To survive and compete in today’s competitive job market, one has to stand out from the rest and reflect multiple skills that draw employer’s attention. These unique set of skills have to be developed throughout a person’s life by learning either through experience or through book reading. Nowadays, one has to indulge in various co-curricular activities in secondary or even primary education to be able to present him/herself in front of employers in the future. I, myself have participated in numerous extra-curricular activities throughout my A’ levels and after, especially after observing the 2009 job market debacle which had left countless number of graduates jobless (CBS News, 2009).
I’ve loved learning from a young age and believed that taking part in extra-curricular activities would help me become a successful adult in the future. I had always been an active member of the sports department in my school. From the 2nd year of my O’ levels in 2006 to the final year of my A’ levels in 2009, I had been a part of the college cricket team. It was an honour to be a part of the college team as I studied in the largest school of the city with over 300 students competing for the cricket team trials. In 2007, I also did an internship for 2 months in a local packaging company called ‘MacPak’. During my A’ levels, a group of us 6 friends organized a concert in which I was responsible for distributing flyers, putting up posters, advertising online on social networks and selling tickets. Additionally, during my gap year from 2009-2010, I did an internship for 6 months at Deutsche Bank.
Being involved in such activities helped me further develop and refine my existing skill set and enabled me to move along the sequential learning process (Fitts and Possner, 1967) from the Cognitive to the Associative phase. For instance, working as an intern at Deutsche Bank gave me the opportunity to improve my communication, teamwork and mentoring and coaching skills by allowing me to get practice and feedback in a practical setting.
One of the most important skills I learnt during my internship at Deutsche Bank was ‘Communication’. According to ‘Merriam Webster’ (2011) communication is defined as “The exchange of ideas, opinions and information through written or spoken words, symbols or actions.” In a business environment, I believe communication is one of the most important aspects required in smooth running of a work place’. Working as an intern in the Banking and Cash Operations (BCO) department of the bank involved daily communication with my seniors in and out of the department, my managers, bank’s customers, clerical staff as well as other interns. With different groups I had a different style of communicating e.g. I always spoke formally with my senior managers and relatively informal with other interns. As the months passed by, I could see the confidence in me growing day by day, refining my day to day communication. Communicating with other banks and customers through letters and emails helped me improve my written communication skills too.
After about three months there, I was left with much more responsibilities than what I had started with. Dealing with clients at the counter was something new to me but through proper training from my seniors I learnt how to deal with customers properly. I was surprised how such minor things like the way of greeting and face expressions can have an impact on the customer. The experience taught me methods to avoid barriers in communication practically. The use of feedback in the workplace and understanding the importance of it practically was a whole new experience. Also, during my fifth month I was told to prepare a report on one of the clients and then present it in front of my department. That 7 minute presentation really gave a boost to my verbal communication skills and confidence in presenting. By the end of my internship, these communication skills were all captivated in me and...
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