Friday, August 26, 2016

Axiata ULDP 2016 (Part 3)


A very fun and interactive game, but if you don't know how to plan your finances, you'd always be stuck in the 'rat race', possibly facing a bankruptcy suit in the near future. Again, you have to take calculated risks in order to succeed. But the problem is, we didn't know how. 

Our group was afraid to take risks in the start, but we eventually expanded our operations, and our salesmen Gary and Noah sealed some pretty good deals towards the end of the games, which enabled us to generate a positive cash-flow in the last year. A huge leap from 45M loss in the previous year.

Karishma was the CEO, and I sensed her stress and anxiety because people always asked her what are her plans for the company. She wanted to hide, but there was nowhere to hide. And she be like:

No, you've got the wrong person. Karishma is next door!
And then, she turned to me, "So, Yin Chien, what are your production plans?" And I be like:

Buddy you askin' me?
Again Vincent was the finance guy, and he went berserk when Gary sold off our assets to get cash (to sustain our failing company) and disrupted his holy grail projection. \(@_@)/

What I learned from this sim: 
  1. The person who owns the "money-generating assets" first will dominate the market. 
  2. If you want to win, you have to play big or don't play at all. By this I meant taking calculated risks and act on them.
  3. Quoting Vee (was that you?): "Business is war!" No hard feelings guys, it's just a game. Honestly, though it hurt some people's feelings, that move was so unexpected I actually felt impressed. That's probably how the acquisition and mergers are initiated in real life. 


This is by far the most stressful one, giving you a little more than 12 hours to get everything done including sleep time. 

Our team is hands down the sleepiest one in the battlefield. We treasure sleep more than anything else because if we don't sleep enough we automatically shut down. 

Vincent is pretty much a walking-dead after 1am. But give him sleep (and a sprinkle of fairy dust), he will come back with a super brain.   
When the clock strikes 3 (am), Emily: f**k this, I'm going to bed! (albeit still in a very soft, polite manner) - at this point, everybody reached a consensus to rest our bloodshot eyes, but the finance team was still going strong (Karishma and Gary).

When the clock strikes 5 (am), Karishma:

Yi Xin, Noah and Adi came up with a really nice design for our brand. They got nominated but sadly didn't win. Still proud of you guys! I witnessed so much change in Yi Xin as she totally transformed into a different person in this challenge. She became so much more confident and comfortable in her own skin. *hugs*

Even though we didn't win anything, it was cool to see many amazing end-products from other teams! In such a short time, they managed to produce masterpieces! So much creativity and humour - fantastic job guys!


Gary repeated 3 times (something along the lines of), "Guys, this company has no future. Let's tell the CEO to sell this company, donate all the money to the kids in Somalia and spend the rest of his life playing golf in Zimbabwe."

It was hard, even without the scandal. 

We asked for financial reports, but what we got were pieces of loose information here and there. Turns out you have to be very precise when requesting.

In the end, Gary had to ask for help from Suriah for additional information. You can always count on him to call in favours because he is such an excellent PR guy/friendly competitor. (Thanks, little Sunshine for the data!)

I was in finance with Karishma this time round, but I was doing the expense-cutting and generation of cash flow with Adi while Karishma did the projection with Gary's help. I have no idea how he managed to come up with rational numbers when Karishma and I were both stuck - you really have to give him credit for quick grasp of things.

Vincent was the CEO, and he regretted handling back the docs to PA that he started to retreat into his own imaginary world, thinking of things that might have been different if he chose another method. Actually the best way is to do what Hamsya did: doctrine of separated equity.

Emily became very efficient in identifying the important parts and planning for the future. She told me she's beginning to get used to this. She is very smart and opinionated but very humble and polite, which is why I heart her even more.

The switch wasn't entirely unexpected but it hit close to home. You feel like you're being torn apart from your ohana, like till death do us meet (even though they're just moving next door). We were almost in tears. (ಥ_ಥ)

John and Shu Yuan are so nice, helpful that accepting that I regretted not smiling to them more when we first met. I was still railing from shock and sadness to see my kakis gone that I had forgotten to be kinder to them. Sorry! I love you guys! ٩(♡ε♡ )۶


To be continued...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Axiata ULDP 2016 (Part 2)


Everyone gathered at the Axiata Tower for the opening ceremony. After registration and some awkward self-introductions downstairs, we were herded upstairs where individual photos were taken.

Breakfast was nasi lemak! No complaints, it's my favourite Malaysian dish ever. And I haven't had any yet since coming back from US, so I'm pretty happy about it.

After that, some speeches from Axiata's top leadership (Tan Sri Jamal, Datin Badrunnisa). It was quite enlightening to hear that sometimes people don't necessarily end up where they started with. Tan Sri Jamal came from IT background, Datin Badrunnisa studied Biochemistry and Pharmacology, but both came to work for Axiata, a telco group. Tan Sri Jamal is all for learning as much as you can, no matter what branch that knowledge is from. Seems to correspond to Robert Kiyosaki's learning style.


Like what Jay thought, it's definitely a breeze. 14 days of holidays in an exclusive highland retreat. 

You wish.  

