On the trail to employability
EVER wondered how it is like in the corporate world with deadlines to meet in numerous different projects — some running in parallel — and a mish-mash of personalities to work with to pull it all off?
This is the situation simulated in the annual CIMB Talent Trail 2017, a collaboration between Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp) and CIMB Group for Malaysian university students to enhance their employability skills. Now into its third edition, the high-energy challenge requires active team participation from university students with the objective of helping them apply and hone skills valued by today’s employers.
Recently concluded, the finale saw 60 successful finalist teams from 29 universities nationwide — out of the 313 teams that registered — ply the competition route across Kuala Lumpur either on foot or by public transport.
Apart from English language, interpersonal and communication skills, the tasks also required teamwork and adaptability in facing challenges, all within a stipulated time frame. Participants were provided a pre-loaded Touch ‘n Go card as an aid for public transportation.
The CIMB Talent Trail also requires registrants to answer questions on CIMB Group, TalentCorp and CIMB Fusion partners. CIMB Fusion is a unique graduate management programme for fresh graduates to gain exposure from both CIMB and an employer from a different industry.
In addition, this year’s challenge tested participants’ skills in digital and social media platforms to assess participants’ technological-savviness. Each finalist team had to submit a two-minute YouTube video that best encapsulates key learning from the CIMB Talent Trail 2017 in their quest to garner additional Challenge points.
“CIMB is passionate about talent development and the CIMB Talent Trail is one of our many activities that helps educate and prepare Malaysian students to enhance their employability. In today’s global and connected environment, a good command of English and proficiency in social media and digital channels will provide an edge and open up more career opportunities for job seekers. We would also like to thank TalentCorp for their assistance in extending our reach to university students nationwide,” said Datuk Hamidah Naziadin, who is CIMB Group chief people officer.
TalentCorp chief executive officer Shareen Shariza Abdul Ghani added: “The CIMB Talent Trail is an innovative programme that helps our young talents to enhance their employability and improve their transition into the workforce. We are pleased to collaborate with CIMB on this initiative, which serves as a great platform for our young Malaysians to test their skills through a series of exciting outdoor challenges.”
One of the activities this year also incorporated giving back to society. Students were tasked to sell cookies to the public, which requires negotiation and persuasion skills. All proceeds would go to Simply Cookies, a social enterprise that provides — through their childfriendly facilities — baking skills to single parents and their children.
Team C-E-O-S from Sunway University triumphed over 59 other teams of “talent trailblazers” to take home the top prize of RM5,000 cash. Meanwhile, Team AD Victoriam from Advance Tertiary College took the second prize amounting to RM3,000 cash while third place was occupied by Team Millennium X from Tunku Abdul Rahman College who won RM2,000 cash. All 28 winning teams were rewarded with cash prizes totaling RM25,000.
The winning team — Team C-E-O-S, Sunway University, comprising team leader BSc (Hons) Actuarial Studies student Karanbir Hundal, 30; BSc (Hons) Psychology student Amanda Lee Sing Nee, 22; ICAEW (Sunway TES) student Jolene Tay Chuan Phing, 21; and ACCA (Sunway TES) student Low Shu Yie, 21 — did not aim for the top spot but was motivated to put together a decent front and form strong collaborative relationships in order to complete each task in the challenge.
“We didn’t know each other before the competition — in fact, the first time we met was during dinner two hours before we drove up to Penang for the regional round! So we bonded along the way and by the finale, we were pretty solid. It was a little random experiment on my part, proving that people from different backgrounds with complementary skillsets can still come together and work well towards having a good time and if everything was aligned, maybe win,” said team leader Karanbir.
On what were the main challenges during the finale, Lee cited navigating through the game stations in Kuala Lumpur. “We took the wrong route and wasted around 10 minutes getting to one of the stations. Luckily for us, the final station didn’t take long for us to complete and we reached the finish line in time,” she said.
For Tay it was the time constraints and being resourceful. “We almost didn’t complete the last challenge due to the lack of time management. Some challenges required us to think out of the box and to pull our resources together to get the best results,” she reflected.
Low added that the group’s goal was to balance well between time and scoring high points. “We made mistakes along the way, but we managed to give our best within the given time.”
For the group, being named the Grand Finale Champion validated the skills the members already had and made them realise avenues to be explored and skills to be improved upon.
“In terms of employability, it gave us a better understanding of what today’s employers look for and how we can complement the company in the values and contributions we can offer. We are more marketable now and future employers should keep a close lookout for us,” Karanbir remarked.
Lee said the CIMB Talent Trail helped them with their interview skills, in-depth research about companies as well as skills like teamwork, communication, and the English language.
“The main takeaway I got from the competition is to plan your steps and be able to make decisions in a pressured environment. Being able to compromise in a team and work together with the same goal in mind is also crucial. I believe that these are some of the skills sought by employers and can help contribute to the strong growth of the company,” Tay shared.
Low believes the CIMB Talent Trail has raised particpants’ awareness of how important employability skills are in the future. “The job market is increasingly competitive and we have to stand out to get the job we want. The competition provided useful insights on the skills needed for the job market. We are grateful for the exposure and will now continue to brush up on our skills,” he said.
The CIMB Fusion partners showcased in the CIMB Talent Trail 2017 were PwC, Accenture, Teach For Malaysia, ZICOlaw, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
CIMB is passionate about talent development and the CIMB Talent Trail is one of our many activities that helps educate and prepare Malaysian students to enhance their employability.”
The CIMB Talent Trail 2017 being flagged off by Datuk Hamidah Naziadin.
First prize winner team C-E-O-S from Sunway University (front row centre), second prize winner Team AD Victoriam from Advance Tertiary College and third prize winner Team Millennium X from Tunku Abdul Rahman College celebrating their victory.
Team C-E-O-S going through one of the tasks.