In June 2017, I was given an opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant during the Asia Leadership Conference (ALC) to grow my professional and inter-personal skills as the President of Monash University’s Foundation Year Student Council.
My main task as a teaching assistant (TA) was to support Ms. Orianne Montaubin, one of the seven Teaching Fellows facilitating the ALC. She was a former management consultant from the Boston Consulting Group, and is currently pursuing her MBA at Harvard Business School. Her sessions consisted three main areas; Management Consulting, Project Management and Interview Preparation.
The six-day experience I gained as Ms. Montaubin’s TA shifted my life goal focus and helped me to understand the gist of effective prep-work I needed to do in planning my future efficiently. Her Management Consulting sessions resonated with me so profoundly that I changed my mind about becoming a college lecturer and wanted to go in the management consulting line instead.
Management consulting operates in the area of assisting organizations to analyze existing problems and develop plans to improve upon their performances. In the contemporary context, it meant organizations facing new challenges such as disruptive technologies, need to have people with distinctive skillsets to solve complex problems. As an ardent fan of complex challenges, this was exactly my forte. Had I not attended the ALC, I wouldn’t have known such a job existed in the market.
The discipline of initiating, planning, executing and controlling the work of a team to achieve specific goals in a specific timeframe was covered under Project Management. The keyword here is “specific timeframe”, where specific goals need to be achieved according to their importance. Ms. Montaubin highlighted tools such as the numbering method, where crucial tasks are given prioritization using ascending or descending numbers. These examples helped me to handle my student council leadership efficiently as I encountered many deadlines to meet in limited time.
Personal branding is another term I learned under the Interview Preparation segment. Written resumes are not our only bastion to step into the job market, but where and how we use it was equally crucial when communicating to potential employers. On the other hand, a successful interview also requires a lot more than just verbal communication as the usage of appropriate gestures, body languages and appearances reinforces our personal branding. This knowledge is invaluable to me as a communication student where networking and creating connections will play a significant role in my career. Thus, another key learning curve I experienced as a participant in the ALC. The conference was the catalyst I needed to help me discover my path, organize my student council team constructively and communicate my personal brand successfully as of date.
The ALC is leadership program organized by the Center for Asia Leadership (CAL) for youths aged 14 to 22 years old to learn about effective leadership, entrepreneurial skills and 21st century practices. The next edition will take place on January 6, 2018 at Sunway University. If you have the opportunity, I invite you to experience the ALC – whether as participant or as a teaching assistant. I am confident the experience of either will be equally memorable!
by Kajendra Govindasamy
1st Year Bachelor in Communication & Media Studies, Monash University, Kuala Lumpur