Chelsea Foo Mei Shi, National University of Singapore (NUS), 23, was an intern under the FRANKpreneurship Programme in the Global Consumer Financial Services (GCFS), Group Marketing division of the Bank.
Hi, I'm Chelsea. I'm in my final year at NUS majoring in communications. My internship with OCBC Bank is my fourth and honestly, most rewarding one. I developed an interest in e-payments during my previous internships and in particular the Internet of Things (IOT). When I heard about the OCBC FRANKpreneurship Programme, I knew it was where I wanted to be to learn about technology in finance, cards marketing and e-payment. I was not only eager to learn but to be pushed beyond my comfort zone. It would be unlike all my other internships. And I was right!
What was also really interesting for me was the possibility to be fast tracked from OCBC FRANKpreneurship Programme into the Graduate Talent Programme (GTP), which would lead to full-time employment in the Bank. I heard that OCBC often hires interns and the prospect of securing a full-time job was a real possibility. That got me really excited. Also, the internship will give me a very good sense of whether I am suited to and enjoy a career in the banking industry.
Getting through the selection process
The selection process was so strict! There were so many rounds to go through. Besides interviews, I took a test and delivered an online video pitch before being accepted. I understand the need to be strict though. It's nice to know that I'm working with others who made the cut. I knew there were many who applied so the Bank needed to assess competence, talent, interest and passion.
Starting out and getting into a rhythm
I'm interning in the marketing department, working on the FRANK debit card. We work on reaching out to the youth, specifically university students. We conduct research, campus outreach, sponsorships, online marketing and other means to meet the KPIs set for the FRANK business within the university segment.
Initially, the first week was tough and it took a while to adjust. However, after the first week, things were set up and I got into a rhythm. Everything was running well and I worked out a schedule with my direct supervisor. Now, we meet three times a week, as well as communicate through regular emails.
Due to COVID-19, all meetings are conducted through video. It took some getting used to but I took it in my stride. My bed was always right behind me but I learned to be very focused and that's great.
It was interesting working with my teammates for the Experience Day. We were assigned to groups and we never met in real life so it took some time to adapt to each other's personalities and working styles. Cues that we can obtain in real life was missing. So initially, there were some miscommunications and misunderstandings. We managed to learn how to work virtually and it all went smoothly at the end.
The Experience Day was quite stressful! My group's presentation was set at 12.30pm but at 12.15pm, my wi-fi wasn't working so I couldn't get in! At the last minute, they pushed our group to the end and we got to present. This is one of the common downsides of working from home (WFH)—unstable internet connections.
The judges' feedback was in-depth and helpful. Two judges gave very different feedback as they were from different departments. Initially, we were a little confused but we learned to view their feedback according to their needs and relevance to them. We took their feedback and refined our idea.
The feedback received was refreshing. The feedback we get in school is academic. In OCBC, we heard from judges who have long banking experience. Their feedback was specific, practical, real-world and they offered solutions to guide us in the right direction.
Freedom to grow
My mentor is very supportive. Having a good mentor is very important otherwise we'll remain clueless interns running around trying to make sense of things. My mentor is reassuring. He encourages me with statements such as, 'There's no such thing as a crazy idea' and 'Your idea is good. It's sustainable.' He gives me a lot of confidence and helps me mature.
I hear from my friends who intern elsewhere that their organisations are strict and have a tendency to overmanage. On the other hand, I experience a lot of guidance and encouragement but not micromanagement. This has helped me grow. I'm grateful and will continue to learn in the OCBC environment.
Overall, I'm really happy with the great internship.