Axiata uses heuristic means to teach us about the business world. We are left to do all the nitty gritty stuff ourselves, with minimal dubious hints here and there from the facilitators. But really, you just have to figure out the whole picture yourself or risk getting eliminated in the games. If left alone, I probably would have teared apart any encephalic matter present in my head.

How I Met Your Mother

Most of the times, I felt dumb and just wanted to pull my hair out. The level of frustration is high. I hated not knowing anything and not knowing where to start learning (because almost everybody is clueless).

But in a way it pushes us to come up with something (anything at all), so I guess it actually works?

Also, once you get the gist of it, the metaphorical light-bulb will shine brightly in your head. Raw financial data is not a huge problem to us anymore cos now we know how to analyze the important parts.


These people are ohana.


I'm gonna admit it felt bad not being able to contribute as much to the team. Gary was busy doing all the thinking and presentation layout strategy, while Vincent (psychology major) was busy scrunching numbers which did not seem to make sense to anyone in the group. (But finally he got it! Bravo for having quick brains.)

That said, I think I did a pretty well in terms of artistic design for the advertisement, thanks to the help of Noah, Yi Xin, Adi, Emily and Karishma. And of course, Adi did an awesome job on the video as well.

One thing I think we could've improved on is people management. A huge part of the group did not know what to do or what they could do to help. But on second thoughts this is unavoidable because:

(a) We don't know what we are doing
(b) We don't know enough to direct others to do something we don't know

It boils down to numbers. If you understand the numbers, you are king. 

Presentation wise, Gary, Vincent and Emily are pretty strong. So are Noah, Adi, Karishma and Yi Xin (unpolished raw gemstones). Me, I always have my moments of jimjams. My brain reacting slowly is something I really need to work on. Debate Club, perhaps? To improve my overall fluency. And maybe take up a marketing crash course to learn how to sell/pitch with confidence. Any suggestions?

I hope the heavy workload that comes with the new sem doesn't wash my initial plans down the gutter again. Malaysian education is too much about homework and memorization and too little about reflection and self-discovery. Gonna try to make time to do what I wanna do though.  (๑◕︵◕๑)


This is one of the fun ones, and perhaps one of the easiest ones (for those who are in the audience seats). 

What I learned from this simulation:

whatever unimpressed come on bitch please cmon

1. When people ask you what if questions, just reply with pure logic. Do not hike up your stakes to meet unrealistic demands. It's ok to be bitchy stand your ground if you have a reason to be.

2. Balance between personal interest and public interest. Do not promise more than you can give.

3. Don't claim credit for something you haven't done. Be smart. -(●-●)-

To be continued...



This didn't come until later in the week. BUT.

To keep things interesting...

Here's a game, first started by Gary. 

It messed up my brain so much now I wanna mess up yours.

ULDP 2016 participants, please don't answer cos y'all know the answer already. ;)

A is a half-boiled egg
B is a leather jacket
C is your mom

What is D?
Leave your answers in the comments below.

Axiata ULDP 2016 (Part 1)

It all started with the Facebook Ad which kept popping up on my timeline, when I was still in America. 

After seeing it for maybe 3 times, I finally clicked into it to see what it's all about. Then, I found out that it's a 14-day camp for nurturing future leaders. Hmm, sounds interesting, but I needed more details. My first thought? I'm gonna join this camp, get a good story and write an article. Looking at the dateline, I still have time to apply after I return to Malaysia, so I bookmarked the page for application later.

I started snooping around for more details, mainly by asking my good friend Mr. Google. Then, I found several blog posts regarding this camp, which led to 3 bloggers/past attendees of the camp. Then, I used FB to track these people down, sending messages to all 3, but only one person replied. If you're reading this, yes, that's you Ken. (Ken is now my friend. LOL.)

Fast forward to post-submission, I received a call on Friday asking me to go down to Axiata Tower for an interview on the following Monday. But I was working for my attachment (I nego-ed with boss to have it done earlier cos I have plans to get diving license in Redang in August if ULDP plan fails), so I unabashedly asked for a telephone interview instead. (See how much balls I have?)

On an afterthought, I regretted it because it kinda made me sound like I wasn't interested at all. So I emailed them saying I will take a one-day leave to attend the interview in person, but the organizer replied saying, "no need, everything is arranged (for phone interview)." So alarms started ringing in my head, crying out "you're dead! you're dead! you're dead!"

On Monday, the interviewer called on time, and asked me questions like: 

1. Tell us about your leadership experience
2. One achievement in leadership
3. If there's one thing you can change, what would it be?

I bullshitted my way through prepared a set of bullet-points with whatever I think I wrote in the application earlier, but I was nervous and there was a lot of grammar mistakes. I'm not a good speaker, so naturally some kind of preparation is required.

At the end of the interview, I asked when will we be getting the results, and she said, next week.

Two weeks passed and I didn't hear anything from them. I made plans for Redang. UM organized a camp for diving license at Redang for RM800. BUT they later increased it to RM1000, so plan cancelled.

While I was wondering what to do with my life, I received an email from Axiata saying I was selected for the camp.

My first response: I must be a backup cos someone couldn't go. Cos it has been 3 weeks since the phone interview. 

My second thought: Oh well, since I got chosen.. might as well go!

*Please forgive my grammar mistakes, if any. I'm not checking what I wrote cos I'm sleepy. Do let me know if you find any though. Thanks!