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Learning from scratch as an intern

Learning from scratch as an intern

  • 9 September 2019
  • By Kenneth Tan
  • 5 mins read

Learning from scratch as an intern

Photocopying invoices? No.

Coffee errands? No.

Boring? No.

Kenneth Tan’s stints with OCBC were definitely more than that.

Singapore Polytechnic (SP) student, Kenneth, was pursuing a diploma in HRM Psychology and was looking to fulfil his school’s compulsory 6-month internship requirement. With dreams to work in a multinational corporation, interest in talent management and a mother with over 30 years’ experience in banking, OCBC Group Human Resource (GHR) naturally became his top internship company choice.

March 2018 marked the beginning of Kenneth’s journey with OCBC. He started out as an intern, supporting his colleagues in the planning and execution of the then Young Bankers (YB) Programme, now fondly known as the Graduate Talent Programme (GTP). Hands-on experience in organising this structured programme to prepare the select pool of graduates for their division-specific roles within OCBC, enabled him to put concepts he was taught in school into action. The more he learnt, the more he realised he did not know.

To Kenneth, the internship was a taster of what working in OCBC GHR would be like. He wanted more. Upon his graduation from SP and waiting to serve the nation, Kenneth chose to re-join OCBC again as a temporary staff, in hopes to explore more within the bank. This time, he contributed to initiatives inclusive but not limited to Employee Resource Group Life Refresh and Kids@Work.

A memorable project that Kenneth undertook was the OCBC Scholarship 2018 selection. Since the 1970s, the OCBC Public Scholarship has been providing financial assistance to help bright and promising youths in achieving their ambitions. Kenneth oversaw the end to end process, from sifting through hundreds of applications to inducting all scholars at the final ceremony. It was through which he developed a deeper appreciation for the bank’s commitment to nurturing talented and outstanding individuals and developing their full potential through quality education.

As Kenneth reflects on his two stints with OCBC, he expresses his gratitude to his team for the opportunities given to gain insights on how large organisations build talent pipelines. More importantly, he is ever grateful to have met patient and friendly colleagues who willingly guided him and addressed any technical issues that he faced. Most of all, he is thankful his supervisor, who became his lifelong mentor. Outside of work, this mentor@mentee pair would reconnect over meals and phone conversations. Kenneth fondly recollects one interaction, where his supervisor discussed his career aspirations and shared the importance of finding purpose and joy in one’s work.

Afterall, as Steve Jobs, a pioneer of the microcomputer revolution, advises: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Kenneth came into these work stints hoping to put the pieces together and figure out if he was on the right track. Not only is his curiosity satiated and interest in human resource reaffirmed, he had picked up soft skills such as project management and self@branding that he believes he will carry through to adulthood.

Meaningful? Yes.

Enlightening? Yes.

Eye-opening? Yes.