The flexing season is finally here. From a Facebook group to a myriad of boasting posts, flexing is no longer a social taboo but a recognized human right for those who achieved amazing feats by means of talent (Luck is also counted).
And when it comes to VinUni, we can't help but admire Lam Duy, the junior who got to intern at some of the biggest, most coveted multinational corporations in the world.
Duy has every reason to flex, if he ever wants to.
After all, the barriers are super high for students who wish to break into the competitive realm as a Shopee Business Development Intern or BCG Case Team Assistant. But big brand names are not the only things that make these internships worthy.
To Duy, what sets Shopee apart is their sought-after Shopee Apprentice Program, which provided him with high-value tasks equivalent to those of an associate’s scope of work, rather than mundane administrative work.
I had the exciting opportunity to build a compelling landing page for a project named Home Club, collaborate with sellers, and develop a comprehensive 5-figure-budget marketing plan for a month. These responsibilities allowed me to directly contribute to revenue generation and attract new users to the app.
In other words, Duy was given the chance to feel like he was a valuable and useful asset to the team and that he was making real changes to the company. Psychology names this feeling “the pleasure of being the cause” after babies’ observed happiness when they make something move with their hands.
As such, Shopee had become his favorite internship experience. Working in a super fast-paced e-commerce industry, Duy thrived on the constant challenge to adapt to ever-changing organizational structure due to the over-hiring period of tech companies during Covid-19 as well as keep up with the heavy workload. The internship also introduced Duy to the diverse world of e-commerce with industry’s best practices that keep Shopee leader of the field and terminology, such as GMV, ADO, and Spike day.
Everyday at work was another day to learn.
The time at Jardine Matheson was equally remarkable. As Hong Kong's esteemed third-largest conglomerate, the company’s portfolio spanned across multiple industries, from property, F&B, automotive to cargo, and retail. This diversity also reflected in the everyday conversations Duy held with his fellow interns, who came from different countries like Singapore and the UK.
Since we were assigned to various industries within Jardine, everyone would bring up literally anything, from digitizing payment systems in the elevator industry to optimizing pizza sales on food aggregator platforms, whenever we got to talk.
But the best part about interning at big corps lies elsewhere. Even before officially starting, Duy was fully-funded for a four day trip to Hong Kong, during which time he got to learn how to do and work like a real HongKong person. From making new friends to indulging in the vibrant nightlife of Lan Kwai Fong and savoring delicious dim sum, the experience was truly enriching on both personal and professional levels.
Of course, Duy has his other side of the story as well.
In reality, internships are not all that glitz and glam. During his time working as a Case Team Assistant at BCG, Duy learned it the hard way.
Work-life balance is not really a thing in consulting. In fact, I often found myself working tirelessly from 9 am to 9 pm, sacrificing weekends and losing sleep.
To make matters worse, the internship was taking place right in the middle of VinUni’s online learning phase and Duy was left with no option but to let go of his studies to the point of taking midterms during work hours. Probably, the only thing to flex about is that he was still determined to sit for the exam, even with such a tight schedule.
What is to flex then?
Lack of personal lives and low scores, as much as I hate to romanticize the hustle culture, can actually signify that changes are happening and you are making priorities for your life. In the case of Duy, he learned that everything that happened to him as an intern amounts to something, including the so-called mundane tasks like document printing, translation, data entry, and minute-taking.
At school, we learn about business strategy and create marketing campaigns as if we were C-level executives or board members. However, internships focus more on executing the smallest tasks rather than formulating grand plans.
The whole idea behind most internships, thus, was: If you cannot get a document printed properly, what more could you really do?
But we could learn more from Lam Duy’s journey even before he landed himself an internship. In the months leading up to his jobs, Duy had self-taught to effectively research suitable companies and flawlessly market himself on LinkedIn. The result was impressive. Within a short time, Duy found himself forming connections with professionals from his desired companies and successfully secured coffee chats with people from the consulting field. As a LinkedIn user myself, Duy’s enormous networking efforts are nothing short of clever and strategic, traits rarely seen in most teenagers who view social media as more of an entertainment platform than a career springboard.
And so with the disruptive mindset, the audacity to make hard sacrifices, and the ability to reach out and learn, Duy’s to-flex profile is complete. The problem here is: He is more of a to-do guy.
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