Hi! I’m Charmaine, and I am an undergraduate at the Singapore Management University. I heard about FT Consulting from a friend who used to work with them for a number of years and all the high praises she showered her FT experience with drew me into reading up about the company. Upon realising that their business portfolio aligns with my field of interest and study, I promptly applied for the internship programme.
The interview with the company was where I had my first taste of their culture and priorities. My interviewer was one of the partners of FT and I had one of my most interesting interviews with him. More often than not, most interviewers would ask a similar set of questions but here, my interviewer asked me many questions which I did not expect; They were not difficult or tricky questions but questions which were aimed at getting to know me as a person and my story.
It felt like a conversation with a mentor where he really wanted to comprehend my needs and whether the company could provide for that.
Over the course of my internship, I was entrusted with tasks relating to two separate projects focusing on Employee Engagement Review and Branding. My mentor, Lillian, decided to put me into these two project teams after having a conversation regarding my interests and the areas I wanted to learn or experience. Furthermore, knowing that Winter internships are, unfortunately, only one month long, she made sure these project phases that she assigned me with could come to a close within the time I complete my internship.
I am especially thankful that Lillian allowed me to be part of the branding project I was in; While I have no experience and just minimal knowledge about that topic, she decided to entrust me with it and allow me the opportunity to get my hands on it to try it out.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the entirety of my internship was spent working from home. Despite all the unfortunate circumstances, Lillian saw me as part of the FT family and took my growth and experience on herself; She tried to involve me in all the discussions relating to the two projects and even included me in the visitation of the client’s company one week into the internship.
While Lillian is one of the partners of FT, she is extremely approachable and friendly; She never fails to bring positive energy into the team through her jokes or her heartfelt encouragement when she senses discouragement. Lillian also always seeks to innovate and develop new ideas; Even when we are out for meals, she would always stop to look at the different marketing materials of companies and comprehend their business structure. It was tremendously inspiring to witness her humble and passionate spirit leading different teams.
Carrying this spirit into our mentorship, she made sure to list out clear objectives for me for both projects from the start. This guided me and allowed me to identify areas I should focus on improving or to give extra attention to. She has helped me to learn to be self-directed and to prioritise my learnings and growth.
Significance of Relationships
I have gained so much from my internship. But one of my main takeaways from FT is the importance of focusing on people and relationships. FT is a busy company with many projects and clients, so naturally, it is so easy to overlook their employees or to simply treat their clients simply as clients. However, everyone in FT is people-oriented and seeks the best for everyone they work with; The Chairman and Managing Partner kept nagging at the entire team to take a break over the Christmas and New Year period and to shut off from work as much as they could. I remember Lillian encouraging a few of the client’s employees after sensing a huge weight of discouragement from them.
They helped me see that being a good consultant takes more than intelligence and creativity; It is also about understanding people and picking up on the needs and desires of people even when they cannot verbalise them.
All in all, I’m deeply thankful to have been part of the FT family and to have learnt from them. If I had any regrets, it would just be the extremely short amount of time I had with the team.
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