Hi everyone, my name is Vidhi and I used to be a #GrabIntern. Buckle up tight as I take you through my rollercoaster internship journey at one of the coolest tech companies. Let me accelerate straight to why I believe that if you get an opportunity to intern at this company, just GRAB IT!
1. Autonomy & Ownership
Even with 7000 employees, Southeast Asia’s first Decacorn still retains its start-up culture and its flat hierarchy that engenders high autonomy. Interns can take ownership of high-impact projects, actively contribute to the decision making process, and successfully execute till the end.
As this was my first project, I thought that I would be told what to do and just follow the instructions. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the autonomy and the growth I experienced working on this one project. This didn’t mean negligence from managers, but rather I felt trusted as a subordinate to be able to think independently and critically about my projects and be accountable for my actions. My managers were always nearby to give me advice when I needed it.
I was tasked to launch an internal HR chatbot in 11 countries. This project taught me cultural sensitivity and the need to adapt my communication style. As I had to collaborate with many colleagues across 11 different countries, with different cultures and different working styles; my communication style had to be adapted to ensure effective understanding. It also required quick understanding of the problem, coming up with a sustainable solution, communicating with lots of stakeholders and making sure the launch was a success.
2. The Open Culture
I honestly believe that when you work at Grab, you are working in an environment which epitomizes the phrase “Ask and thou shall receive.” Whether it is asking a department head to tell you more about his/her department, or requesting to be part of a project you find interesting, or even disagreeing to the proposed course of action. As long as you ask, you will surely receive input and guidance.
I remember approaching a leader to tell her that the project she was working on sounded really interesting, and if she allowed me, I would love to help her out with it. For me it was a long shot; if I asked and she said yes, it would be the best thing but if she said no, I didn’t lose anything. So I approached her and to my surprise she agreed! That was how I ended up working on an HR analytics project. I was an Employee Engagement intern with no analytics background, just plain interest and intent to learn and Grab was willing to give me a chance.
I spent the next two weeks erring and learning along the way. I got to handle data, clean it up, analyse it, interpret it, and help predict the next course of action. This analysis was presented to the co-founder of Grab, which was a big kick for me! By the end of the project I had learnt so much that when I had to pass on this project to the next team, I handed it over to them with a list of “Things you should not do.” This list would ensure that they could learn from the problems I faced and how I overcame them, hence making their lives easier.
Such a culture that encourages HUNGER to learn in employees is invaluable to today’s millennials and is a perfect environment to grow.
3. It’s all about YOU
Most companies think of interns as an extra pair of hands needed during a peak period. At Grab, it was the other way around.
On my first day I was asked what I wanted out of this internship – my personal goals, my agenda and what I wanted to learn. My entire internship was then chalked out in order to achieve those targets. It was always about what they could teach me and never about how they could use me.
In my 6-month internship period I had two rounds of two-way feedback which allowed my manager to help me understand my strengths and areas of improvement; as well as for her to understand her strengths and areas of improvement as my manager. This feedback was so accurate that I remember my dad telling me that my manager had indeed understood me very well in just a few months!
4. Everyday=New day
You will LITERALLY never get bored at Grab. In my short span of 6 months I worked on 3 chatbots, a company culture revamp, a holographic video launch, picked up some design skills on Illustrator, attended the ARA awards (The HR industry’s ‘Oscars’), learnt videography and got to put my Tableau skills to use. Safe to say, at Grab everyday was a new day!
5. The People
When you get to work with people who you share a connection with, there is no such thing as Monday Blues. At Grab we have unofficial “traditions” like Batik Thursdays and Headband Fridays, where we would dress up in theme. This helped cultivate a work environment where I could easily make friends as well! I have met some talented and amazing people who still continue to teach me so much. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling internship experience.
Every time I take a Grab ride, order from GrabFood, or pay via GrabPay I have a green glow in my heart beaming with pride to have been part of such an amazing organisation that uses #TechForGood to drive Southeast Asia forward. After my eventful 6-month journey at Grab I longed for more and I have now decided to extend my journey of learning as I continue working as a Trainee at Grab this semester!
Feeling inspired? FY2021 H2 Internship positions are now open, so be sure to grab your spot today!