with the expert, Chun Kit Choi, was quite helpful in allowing me to see the unique perspective of someone who has gone through a variety of different experiences to mine. I learned the importance of taking initiative and learning skills beyond what is taught in school, and the types of skills that one can gain through a virtual internship that they may not get out of a physical one. It was beneficial to meet the expert as I also learnt what to pay attention to and how to get the most out of internships and work experience in order to form useful new connections. I would definitely recommend getting on this podcast to meet an expert for anyone who has an interest in and would like to ask some questions about a topic.
Wei Loong Chan – Current IB Diploma Student aspiring to pursue physics