Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dilemma: Network or Passion

Have you ever been in the position that you had an option, a choice, or a decision that you know would influence your way of thinking ? Were you in a networking event that you just wanted to get the business card of an influential individual rather than approaching a company that you know you have very strong interest in?

I was in a similar situation just 2 months ago. Here I was, being a budding student again with my fellow summer students and aspiring part-time school-goers. I was spoil for choice.

Option 1: Work with a very knowledgeable Individual that I was trying to build network with, BUT in a topic that I am relatively familiar with - Marketing.

Option 2: Taking the risk and taking a completely new field to me - Finance & Banking with a group of unproven individuals.

I took option 2. In hindsight, zero regrets. Mind you, option 1 was working in a particularly intellectual man, who has an MBA from Stanford, and has worked with Apple. Ideally, it would be nice if he were to lead the Option 2 topic.

To make the most out of it, which I did, my teammates were not especially sure of how and where to start. Using the basic concept of ironing out core principles, and as an engineer, we created a workflow that was so fitting to the theme of the night. With structure now in place, we were able to navigate through the topic swiftly.

The structure was to evaluate who ultimately manages the risk in the financial world. We spoke about evolution of banks, roles of central banks, credit agencies, legislation in place and finally shadow banking. Our approach was tending towards repealing the financial world altogether: radically discoursing central banks and eliminating shadow banks for the better good.

My learnings were three-fold at the end of the day.
1) Stepping into unfamiliar territory but forcing yourself to learn with a passion helps expedite learning
2) Leveraging on my network with a former banker in a investment bank helped understood the process better
3) To repeat is to master - I used my knowledge from my previous class in operational skills and presentation skills to create what I would call a 90% near-flawless presentation.

Moral of the story: To take risk with a passion is to enjoy a higher return and self-satisfaction. 

Friday, May 09, 2014

A lapse of time

It feels too long that I have not blogged. Writing a piece of journey down use to be an enjoyable past-time, now it seems more like a passing thought that ends up in some corner of my cerebrum.

Fast forward 2014, I have achieved a remarkable feat since coming to Boston. It is the first time, I probably feel like I have utilized my time beyond utilization. I've signed up for dancing, night education class, picked up snowboarding and accomplished many other goals that would not have been possible.

Work wise, I've blended well into the team but still lack knowledge of the systems. I envisaged the need to really go through them again otherwise I'll be far behind.

I wouldn't say I've met too many people, but enough people to keep my week busy. My typical work has been getting crazier, eating out most of the time and not really having time for myself.

Monday: Dance
Thursday: Night Class
Friday: Dance or Sleep in
Saturday:  Someone's event?
Sunday: Lazy Sundays or just in the park

Now, that doesn't look too busy but it feels as though my schedule has been packed. I'm not complaining by any means but it has been a lovely time doing things and running around.

Lets hope Q3 and Q4 targets will be hit. 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

High closing to eventful 2013

A quick recap of 2013. I guess everyone at some of point of life should sit back and reflect on things that has happened.

Jan - Posting to Kuantan + Socialising
My final 6 months of rotation. I was sent to Kuantan for a 4 months posting. Little did I know I will spend almost 11 months there.
Also, Tosin talked me through things and it was a year when I started meeting a lot of new and interesting people

March/April - Indon + Cambodia
Amazing family trip with 5th uncle to Indon where I actually approached the air stewardess !
Cambodia was a grand reunion of the PE1 boys. We were literally drench in sweat every step we took but enjoyed every single bit of it.

May - Biodiesel
My amazing mentor left the company and I was so lucky to be transferred to another mentor. My life in commissioning and taking actual responsibilities officially starts. Also, to land of many opportunities where things started to fall into place

Sept - Successful in Transfer
Luck must've fell upon me when I was successful in gaining an internal transfer to Boston. Yes, valuable overseas experience again !

Nov - London and Arrival in the US
As though I've never left London. Every 2 hours was meetups with old buddies. I can't say how much I've missed them.

A new beginning to the end of the year. An amazing team to be part of, and a wealth of knowledge to gain from. Hello Massachusetts.

Backlogged of resolutions
1) Investment - I still have not invested in any equities
2) Professional papers - GMAT was half hearted, CIMA was not beyond the printing machine
3) Motor License - 5 more lessons to exams but never was too motivated

Friday, August 02, 2013

Starting up an old plant

Starting an old plant is fun. Dangerous but fun. Exhausting but fun. Always running after deadlines but fun.

I've heard 2 stories about urgency so far.

1) Previous boss had to put a mechanical seal in the taxi from KL to Kuantan on a Saturday.
2) Another boss had to drive from the rural to the town in Sabah to get a pump on a Sunday.

My turn:
1) I have to take a 20kg motor with me on the bus on a Friday night to Kuantan.

Rest and behold, i have now my own story to tell.

Then I have safety stories:

1) Contractor saw a guy got killed from a site glass when tightening during air test
2) Boss saw a guy got blind on one eye when acid splash happened.

My turn:
1) my vision was blurred for half a day after minimal acid HCL 33% got in and thank god I had PPE on and flushed quick enough. 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Post-election blues

Many of my Malaysian brothers and sisters mourn the death of democracy today. The impossible truth of the incumbent government having all the 'resources' have been proven true.

Today, I voted. Being a first time voter, I spent the final night reading and watching videos of our politicians. Not having the time to read up on politics, I realised my lack of knowledge in it, or rather the lack of interest. All I know is, Malaysia can be a better place. As a fresh grad, I often look at my friends in the UK which jaw dropping expression whenever they purchase a new ride, a new house, or go on an expensive holidays.

Are we not equals? What is so different about what I am doing compared to them? And why are they making not twice, but up to five times more than I do? We studied together, they paid incredibly low fees, we all got equally good results, we got equally good offers, so what is the differentiator?

That their government, despite still being in recession has reaped in so much benefits post-war and oil era that Malaysia is not able to do?

Anyway, back to jumping around vessels tomorrow.