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CXO Apprentice Programme: Journey of a CMO Padawan

by SuperUser ‎24-05-2017 02:35 PM - edited ‎29-05-2017 03:01 PM

CXO - The Adventure Retold Final_Nicole_Photo3.jpg


Digi’s CXO Apprentice Programme is now open for submission but let’s take a look at what the recent batch of apprentices experienced. Here’s Nicole's journey with Mr. Loh Keh Jiat, Chief Marketing Officer of Digi. For more info on the programme, click here! Application deadline has been extended till 11 June 2017!

It is easy to say, “I’ve got a job at Amazing Company XXXX” but it takes a whole new level to explain the phrase “I am under the mentorship of Digi’s Chief Marketing Officer”.

I can just picture the conversations playing out in my head when I talk to Aunties, Uncles, Cousins A, B, C and pretty much the rest of the family clan:

Nosey Auntie A *darts skeptical glance*: “Have you started working yet?”

Me *nods excitedly*: “Yes Auntie A, yes I have.”

*Uncle B, Auntie C and the rest of the clan begins eavesdropping*

Auntie A: “Where? Which company? What is your role? When did you start? Perks? What do you do exactly?”

Whoa, whoa calm down Auntie A. Let’s take a step back and have a leisurely catch up shall we?

Me: “I work in Digi and I am the Apprentice to the Chief Marketing Officer!”

Auntie A: “What? I don’t understand. So your boss is the Chief Marketing Officer? Hard to believe hmm…”

Me: “Here you go Auntie, proof for you.”

(L-R) Loh Keh Jiat, Chief Marketing Officer of Digi and Nicole.

And that dear readers, is just how difficult it is to explain that my boss is the Chief Marketing Officer. When I mentioned a whole new level – I meant a whole new level.

Now that I have got your attention and all jokes aside, here is what I really do: I shadow my boss, Loh Keh Jiat and am directly mentored by him with accelerated exposure to the company and group-wide decision making. As I am writing this article, I am approximately 8 months into my apprenticeship and it has been indeed a roller coaster of a ride.

Certainly with a lot of highs and lows and loop de loops. Not to mention the pre-stress symptoms you develop after hearing all the expectations you have to meet as an Apprentice – I’m kidding! It ain’t that bad. Let me break down my experience for you – a la Apprentice style:

1. On working with my boss, shadowing and mentorship

Being the apprentice to the CMO means that I get access to high level meetings. It provides an enriching outlook of the business and helps contribute to my overall knowledge of the company. The intensity and incredibly analytical yet fast decision making that a C-level executive does still amazes me to this day. As a fresh grad, there are a ton of things that I do not know and struggle to understand. This is where shadowing my boss also provides access to a dynamic base of connections – all of whom are more than willing to give guidance. You could call them my indirect mentors. From there, I pick up projects that will fuel my learning with guidance from Loh on which to partake in.


2. On innovation and creativity

Every young ‘un strives for a platform to be creative – to showcase skills, to get their brain juices flowing and more importantly, to create something new and untapped. Being a large organization, Digi provided just that with Disrupt @ Digi – an internal hackathon where employees from different departments of the organization come together to form teams and pitch ideas and business cases. Winning teams get time off to focus on their business case for the subsequent months to come.

This stressful yet fun 2-day affair was beyond my expectations. It challenged my team and I to really push and work hard for what we want. With innovation, there also comes a lot of pivoting on the idea, vision and shaping the business case. More importantly, how would you tell the story and let your solution shine and flourish? Alas, my team and I did not win but it was still a fantastic experience. Disrupt @ Digi is just one of the many avenues in the organization to channel creativity and motivation.


3. On designing my journey as an Apprentice and digital learning

On my very first day at Digi, it was very exciting to know that I could shadow my boss into high level meetings where all the decision making was made. As the days passed, it soon dawned on me that to make the best out of the learnings from my apprenticeship, I had better start to get more involved in projects. I was given the freedom to run my own ship and seek areas of interest that I wished to pursue with the end goal in mind.

As I mentioned before, I am a young ‘un with little knowledge pertaining to areas that require expertise. With the vast library of online self-help and learning courses, that gave me the shining beacon of light of being able to learn areas unbeknownst to me before. Lynda, Udacity and Coursera are the different learning platforms introduced by our trusty HR team to Digizens to assist our learning.

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4. On culture and way of work
Digi’s culture is very open and transparent. The people are friendly and willing to help whenever there is something that needs to be addressed. Barriers between different levels of authority are flat and if you have a moment of inspiration, you could literally walk up to your superior and hold a discussion there and then. The hot-desking arrangement also facilitate this - even the C-levels don’t have any private offices in the building. Apart from that, the physical work environment is great as well. There is a lot of natural lighting and you know what they say – looking at greeneries improves your eyesight. I can’t remember the number of times I have worked outside in the Digi outdoor area – the Courtyard - when I needed to get some fresh air while working.

To sum up my Apprentice experience in an article is really cutting it short. Nevertheless, I am pretty sure I have brought across the message that I intended to. Register, apply and take a step towards beginning your apprenticeship with our CXOs.

Signing off,

For more info on the programme, click here!



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