By Tom Hampshire
31 August – 4 September 2018
Team building and understanding contextual cultural values (Friday 31 August – Sunday 2 September: Langkawi Trip):
Nine members of the student intern team made use of Malaysia’s Independence Day celebrations by embarking on a trip to Langkawi island which is just off the north west coast of Malaysia for the weekend. This gave us an opportunity to strengthen our team whilst exploring Malaysian culture out of a corporate and urban setting. After checking into our hostel on Friday, we hired mopeds and headed to the spectacular Temurun waterfall, where we were able to go swimming and cliff diving. Travelling around the island on mopeds required us to work as a team, looking out for one another to ensure that we were all safe. Umar, one of my fellow interns had previous experience driving mopeds and so we delegated responsibility to him to direct us and travel at safe speeds keep us together as a group. The afternoon at the waterfall was followed by a sunset ride back to our hostel where we stopped off along the way at a beach to see the day off.
On Saturday, we headed to the Langkawi cable car, which takes you up the mountain with some amazing views. At the top of the cable car, there is a sky bridge, where you are able to soak up the views from. Our evening was spent at Tanjung Rhu beach in the north of the island where we swam and watched an amazing sunset, this was definitely one of the spectacular highlights of the trip for me so far. Upon arrival back at our hostel we were greeted by Jeff, one of the hostels receptionist who kindly got me a cake as it was my birthday, this really meant a lot to me and made the day even more special. The empathy and this kind of gesture just goes to show how generous Malaysian hospitality is.
We woke up with slightly sore heads on Sunday morning but to make the most of our final day we set off on the mopeds again to the eastern side of the island. Along the way, we stopped off on the side of the road to decide where to go, but when I went to turn my bike back on it wouldn’t start up! After a few minutes of desperate trying to get it started again we realised something went wrong, and it needs a serious repair to recover so we rolled it over to a parking spot and left it. Since we were on the other side of the island, I had to share by sitting back on another bike for the remainder of the trip! Luckily, the moped rental company understood our status and returned our deposits in full. This shows the people’s trust on foreigners and not exploiting the strangers, which could often the case in the developing country. Our final evening was spent at the beach where four of us decided to hire out jet ski’s to finish off what was an amazing weekend before we headed back to the airport for our flight back to Kuala Lumpur to resume our work on Monday morning!
We all had such an amazing time in Langkawi, it was a great opportunity to get to know others better outside of the work setting as team and understand the cultural values of the context. I have no doubt, this trip enabled me to work better together on activities over the remaining two weeks of the internship.
Understanding contemporary corporate culture (Monday 3rd September):
Monday began with a quarterly event at Time in the Town Hall. The Town Hall is where all employees at TIME HQ join together for a presentation update on the company’s performance over the last quarter. Much of the session was taken by Afzal, the CEO of TIME who spoke about TIME’s performance, providing reasoning as to why certain targets were not met while others were exceeded. This was followed by a stern talk about the integrity of TIME’s employees. The session ended with a Q&A session where staff members are given the opportunity to anomalously ask questions using an interactive platform. This incident was a revelation, as it demonstrated how TIME enables all its employees to have an inclusive voice and ask questions to senior staff members. The questions ranged from human welfare including gender diversity, childcare and buying company shares. Typically, one question is about extending the in house nursing room to women who are having baby where management paid due attention and positively responded to do it immediately. In addition, TIME HQ also asked the employees views on establishing a nursey within the premises for kids and received positive support to this initiative. The proceeding informed me the inclusive human resource practices where by aligning TIME’s philosophy of having employee’s happiness and satisfaction as a one among the priorities.
After lunch, we spent the afternoon with Mizi, solution specialist, where we did a workshop on PowerPoint presentation skills. We were given simple to complex exercises to gauge our familiarity and learn new features enabling us to become super-efficient in handling MS power point tool. In particular, I found this to be very useful because it will help me in my final year study at the university and the effective way of using tools and technique to create a story and communicate.
Learning successful business tips from CEO (Tuesday 4th September):
Tuesday began with a morning session with Jimmy who is the head of coverage or as some of fellow employees refer him as, the ‘money man’. It is his job to identify potential catchment areas for TIME to expand into and then do the arithmetic to estimate the financial feasibility of the project before presenting it to the board for approval. We have mentioned earlier the nature of our job with Jimmy, our job was to assess whether a neighbourhood in Penang would be worth investment for TIME to develop their infrastructure. This exercise consist of counting the number of houses in the area followed by mapping possible routes for the infrastructure to follow which then enables us to estimate the overall cost. In this session, we were under a lot of time pressure as we only had the morning to complete the task, however, with effective and efficient teamwork we managed to get it done just in time.
Following this hectic morning session with Jimmy we all headed to Serai Empire, a restaurant where we were had an opportunity to join lunch with Afzal, the CEO of TIME. I thought this was a wonderful experience because it gave us an opportunity to learn tacit knowledge and put forward any questions we had directly to the CEO. I thought what Afzal had to say was incredibly insightful, teaching us about the art-of-sales and the importance of product positioning, also putting a lot of stress on the need to step out of our comfort zones and expose ourselves to new opportunities in order to become successful.
After the lunch, we headed back to the office where we met Joey, the Head of Product department, whose job it is to design, develop and manage all of TIME’s products. During this session we were taught about TIME’s products which are: data, internet, data centres, managed services and voice (calls). For the second half of the session, we were split into two groups with a task to design an online promotion scheme for home broadband considering factors such as the price point, the timing of the promotion and the potential channels to advertise the promotion. After this task, we then presented our promotions to the team where we were given constructive feedback in terms of understanding of consumer behaviour and their role in creating an appropriate promotion.
We are now over halfway through the internship with TIME, and so far I have loved each and every day and I can only finish off this blog by saying how exited I am for the final two weeks, especially the trip to Penang to see the Cable Landing Station(CLS).